Broadcasters worry about 'Zero TV' homes

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by Mark Holtz, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. Apr 7, 2013 #1 of 21
    Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

    Mar 23, 2002
    From AP via SFGate:

    Broadcasters worry about 'Zero TV' homes
  2. Apr 8, 2013 #2 of 21

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

    Jun 6, 2009
    Prepare for even more commercials so the FatCats can continue to take home obscene paychecks despite the loss in viewers. That's both the Stuffed Suits and the on-screen 'talent' (remember those million-bucks-an-episode kids?)
  3. Apr 8, 2013 #3 of 21

    mreposter Hall Of Fame

    Jul 29, 2006
    Unlike the music industry, Hollywood has been much more successful in slowing down the movement away from the old distribution models. Within a few years the music business collapsed, and the TV/Movie companies learned from this and have taken steps to keep things like torrents from destroying their business model.

    Things like Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes and TV Everywhere have had some success in addressing people's desires for new viewing options. But only TV Everywhere manages to maintain the same revenue model, with customers still paying their $100+ cable/sat bills to get TV on mobile devices.

    As the article indicates, the biggest risk is that the population of TV Zero homes grows to the extent that it significantly decreases revenues.
  4. Apr 8, 2013 #4 of 21

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

    Jun 6, 2009
    Problem is their definition of 'Zero TV'. Many people still have a box, probably several, but they get their content from other sources. None of those (legal) sources are truly free. You have to pay for them all in one way or another, even if it's just your ISP bill. Mine has a TV section on their webpage with a fairly wide selection.

    But I still have an OTA antenna.

    Others pay for something like A-Prime, although you could argue the streaming content is free if you signed up for the free shipping and other benefits.

    I just don't get the 'Zero TV' nomenclature. There are very, very few people who are truly 'Zero TV' in that they don't watch TV on some device or another.
  5. Apr 8, 2013 #5 of 21

    paulman182 Hall Of Fame

    Aug 4, 2006
    I prefer to think of the thousands of behind-the-scenes people working in local TV, for wages that are not that high to begin with, who could suffer.
  6. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    Look at any employee parking lot at any TV station and you will see late-model Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc., and parked next to them are 10 and 12-year-old Camrys and F150's and Jettas and Mazda 3's.

    It is not hard to see a caste system there, and of course the expensive cars belong to the talent and the sales people, while the rest belong to the rest.

    Of course I used a little license, because low-level employees are usually forced to park in a lot much further away while big-wigs park mere steps from the door. Usually a private door. Bottom line, it's OK not to mourn for the Mercedes owners.

    As one of those afore-mentioned people in yet another dying industry because of the internet, the secret there is the same exact secret as anywhere else: stay relevant by learning the newer technologies and procedures that apply. Where I have concentrated in TV as an Engineer, for instance, would apply also at any cord-cutter company, and even any business that uses enterprise-class servers. Those who refused to evolve beyond fixing cameras and VTRs might not have as good a chance of survival. 95% of what a TV Engineer does today did not exist in the year that I became one.

    So as long as people don't actually stop watching, I'm still golden. But if the quality of video ever devolves in the same way that the quality of available music has, we are all in deep doo-doo, and we will be right behind the music industry and the radio industry in the dustbin of history.

    Walking to lunch today my iPod by chance shuffled in two songs from Earth, Wind, and Fire. Still holds up admirably, 45 years later. No new band has ever taken the place of them, or countless other bands from the 60's through the 90's. Music is all but dead.

    Bands like The Pretenders had a couple of great hits and vanished, and we all assumed they would be replaced by another newer band eventually, and that that was the circle of life. But no new bands of any quality even exist these days, or they're few and far between. "Idol" or The Voice or AGT churns out plenty of no-talent performers that are all technique but short on real artistic talent or soul of any kind. It's over.

    But dramatic and comedic scripted TV just keeps getting better all of the time, and we can get it these days from 20 sources rather than the previous 3 or 4. So I am still cautiously optimistic.
  7. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    The idea is that they're not watching the content on a conventional TV served by a decoder box; instead they are watching it on a handheld device or a computer using Internet-based streaming.

    If said device happens to display the image on a large monitor, it still isn't coming through the established channels that their business models represent.
  8. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
    I just can't get too excited because of this:
    That's about 0.5 million a year. The Nielsen folks say there are 114.2 million television households. That's 220 years for all homes to become Zero TV homes. Yes, yes, I know that the rate of change will increase and at some point it will not be possible for broadcast stations to survive. But I don't see any meaningful change next week.

    There is some saber rattling over at Fox over other issues - see the Will Fox Shut Down Their OTA Network Over Hopper And Aereo? thread.

    But overall, there's just fewer folks watching live TV than 20 years ago.
  9. donalddickerson2005

    donalddickerson2005 Legend

    Feb 13, 2012
    I guess I will be fine for my next 70 or so years of my life with DirecTV.
  10. Rickt1962

    Rickt1962 Legend

    Jul 17, 2012
    Ive been saying this along time ! The time is coming faster then you think :lol: As technology gets better and faster with HD streaming you will only need the Internet to get what you want ! Dish and Directv will start losing customers ! Comcast will still be around because they Deliver the Internet.
  11. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Allen, TX
    And internet, streaming sites, etc prices will skyrocket leaving everyone right back to complaining about prices.

    Average internet speeds in America is 6.7 Mbps ... Good luck streaming with a couple streams with that. Who's going to pay to build that up AND run lines to rural areas?
  12. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Allen, TX
  13. tsmacro

    tsmacro Hall Of Fame

    Apr 28, 2005
    This is thing that so many people seem to forget when they think everyone is going to get everything over the internet. There's just so much of the country that doesn't have access to unilimited high speed internet and from what I can tell no one is really in any hurry to build the infrastructure that would be necessary to let us all stream everything we want all the time.
  14. jkane

    jkane Icon

    Oct 12, 2007
    Why isn't anyone considering the best way to save a dying business model? How about creating content that customers want to watch?! If there were worthwhile shows to watch, people would tune in and watch it. If you show crap, people will find something else to watch somewhere else. :nono2:
  15. Paul Secic

    Paul Secic Hall Of Fame

    Dec 16, 2003
    I saw that article also. it will be interesting to see what happens.
  16. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

    Jun 6, 2009
    Uncle Sam has been providing healthy incentives to companies to do just that via the Rural Broadband Initiative for a number of years. Without that, I'm certain I wouldn't have gotten DSL when I did.

    HughesNet has been taking a big chunk of that also to provide discounted rates in other, more remote areas.
  17. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    Well, yes and no.

    Broadcasters don't really care where you watch, just that you do. That supports the ad model.

    But that is not what the furor is about; broadcast also has a retrans compensation model. DBS and cable pay broadcasters to retransmit their services, at about $6 billion for just last year, which if you do the math, means that FOX got paid, by cable and DBS and FiOS, about $108 million just for the stations they own (not counting the $800 million that their partner affiliates got). Last year.

    Aereo does not pay retrans, and the courts have said they don't have to. If Aereo can get away with that, what is to say DBS and cable should pay, and what is to say that new versions of Aereo competitors should pay? It is a slippery-slope argument, and broadcasters can't afford to lose and will not simply roll over.

    It seems like Aereo is not really that different than someone putting antennae on peoples houses for free and then charging them to use them, which actually means more people would have more access to FOX, and would watch more. That helps the ad model, but decimates the retrans model.

    So yes, it is saber rattling by Carey, but it is supported by every other broadcaster and is the right thing to do; it gets the attention of the courts and congress, and a president that is about to name two new FCC commishs. I am somewhat confident that the retrans argument will win out, and that the issue will hinge on the fact that even though Aereo is using a separate antenna for each customer to receive free TV just like any other citizen has the right to, that the fact that they are charging rent on the antenna and retransmitting the signal violates the spirit of copyright. But you never know; Aereo could prevail. And of course now the whole FX/FXX strategy seems to make sense in a whole new light.

    Of course there is about a 5% chance that FOX would ever move to cable and TV stations would go dark, but there is a real chance, assuming broadcasters don't get their way, that FOX and others would move their prime-time and sports and maybe even 2nd-rated programming to cable, and that it would be blacked out and replaced by third-rated fare OTA for those stations, who would still provide exactly what they are providing now to cable and DBS, which is about where 90% of viewers are watching them anyway. Network O&O stations might even not allow local news or part of local news to remain OTA.

    I have long predicted that broadcast TV would eventually split programming and send something different to their OTA transmitters than they send to cable and DBS, and that just might now come true. Subchannels was the first step in that direction, and Comcast and others have been sending different versions of their commercials to OTA and cable viewers for over 3 years. So in a way, its already a reality.

    FOX moving to a pay-tv model could really happen; it's not simply a poison-pill empty threat. And they don't have to jump off a cliff; first you move baseball and playoffs/World Series to cable only, followed at some point by Sunday prime, followed by other parts of prime, followed eventually by anything that gets decent ratings. Hide and watch.

    That gives them the chance to rip the bandage off slowly, and let the furor die down, and prod remaining stragglers gently to move from OTA over a long transition period, which becomes much easier if all the other Big 5 are threatening to do the same thing. Once the first domino in that series falls, and if Aereo has not blinked and agreed to retrans fees, I would dump all of your Aereo stock post haste. Content is king, and the guy with the gold makes the rules, which is the content providers and is not the content carriers. That is why there is increasing vertical integration in media companies as well.

    <edit> Hmmm. Did I just post in the wrong thread? Maybe I should have said this here instead:
  18. Rickt1962

    Rickt1962 Legend

    Jul 17, 2012
    I would have to disagree again. Just like your local phone company had a monopoly on you and no longer ! The same as Cell phones ! Back in the 80's I was paying 50 cents a minute ! The more outlets that become available the more YOU WILL SEE PRICES FALL ! NOT GO UP !
  19. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

    Dec 4, 2007
    Exactly. I get no broadband here in the country, and no one has any plans to offer it in the future. Sat broadband is a joke: it's intensely metered, very expensive, has a huge latency and is patently unreliable. I just noticed where Google and AT&T are falling over themselves trying to push 1Gb broadband into Austin, Texas which already has dozens of inexpensive providers offering 15-20Mb speeds! This piling on of offerings to urban dwellers is obscene at a time when many rural Americans have ZERO access to affordable and reliable unlimited high-speed service.

    Where I am, AT&T has the monopoly on DSL and Comcast runs the monopoly on cable. This whole notion of free market service providers is a bitter joke. And surprise surprise, Fed money notwithstanding, NEITHER company is interested in providing service here because the population density isn't quite high enough for them to gouge us to the max as they must do to make their billions in executive bonuses and still pay off Washington to not enforce the Rural Broadband Proliferation Act.

    Every South Korean has free 50Mb broadband. American remains a fouth world nation.
  20. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Allen, TX
    No they don't. If it were remotely true, they would have higher average speeds. Those in rural South Korean cities have ADSL averaging 2-8 Mbits/s.

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