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Unbundling in the Air?


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125 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:36 AM

Actually, it could matter, at least somewhat. A publicly traded company has a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders first and foremost. I know plenty of people in small business, for example, who feel they make enough money that they don't have to cut corners on ethics or abuse their customers and employees. Go public and if you can screw them to get a few more cents per share to please Wall Street, you pretty much have to do it.


Abuse? No ethics? Have to screw 'them' to increase eps?
There are some companies who may follow this path, but not the majority.

Just about all businesses are in business to make money. But private companies can decide they have made "enough" profit. Public companies can't.


Such companies that you seem to despise are not all about maximizing short term profits. Those that do are sooner or later out of business altogether. If employees and customers feel abused they will leave. So the smart company, public or private, reduces its bottom line by paying higher salaries, providing benefits and making for a decent to good to excellent work environment.
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#22 OFFLINE   lokar

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:09 PM

Such companies that you seem to despise are not all about maximizing short term profits. Those that do are sooner or later out of business altogether. If employees and customers feel abused they will leave. So the smart company, public or private, reduces its bottom line by paying higher salaries, providing benefits and making for a decent to good to excellent work environment.


Ideally that's how things are supposed to work but in reality it happens less and less. Take banks, they cut tons of corners to make short term profits that should have put the banks out of business but instead the government bailed them out. Another problem is that as time goes on, more and more companies buy out/merge/etc. with each other and there are fewer choices for customers and employees alike.

To use a TV example, the FCC allows ownership of more than one station in a market. This has led to many job losses as one owner will buy another station in the market and then fire most of the employees in the place they just bought and pile all their work on to the original station's employees. Their per station operation costs go down the more they buy and this is why broadcasting in this country has been completely taken over by media conglomerates which is not a good thing.

And with that I feel I have more than crossed the off topic barrier so I will stop.

#23 OFFLINE   Jon J

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:38 PM

Defenders of bundling rightly point out that many niche channels with very few viewers would probably go dark without the forced income that bundling brings.

But, isn't survival of the fittest the way commerce is supposed to work?
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#24 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:43 PM

Defenders of bundling rightly point out that many niche channels with very few viewers would probably go dark without the forced income that bundling brings.

But, isn't survival of the fittest the way commerce is supposed to work?


Is that consumer friendly? Do we want all channels to be McDonalds?
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#25 OFFLINE   Jon J

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:14 PM

Is that consumer friendly? Do we want all channels to be McDonalds?

Are all restaurants McDonalds? Of course not and smaller establishments fare quite well without siphoning off some of McDonald's income to prop them up.
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#26 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:00 PM

Are all restaurants McDonalds? Of course not and smaller establishments fare quite well without siphoning off some of McDonald's income to prop them up.


Nice literal use of a comment.

The fact is that the American restaurant landscape has become very homogenous. Very few local restaurants start up and strive any more.

I think of this because my boss was looking for a nice but not too nice restaurant that was not a chain to take his staff that was visiting from out of town.
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#27 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:43 PM

Are all restaurants McDonalds? Of course not and smaller establishments fare quite well without siphoning off some of McDonald's income to prop them up.


Not YET...however, how many hardware stores are there that are not Home Depots or Lowes'? How many grocery stores are not part of a national chain? How many dry goods stores are not Walmarts? Everytime one of those mega-chains move into an area the diversity and richness of choice in the area diminishes. Unbundling TV channels will have the same ultimate effect on diversity...NBC, Fox, USA, TNT and A&E will survive. Ovation, CMT, TCM and others, not so much.

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#28 ONLINE   KyL416

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:58 PM

Did anyone read the original article and see the list of stations Dolan called out? Palladia, MTV Hits and VH1 Classic which are MTV and VH1's digital sister stations that actually air music. Stations that just happen to be in competition with a certain music station owned by MSG Media, which is also run by the Dolans...

#29 OFFLINE   Curtis0620

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:03 PM

So if the Provider (Cablevision) will only buy the channels they want, how are you going to get the ones they don't buy?
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#30 OFFLINE   acostapimps

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:46 PM

You're kidding, aren't you? The shareholders are the owners. While good customer relationships are important, if the owners aren't compensated the business goes under. If the business goes under, there ARE no products for consumers to complain about.


What I meant to,say is why didn't directv took a tough stance against Viacom like Cablevision is doing for asking too much money for bundling crappy low ratings channels instead of just paying, I know the kids were upset that their favorite channels were missing, but guess who's paying for this.

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#31 OFFLINE   jmpfaff

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:34 AM

I'm starting to feel like a broken record on this topic.

The objective of DirecTV (and other providers) is to maximize shareholder profit for DirecTV shareholders.

The objective of Viacom (and other content owners) is to maximize shareholder profit for Viacom shareholders.

If the costs to consumers (which corresponds to profit since production costs are unlikely to change) would actually be higher in an a la carte environment, WE WOULD ALREADY HAVE A LA CARTE!!!!!!!

The reason Providers and Content Owners are resisting a la carte is because it would be pro-consumer.

Cablevision, however, is not seeking a la carte here, they are just seeking the ability to tell Viacom no on certain channels, and thus migrate some profit from Viacom to Cablevision, likely with no impact on consumer costs.

#32 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:49 AM

I'm starting to feel like a broken record on this topic.

The objective of DirecTV (and other providers) is to maximize shareholder profit for DirecTV shareholders.

The objective of Viacom (and other content owners) is to maximize shareholder profit for Viacom shareholders.

If the costs to consumers (which corresponds to profit since production costs are unlikely to change) would actually be higher in an a la carte environment, WE WOULD ALREADY HAVE A LA CARTE!!!!!!!

The reason Providers and Content Owners are resisting a la carte is because it would be pro-consumer.

Cablevision, however, is not seeking a la carte here, they are just seeking the ability to tell Viacom no on certain channels, and thus migrate some profit from Viacom to Cablevision, likely with no impact on consumer costs.


Or it is just completely unviable as a model. Less programming and a potentially collapsed marketplace is not pro consumer.

But ignore all the analysis that shows it does not work and listen to all the voices that have no data saying it will. Yup.
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#33 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:11 AM

Just saw this:

http://www.latimes.c...0,5370492.story

"The manner in which Viacom sells its programming is illegal, anti-consumer and wrong," Cablevision charged in a statement. Viacom, the company contended, "effectively forces Cablevision's customers to pay for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the channels they actually want."


Gee. Sounds like Comcast and Directv. They force me to pay for all sorts of channels Ill never watch, just to get one I do.

So if they succeed in court, and bundling is ruled illegal, then I can subscribe to their lowest tier package, and tell them I also want channel X from the highest priced tier and they will have to comply?

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#34 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:53 AM

Gee. Sounds like Comcast and Directv. They force me to pay for all sorts of channels Ill never watch, just to get one I do.

So if they succeed in court, and bundling is ruled illegal, then I can subscribe to their lowest tier package, and tell them I also want channel X from the highest priced tier and they will have to comply?


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#35 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 11:44 AM

Gee. Sounds like Comcast and Directv. They force me to pay for all sorts of channels Ill never watch, just to get one I do.

So if they succeed in court, and bundling is ruled illegal, then I can subscribe to their lowest tier package, and tell them I also want channel X from the highest priced tier and they will have to comply?


Even if so, at what price to you? (????!)
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#36 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:01 PM

Didn't the a la carte thread just go quiet? :grin:

The fact is that the American restaurant landscape has become very homogenous. Very few local restaurants start up and strive any more.

I think of this because my boss was looking for a nice but not too nice restaurant that was not a chain to take his staff that was visiting from out of town.


Are you suggesting that is a bad thing? That is the ultimate result of this economic system that everyone says we have/want (of course I can't name that system because then we would endure the twisting of the meaning). Unless it is TV. So are you now going to argue that we should do some kind of "bundling" in the restaurant industry to reinvigorate things?

#37 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:18 PM

If the costs to consumers (which corresponds to profit since production costs are unlikely to change) would actually be higher in an a la carte environment, WE WOULD ALREADY HAVE A LA CARTE!!!!!!!

There is an almost complete lack of logic in this assertion.

A la carte doesn't work because people don't buy the channels they don't want. With the current model, they must buy the channels they don't want for more than the price of the channels that they do want and that benefits Viacom. They have a large block of channels that they sell for a relatively large price so you may get a three or four channels worth of content.

What is broken is the idea that more channels is better. They need a whole lot less channels with the best content that they offer now.

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#38 OFFLINE   FLWingNut

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:25 PM

Depends on what you mean by "best" content. Most popular? Doesn't mean best to me. Ala carte would mean fewer channels all filled with only mass appeal programming. And we would pay as much or more. Channels full of reality shows and old reruns are fine if they're balanced by other channels that may be less popular but have more varied programming. Balance USA Network and TBS with H2, Military Channel and Ovation. Without bundling we don't get the balance.

#39 OFFLINE   Satelliteracer

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:15 PM

Note the part about the cost to develop content. 98 scripts were invested in this year, 70% of which will never make the air. Even some that do, they are gone within weeks.

As talked about in other threads on the cost of television, this isn't like making a widget, or a gear, or a silicon chip. There are huge creative bets that are made in the hopes of a handful being successful.


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#40 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:07 PM

Note the part about the cost to develop content. 98 scripts were invested in this year, 70% of which will never make the air. Even some that do, they are gone within weeks.


And yet they still make lots of money.

As talked about in other threads on the cost of television, this isn't like making a widget, or a gear, or a silicon chip. There are huge creative bets that are made in the hopes of a handful being successful.


Sorry, just not true. It's a very naive perspective on what it takes to make stuff. Just putting "gear" and "silicon chip" in the same sentence shows this.

In my ~30 years in software engineering nearly all of the products I worked on were not very successful for a variety of reasons. (No, that wasn't unique to me :lol:.) I spent the last 10 years working on one that is very successful. In those ~30 years I watched as many billions of dollars worth of investment in the computer hardware/software industry went up in smoke as product after product died. It's the norm.

It's just total BS that entertainment is fundamentally different.




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