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Unbundling in the Air?


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#81 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:34 PM

So, I wonder how that lawsuit between Cablevision and Viacom (with Time Warner Cable and DirecTV making statements supporting Cablevision) will turn out? I hear that Cablevision wants the courts to force Viacom to allow for unbundled channels. Anyone want to put (virtual) bets on how it will turn out?


It will take a decade to be decided. Appeals guaranteed. Both have deep pockets to pay for lawyers forever.

The government should have already stopped this. Consumer protection is far too weak. The only reason it's going to get looked at now is because this is business vs business.

No matter how it turns out we, the consumers, will get screwed as is usually the case. Anyone honestly think that Cablevision isn't going to come out with more money if they win? There would be no "business case" for them to bring the suit if that wasn't the goal. That's why TWC & DirecTV came running fast like a dog in ...

As for being on-topic... why bother when the topic is pointless. As are any virtual bets.

Edited by unixguru, 12 March 2013 - 02:49 PM.


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#82 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:42 PM

Just curious. Have you cancelled your pay TV, any services like Netflix, or any DVD purchases?


As I've said before, no I haven't. I am a sheeple too - addicted to the entertainment drug. But I am looking for an 'out' that works for my family. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

My father in law, now in his late 80's, used to smoke quite a lot. One day 20 or so years ago he decided the price was getting too high and he just stopped cold turkey.

Being addicted to something doesn't mean its not a bad thing.

#83 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:46 PM

You'd also have to stop buying cars, food, soft drinks, and anything else that is advertised on TV.


True.

So the fatalistic view is that, as a society, there are many things we can't fix so why bother? That is why sheeple fits. Unfortunately this kind of thing is so common in so many things these days that we're all drowning in our own stupidity.

#84 ONLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:53 PM

Then your idea of on topic is too narrow.

Bundling is claimed to be necessary to support the weaker content from the revenue of hit content. We got to help those poor networks and producers who take risks otherwise the breadth of available entertainment will dry up. This implies a good deal of the profit from a hit is reinvested back into the business to fund less successful projects. People involved in hits should be reasonably rewarded too.

What that persons pay shows is that the rewards are obscene; that they don't need the kind of profits they are making to support the weaker content (otherwise they couldn't spend so much on pay).

The facts are that the consumer is being fleeced by the whole industry from the top far down (not to the bottom average worker bee).

If they can afford to pay him that much for his face appearing on TV a few minutes a week then you don't even want to think of what those above him are making.

Sheeple need to wake up.


You're part of the sheeple, too, because you CHOOSE to keep paying for the products.
If you stop responding to them or put them on ignore, then eventually they'll go away.

#85 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 03:42 PM

True.

So the fatalistic view is that, as a society, there are many things we can't fix so why bother? That is why sheeple fits. Unfortunately this kind of thing is so common in so many things these days that we're all drowning in our own stupidity.


Sheeple is harsh. It is basically only TV. Not exactly the French Revolution we are talking about here. If the cost is too high for people, they will cut their costs. If it is not, they will prioritize their fights.

I know that I can save some money on my TV expenditures if I call companies and make deals or I switch providers more often. But is it worth my time for the savings? It is not. Because I choose convenience and do not think my time (even for things like finding TV shows rather than mapping out how I find something to watch as I would need to do for a la carte or for cutting the cord) does not mean I or you are sheeple. It means we made a value judgement on the whole mess and we, overall, find it still working.

Maybe the model will change some day but TODAY and for the near future (even the mid range future), the model works for people. Just because they are not looking for a "bright new" future does not make them sheeple. It means that they made a value judgement.

BTW, because of a late running basketball game on my local CW affiliate, I missed the last 15 minutes of an episode of Arrow from several weeks ago. Being the tech savvy consumer that I am, I looked around and found that CW has all the episodes available on line. So, I went to watch it. UGH!!! Not only could I not fast forward through the SIX commercials plugged into every commercial break, but I couldn't jump to the last 15 minutes without watching all SIX commercials for EVERY BREAK up to that point.

In other words, cutting the cord for this example was far worse than what we have today.

The "bright new" future you are touting is not all it is cracked up to be. More experiences like the one I had and people will firmly affix themselves to the bandwagon supporting the current system we have now.

We are spoiled, actually.
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#86 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 04:10 PM

Sheeple is harsh. It is basically only TV. Not exactly the French Revolution we are talking about here. If the cost is too high for people, they will cut their costs. If it is not, they will prioritize their fights.

I know that I can save some money on my TV expenditures if I call companies and make deals or I switch providers more often. But is it worth my time for the savings? It is not. Because I choose convenience and do not think my time (even for things like finding TV shows rather than mapping out how I find something to watch as I would need to do for a la carte or for cutting the cord) does not mean I or you are sheeple. It means we made a value judgement on the whole mess and we, overall, find it still working.

Maybe the model will change some day but TODAY and for the near future (even the mid range future), the model works for people. Just because they are not looking for a "bright new" future does not make them sheeple. It means that they made a value judgement.

BTW, because of a late running basketball game on my local CW affiliate, I missed the last 15 minutes of an episode of Arrow from several weeks ago. Being the tech savvy consumer that I am, I looked around and found that CW has all the episodes available on line. So, I went to watch it. UGH!!! Not only could I not fast forward through the SIX commercials plugged into every commercial break, but I couldn't jump to the last 15 minutes without watching all SIX commercials for EVERY BREAK up to that point.

In other words, cutting the cord for this example was far worse than what we have today.

The "bright new" future you are touting is not all it is cracked up to be. More experiences like the one I had and people will firmly affix themselves to the bandwagon supporting the current system we have now.

We are spoiled, actually.


Agreed. Not to mention that the downloaded stuff is usually very low resolution.

I could forgo the "bright new future" if there was at least modest movement towards finer grained choice of content and cost.

The value judgement has to be getting more and more strained as entertainment continues to outpace inflation and income increases. Since 2009 DirecTV has gone up 24% while inflation rose 7% and median household income rose 1%. My family has seen no measurable change in the content quantity or quality. We can't continue to sustain these increases and cutting back enough to matter leaves even less value.

TV is starting to seem like health insurance costs.

BTW, yes, it's "just TV" but I'm disabled so it plays a bigger role in my life than most.

#87 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:02 PM

Agreed. Not to mention that the downloaded stuff is usually very low resolution.

I could forgo the "bright new future" if there was at least modest movement towards finer grained choice of content and cost.

The value judgement has to be getting more and more strained as entertainment continues to outpace inflation and income increases. Since 2009 DirecTV has gone up 24% while inflation rose 7% and median household income rose 1%. My family has seen no measurable change in the content quantity or quality. We can't continue to sustain these increases and cutting back enough to matter leaves even less value.

TV is starting to seem like health insurance costs.

BTW, yes, it's "just TV" but I'm disabled so it plays a bigger role in my life than most.


I pretty much can agree with this post because I would like to see some movement in the high cost area, which is sports. The demands of channels like PAC 12 and the Lakers/Dodgers, etc, are making it less likely to even have the option to get them for otherwise excellent providers.

I still maintain that sports are the only driver toward a la carte and are causing problems with an otherwise solid delivery model.

I have no problem with the other avenues (Netflix, other streaming) as they only add to the options.

As for your disability, sorry to hear that man. I know that TV does provide diversion in that case. I have friends with limited mobility, and TV helps them wile away hours. When I've been laid up, it has helped me too and, eventually, I know I will be in the situation where I rely on it more.
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#88 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:18 PM

...there are many things we can't fix so why bother?....


Not at all...I just think there are things to work on fixing that are MUCH more important than how broadcast TV is delivered.

Things like the cost of health care, the cost of education, the amount of debt we leaving our children, the way we are destroying the environment, just to name a few.

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#89 OFFLINE   wmb

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:50 PM

how broadcast TV is delivered.


(wanting to quote something, anything, please)

What seems to be forgotten in this discussion is the nature of the diffusion of innovation. Right now, we are somewhere near the early adopter stage of alternative broadcast TV delivery.

As we speak, the alternative enabling technologies are entering/have entered the mainstream (e.g. broadband internet, Roku, netfilcks). There is a great deal of innovation in this space.

The other driver will be cost. As mention, us sheeple that subscribe to these broadcast TV delivery options will realize that there are lower total cost (we are paying for broadband, anyway) options out there. There are enough people here of the opinion that they want to pay for what they use, that will see, whether real or not, better value in a non-bundled delivery option. This will drive adoption (a.k.a cord cutting).

These alternative delivery options will also appeal to advertisers because the product they are interested (eyeballs of willing purchasers) will be better tracked. Imagine an IP delivery system, like the current web pages with demographics of who is watching what. TV producers can better target desired demographics, supported by interested advertisers.

Currently, many networks allow people to watch last night's episode on the internet free of charge. I think almost all major US sports leagues have online out of market packages. Even more, you can get many cable channels prior season shows online, so no need for History channel, I can watch the Pawn Stars episodes they showed the other night online any time I want.

Not to mention the impact of DVRs in time shifting and commercial skipping.

On the other hand, one of the inertias keeping bundling in place is that households do consist of multiple demographics (parents, kids, maybe grandparent, etc.) and a bundled package typically provides something of interest to everyone, at least in the lower cost range. When you start getting into higher tier purchasers, you tend to get more focused interests (OAR movies, out of market sports, etc.) What unbundling may do is allow for these focused interests to better target their spending.

O, and as for what advertisers want, half of the top 10 most valuable sports franchises are soccer teams - a sport without commercial breaks!

In the grand scheme of things, this case is likely to be much ado about nothing. Natural technology diffusion is changing the landscape of TV delivery (broadcast or not).

#90 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:15 PM

Yeah. Free of charge with forced commercials you can't skip through.

Count me out of that innovation.
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#91 OFFLINE   KyL416

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:20 PM

I take it none of you read the original article and other related articles to the lawsuit. Cablevision is not fighting for alacarte, they're fighting against carrying Viacom's digital nets, and singled out VH1 Classic, MTV Hits and Palladia saying they were forced to carry it in order to get Nick, MTV and Comedy Central. Two channels that they have carried since the inception of their digital cable service back in late 2001/early 2002, and Palladia which they negotiated a separate deal with back when it was MHD. In the 12 years since then they added additional Viacom channels like Logo, VH1 Soul and tr3s.

Cablevision doesn't even have those 3 channels they singled out in the same package as Nick, Comedy Central and MTV, nor does Viacom require them or any other provider to do so. They also neglect to mention that Cablevision doesn't even carry Viacom's other channels like Nick 2 (Nick West), MTV Jams, mtvU, CMT Pure Country or BET Gospel.

One recent article even had Cablevision claiming that being "forced" to carry MTV Hits and VH1 Classic (channels that are only available in SD) was preventing them from picking up new HD channels... Even if you ignore the impossible math for that argument, in the time since they renewed the deal with Viacom last year, they picked up the local low powered MundoFox affiliate in HD, ESPN Goaline/Buzzerbeater, ESPN 3D, Univision Deportes HD, and launched an HD version of News 12 Traffic & Weather, among others.

It's not about eliminating the tiers, it's about not even offering these specific channels to their subscribers. Channels that happen to be in direct competition with a certain music video station also owned by the Dolan's...

Cablevision is the last people you would want to go to when it comes to escaping from tiers, unlike most other cable and satellite providers they do not give you a choice of premiums for their digital tiers. Their base digital package includes Encore, if you want the next level that includes Chiller, Cloo or Smithsonian, you have to subscribe to a package that also includes HBO, Showtime and Starz. And you can't swap them for any other premiums like Cinemax or TMC (Even though TMC only has 4 channels counting the west coast feeds, Cablevision still prices it separately from Showtime)

Edited by KyL416, 13 March 2013 - 09:38 PM.
Adding a note about Cablevisions premium tiers


#92 OFFLINE   wmb

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:43 PM

I take it none of you read the original article and other related articles to the lawsuit.


I took it as about a fight against bundling... practices like forcing distributors to take ABC Family when they only want ESPN, or forcing ESPN on systems that only want Disney Junior. This, the cable companies think is anticompetitve, which is what Comcast is hoping, because it gives them hope that banning this practice strengthens their negotiating position in the future.

Of course, changing a practice like this leads many here to the hope for a la carte, and we know that ain't ever going to happen. :D

Of course, there is also the position that in the long term, both ideas are moot because technological innovation will provide better options for all customers of TV programming (advertisers and viewer) to increase the value received from the delivery vehicle.

#93 OFFLINE   KyL416

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:06 PM

I took it as about a fight against bundling...

That's the big thing though, Cablevision already signed a deal with Viacom last year for channels they have been carrying for over a decade along with channels they picked up in the years since then outside of the renewal period, and they didn't have to pick up any other channels like Epix or the other existing Viacom digital nets they don't carry and they didn't have to give any of the existing channels wider penetration, heck with their new packages on the systems that went 100% digital some of these channels are losing penetration. They are also only singling out Viacom's music stations that are in competition with Fuse, which is also owned by the Dolans.

Bundling the niche digital channels is what gives the viewers who don't watch the highest rated shows on cable other options. If you don't want to watch Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, Flavor of Love and Mob Wives on MTV and VH1, you have other options like music videos on MTV Hits, classic videos and documentaries on VH1 Classic and world stage concerts on Palladia. Teens can watch shows like Degrassi and Dance Academy on TeenNick instead of endless Spongebob reruns on Nick. Viewers who don't want to watch Honey Boo Boo on TLC having the ability to learn something by watching Science Channel or Military Channel. Instead of Swamp People on History you can get historical programming on H2. Not to mention they do the same thing with their AMC division when it comes to AMC, We, IFC and Sundance.

Now if Viacom was demanding that their niche digital nets were on the same expanded basic package that MTV, VH1, Nick and Comedy Central reside that's another story.

Edited by KyL416, 13 March 2013 - 10:16 PM.
typo


#94 ONLINE   FLWingNut

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:14 AM

Yeah. Free of charge with forced commercials you can't skip through.

Count me out of that innovation.


+1.

#95 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:30 AM

Yeah. Free of charge with forced commercials you can't skip through.

Count me out of that innovation.


That assumes one big thing: that commercial skipping will remain available. I'd wager that it will go away.

Here is what's gonna happen:

  • DVR penetration will continue to grow rapidly
  • Advertisers will figure out that an increasing amount of airtime they pay for is being skipped over - it's simply a matter of threshold of pain for them
  • Advertisers will refuse to pay what channels want
  • Channels will write contracts that require the delivery services to disable FF/skip (possibly only on the first viewing)
  • Just like delivery services can't currently stop them from forcing the carriage of other channels, they will comply
  • Commercial skipping is gone
It will come. It has to. The entire business model that this industry is built upon depends on it.

Consumers will have two choices: live with it or stop watching. The same choice we have today regarding overall costs. Like today, how are most consumers going to vote?

#96 OFFLINE   pdxBeav

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:43 AM

That assumes one big thing: that commercial skipping will remain available. I'd wager that it will go away.

Here is what's gonna happen:

  • DVR penetration will continue to grow rapidly
  • Advertisers will figure out that an increasing amount of airtime they pay for is being skipped over - it's simply a matter of threshold of pain for them
  • Advertisers will refuse to pay what channels want
  • Channels will write contracts that require the delivery services to disable FF/skip (possibly only on the first viewing)
  • Just like delivery services can't currently stop them from forcing the carriage of other channels, they will comply
  • Commercial skipping is gone
It will come. It has to. The entire business model that this industry is built upon depends on it.

Consumers will have two choices: live with it or stop watching. The same choice we have today regarding overall costs. Like today, how are most consumers going to vote?


And as many here have claimed, if this is what happens and people keep paying then it can't be changed because the TV industry is super special. :lol:

I can see the posts two years from now......"We tried commercial skipping and it failed. The market led us to this non-skipping environment so it must be the best model ever." ;)

#97 OFFLINE   wmb

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 05:06 PM

It will come. It has to. The entire business model that this industry is built upon depends on it.

Consumers will have two choices: live with it or stop watching. The same choice we have today regarding overall costs. Like today, how are most consumers going to vote?


Um, yeah, that's what the buggy whip manufacturers thought in the early 1900s. I'm sure they thought their business model was extremely sound.

I would add various online options to that list of choices. Who do you on-demand services are intended to compete with, and an even bigger question, will they make DVRs go the way of buggy whips, vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, Blue Ray, etc?

#98 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:53 PM

Um, yeah, that's what the buggy whip manufacturers thought in the early 1900s. I'm sure they thought their business model was extremely sound.

I would add various online options to that list of choices. Who do you on-demand services are intended to compete with, and an even bigger question, will they make DVRs go the way of buggy whips, vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, Blue Ray, etc?


Wait. You mean the airwaves are going to stop carrying RF?

The buggy whip business was a secondary market.
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#99 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 10:31 PM

Wait. You mean the airwaves are going to stop carrying RF?

The buggy whip business was a secondary market.


The buggy whip business was on the Dow Industrials 30...

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#100 OFFLINE   Jon J

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:40 AM

The buggy whip business was on the Dow Industrials 30...

I've often wondered why you would want to whip a buggy. ;)
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