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DBS Targets Significantly-Viewed Regs

Discussion in 'Legislative and Regulatory Issues' started by Nick, Mar 20, 2006.

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  1. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    Apr 23, 2002
    "...restrictive interpretations of SHVERA has deterred DirecTV and
    EchoStar from offering significantly-viewed signals to subscribers
    and deprives consumers of an important benefit..."

    Last week, the nation's top satellite TV services took their
    complaints about rules governing DBS delivery of
    significantly-viewed stations to the FCC, saying the
    regulations are too restrictive for their offering of the
    out-of-market channels.

    Satellite TV gained the ability of selling significantly-viewed
    stations, in which they can offer local TV signals from a
    neighboring market, in the Satellite Home Viewer Extension
    and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA). In joint comments filed
    at the FCC last week, DirecTV and EchoStar said they have
    significantly-viewed stations for a limited number of markets.

    "This shortfall ... is not due to lack of consumer demand for
    significantly-viewed signals. Rather, it is largely attributable
    to the commission's overly restrictive interpretations of
    SHVERA's requirements in this proceeding, which have
    deterred DirecTV and EchoStar from offering significantly-
    viewed signals to subscribers and continue to deprive
    consumers of an important benefit conferred by Congress.",
    the companies said in their filing.

    Also the companies said broadcasters have failed to refute
    any of their arguments on the FCC's interpretation of the
    equivalent bandwidth requirement tied to delivery of
    significantly-viewed stations. The companies said the
    requirement is both technically unfeasible and contrary to
    language contained in SHVERA.

    DirecTV and EchoStar also asked the FCC to grant their
    petition for reconsideration of current significantly-viewed

    www.SkyReport.com - used with permission
  2. tsmacro

    tsmacro Hall Of Fame

    Apr 28, 2005
    Why does the fcc feel the need to make this so difficult? Honestly how hard is it for them to make a rule that says if a channel can be received by antenna or is available on the local cable that satellite can offer it also? Nice and simple and fair for all parties involved. :nono2:
  3. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

    Feb 9, 2004
    You answered your own question. Nice, simple and fair have never been atributes to legislation nor FCC rulings regarding legislation.

    Ambiguity is the latest trend because they've learned they (congress) can say they're doing certain things but if they write it into law with enough stipulations and other legal bable, they can achieve the results they really want which is usually contrary to what they say in public. It also allows for multiple interpertations and thus different positions on any given issue, depending on who their speaking to - any politician's dream.

    The SHVERA along with the subsequent FCC stone-walling of rules & clarification is a classic example of that. "E" or "D" can put a team of lawyers together and get ten different opinions on what the law is really saying. The big rub though is that the fines can be so steep it's not worth taking the risk without some kind of written protection.

    The FCC does not like DBS - especially Dish Network. The FCC will always interpert in favor of the affiliates (or collectivly the NAB) if they can, so unless law is clear and consise, it will never be as useful to DBS as Congress would like their voters to believe.

    Congress can't survive without the money they receive from lobbyists but even more important than money is the guarentee of campaign air time - especially now that the mid-term elections have become almost as important as the presidential election and who do you think controls that campaign air time?
  4. tsmacro

    tsmacro Hall Of Fame

    Apr 28, 2005
    Yeah pretty much typical government BS. Those in power have the motivation to make everything so convulated and twisted so that most people that would challenge them just get frustrated and give up because it's not worth the agrivation. That way those in power can just continue to do whatever suits them best without having to worry too much about any possible consequences.
  5. kenglish

    kenglish Icon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    "Significantly Viewed" should mean just that.

    If lots of people with antennas can get it, then the Cable and sat companies should be allowed to carry it. But, some sat companies want to carry every channel they can get, without regard to reason. A station 400 miles away, that takes a 200' tower and antennas the size of a house is not really "significantly viewed"....unless its a one-household DMA, and the one guy is a Ham/RF Engineer/Tower Erector.
  6. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

    Jul 21, 2002
    Or unless every cable viewer in town already gets that channel, thanks to the 200' tower the cable company erected 30 years ago. :)
  7. joblo

    joblo Godfather

    Dec 10, 2003
    Ken, what are you smoking?

    With the geographic size of your DMA, the mountainous terrain, and the extensive translator network you depend on to get your signal out, there must be tons of people who need elaborate antenna installations to get your signal.

    When my grandparents first got TV, they had to run a line a quarter of a mile up a hill to get any signal at all. Most of their neighbors had to do the same, and the stations they got with those setups are the ones on the FCC's official SV list for their county to this day.

    To suggest that a station that requires a fancy antenna setup to be received can't be significantly viewed is ridiculous.
  8. Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

    Mar 23, 2002

    This is a naive question. How is SV determined for cable? Is it anything that tehy can receive terrestrially? Just asking.
  9. Fifty Caliber

    Fifty Caliber Banned User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Cable opperates on completely different rules than does DBS.
  10. joblo

    joblo Godfather

    Dec 10, 2003
    The rules for determining SV status are, by design, the same for satellite as they are for cable, and they are based on actual ratings surveys in OTA households only. In other words, it's not whether people can view the signal or not that counts, but whether they actually do view the signal or not.

    The problem with satellite SV is not so much the determination of SV status itself, although the current list is admittedly based largely on rather ancient surveys at this point, but rather with the interaction between SV and the various other rules for local and out of market carriage which are very different for satellite than for cable.

    Specifically, Congress didn't want DBS to use SV stations to do an end run around local station carriage, so they restricted SV distribution to areas and customers also receiving LiL (local-into-local) service. The FCC then interpreted the various restrictions to preclude the delivery of an SV station whenever a local station of the same network is not carried due to lack of retrans consent.

    This interpretation, together with specific statutory language allowing stations to elect different must-carry/retrans-consent status for different parts of their DMAs based on whether SV signals are or are not available, guts SV on satellite. A local station can preclude carriage of SV stations as a condition of retrans consent in those areas that would be eligible, while still demanding must-carry in the core of its market, thus effectively giving the local station a little or no cost veto over any SV station the DBS company may wish to provide.

    The FCC was late in finalizing its rules and so a few SV stations have gotten under the radar and onto satellite for now, but unless Congress revisits the issue, I can't imagine many of those SV stations will survive beyond the expiration of current retrans consent agreements in their respective areas.
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