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DirecTV and Dish Network may be forced to carry local channels in smallest markets

Discussion in 'General Satellite Discussion' started by Steve615, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Jon Ellis

    Jon Ellis Godfather

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    If they're available free OTA, then it doesn't matter whether they're carried on satellite, does it? Everyone can already receive them.

    Of course, I'm being sarcastic. Satellite and cable offer a useful service to customers by providing improved, simplified reception of broadcast stations...and charge you a fee. Local network affiliates are the most-watched stations on cable and satellite. Does it make sense that they would pay to carry little-watched specialty channels but get to carry the most-watched channels for free?

    Running a TV station is not free. Stations must pay for network and syndicated programming, not to mention salaries and overhead. Why should someone be able to take that product for free and sell it to someone else?

    If you don't want to pay for it, then you can always watch with your antenna.
     
  2. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Use your favorite Internet search engine and look up the Rural Electrification Administration.
     
  3. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    How many of those "little-watched specialty channels" are available free via OTA antenna?

    Isn't that what advertising is for?

    DirecTV charges what? $3.00 for LIL? HD-LIL is free?
    Dish Network charges what? $5.99 for LIL? HD-LIL is free?

    Tom Robertson recently brought up the excellent point about the costs associated with bringing a DMA's LIL and HD-LIL to their customers. The satcos may make money from the LIL by being competitive with the cablecos, but they're hardly making money from the prices they charge (particularly DirecTV), and the HD-LIL is provided free?!

    Personally, I view the LIL fee the satcos charge to be more for the convience and reliability of signal, and not for the programming. If it was the programming, well I could get that for free with an antenna, now couldn't I?

    The problem with that though, is that if you don't have an antenna, you have to go to the store to BUY an antenna, and if you're like me, in my area, you REALLY need an outdoor antenna... which requires a pole and all the fees associated with it (guy wire, concrete, screws, etc). Where I live, you REALLY need a pre-amp as well. Of course, you need to go out and buy coax cable and run it (sometimes with other associated fees). Of course, if you have an OLDER TV without an analog tuner, you might ALREADY need a new digital tuner, and if not, you will soon. Sure, you might get a converter coupon to help pay for the converter, but you still need to pay part of the cost. Not to mention the power bill for the pre-amp and the possible DTV converter(s). Oh yeah, some people aren't very handy, so they pay someone to install their outdoor antenna.

    I just made you a list of costs and fees associated with getting a FREE OTA signal, and you can go through it and see what companies/individuals are making money off of FREE OTA. Are broadcasters going to start asking for a cut there as well?

    ~Alan
     
  4. joshjr

    joshjr Hall Of Fame

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    Just because there is OTA and its free does not mean that everyone can get it. Some people dont seem to understand that there are people that even OTA wont work for. Its just a fact. There was a guy on here a few days ago trying to pull a stations through OTA from over 100 miles away. Thats not really very easy to do nor cost effective for one station. OTA is a good solution for alot of people but just like not all DMA's being available to satellite customers OTA is not available to everyone either depending on how far awy, fringe, airports, mountains, and many other factors so before you say everyone can recieve them let me stop you right there.
     
  5. jclewter79

    jclewter79 Hall Of Fame

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    I will tell you why. Because the airwaves that the locals use were GIVEN TO THEM FOR FREE. The US citizen owns the airwaves in my opinion. Running a TV station is not at all free but, we give them free airwaves to sell advertizements on. They need to figure on the ads for paying the bills not retrans payments.
     
  6. paulman182

    paulman182 Hall Of Fame

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    The "Given them for free" part is debatable because broadcast stations pay substantial amounts to the government in licensing fees each year.

    But, you are 100% correct in that local stations should be able to thrive on advertising dollars alone--that is the basis for their existance as far as making money is concerned.
     
  7. Jon Ellis

    Jon Ellis Godfather

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    In case you hadn't noticed, satellite/cable channels run plenty of advertising, too, AND charge higher per-subscriber fees than local broadcast stations. They also use the public airwaves to uplink and downlink their signal using FCC-regulated satellite facilities. And they do not make their programming available for free to people who don't want to pay.

    Well, if you truly had no desire to watch the programming, then it wouldn't matter whether it was convenient to receive it, would it?

    And Joshjr, if you had read the second paragraph of my post before replying you would see that I was being sarcastic. I know very well that there are many people who can't get one or more major networks OTA. It's been that way since the beginning of TV, which is why cable was invented in the first place! The entire industry was built on the idea of taking someone's free product and charging someone else for it.
     
  8. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    And apparently, the stations are quite jealous of that fact?

    Actually, yeah, somewhat, it would!

    Back when I first started with DirecTV, I had DNS for all four networks... later five. When I lost two of the networks later because of local affiliates, I simply stopped watching NBC and FOX programming. We had a decent large-sized antenna on the house (until it got struck by lightning), but the PQ was pitiful compared to the PQ on DirecTV, so I didn't see NBC or FOX programming for SEVERAL YEARS! It wasn't until I got involved with HDTV that I put up another antenna, and I'm lucky enough that I receive strong OTA signals (unlike my years in dealing with analog reception).

    Where I live, a good majority of the people I know have satellite, and prior to Dish Network providing LIL here, they simply did not watch network programming. Since Dish Network cannot provided ABC here, many still do not watch ABC programming.

    I know someone who cannot receive our local FOX affiliate. I've told them they probably could if they got a decent sized antenna... but they don't want to have to put a bigger one on their house.

    I know none of this matters to affiliates, since they get to count everyone in a DMA regardless of whether or not they actually VIEW the stations... but not everyone is going to go to a lot of trouble to view some channels.

    ~Alan
     
  9. paulman182

    paulman182 Hall Of Fame

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    Just as the broadcast TV industry was built on the idea of selling advertising and providing the programming free to viewers.
     
  10. rtd2

    rtd2 Legend

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    I would benefit from this BUT if they are forced to carry these small locals (mine included (GPT/Biloxi) there needs to be some regulation in regards to the transmission fees these local staions are asking.
     
  11. leww37334

    leww37334 Hall Of Fame

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    The one way to solve this without huge expense to Dish or Directv is to allocate the existing HD spot beams to SD local transmissions for the smaller markets.

    Then explain to those markets why they lost their HD locals.
     
  12. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Put the 31 markets up in MPEG4 SD. And then explain to customers why they can't get out of market locals via satellite that they get via cable.

    If Congress forces carriage of all markets they need to level the playing field between satellite and cable.
     
  13. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    I can't comment on Dish Network too much, since I don't follow them QUITE as much as I used to... but DirecTV has the R22. I think DirecTV could get by with HD in most markets, and let the receiver downconvert the signals.

    Agreed!

    ~Alan
     
  14. rnbmusicfan

    rnbmusicfan Legend

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    I would think setting and maintaining the uplink point of presences in each of these small markets would be the bigger (recurring) expense than the opportunity cost that the bandwidth these stations occupy.

    For example, Salisbury MD DMA is 2 stations (or 3 if you count the digital subchannel FOX). DirecTV can probably squeeze these channels on a spotbeam where DC or Baltimore stations. But the expense is DirecTV or Dish setting up a POP there. It would be more economical if those three stations ran a fiber to the nearest major market already carried, Baltimore or DC, just like how many must-carry stations do. WSAH 43 (broadcasts in Bridgeport CT) does for DirecTV's (fibers into the major city uplink--for NYC locals)

    Also I know that Fios already services a great part of the Salisbury market area, along with Comcast. So, how many subs can DirecTV and Dish really gain by servicing this market? Those customers with sat can already easily get an OTA capable HD receiver. And given that its a 2 network market, the broadcast owners can ask for unreasonable retrans compensation as well. The expense exceeds the gain of uplinking and selling these channels.
     
  15. goldstar_media

    goldstar_media Cool Member

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    I wish Direct and Dish would carry digital subchannels. Not having them could be a disadvantage vs. cable. Seriously.

    In New York and Tampa, satellite does not carry any subchannels.

    Do you guys see satellite eventually offering digital subchannels?
     
  16. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    They already do ... and I expect the practice to grow as contracts are renegotiated with stations. ALL digital subchannels in a market isn't something I would expect, but there are a few carried and there will be more.

    (FYI: I've had a digital subcarrier on my DISH subscription since my area's locals were added a few years ago - at the time it was a UPN station. DirecTV does not carry it.)
     
  17. dhhaines

    dhhaines Hall Of Fame

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    Okay... I have to ask. They want to force satellite companys to carry all local channels, but what about the rural areas that the cable company won't run cable to because the population density isn't large enough to spend the money? Shouldn't the cable companys also be forced to carry locals via cable to these locations? Kind of the same thing, isn't it?

    Why should the government force a company to lose money by spending more than it can make in a low population area?
     
  18. goldstar_media

    goldstar_media Cool Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I know that the cable industry is bragging that they have an advantage over satellite b/c they already carry many digital subchannels in top markets while satellite doesn't. They hit this topic hard at The Cable Show in April.

    In NY, Time Warner carries WPIX 11 subchannel 11.2 which is Spanish language network LATV. Dish and Direct don't have it. I use this as an example.

    What stations do you know of whose subchannels are on Dish or Direct locals? Can you name a market?
     
  19. goldstar_media

    goldstar_media Cool Member

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    What I meant to ask was:

    When will we see Ch 11.2 in NY and Ch 9.2 Chicago available on satellite locals? I guess as soon as the digital conversion happens in June?
     

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