STELA reauth, DNS and LiL

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by slice1900, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Oct 24, 2019 #61 of 169
    joshjr

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    I can understand an argument for the other stations you speak of. There are more problems though. Short markets and orphan counties need to be dealt with once and for all. There not going away and need help to get taken care of. The NAB proves time and time again that they dont care about the customer. They only care about themselves. They really took the cake at both hearings this year. The first hearing their rep was clueless on what local stations actually charge for their channels and had never sat in on negotiations before and this hearing their rep worked for stations that had supposedly never had a blackout before. They also avoided directly answering why the 12 markets they are so concerned about dont offer repearters to better cover their DMA they paid for the right and demand their signal be used. Their weak signal they expect DirecTV to pay to extend for them. They make me sick! Just like every time there is a blackout of a local channel and they say get an antenna. What are they gonna do if millions and millions of people started getting their signals over the air for free? They gonna then raise their advertising rates?

    This hearing did such a good job of exposing the issues. They talked about the rate rates been going up and that if gas had went up at the same rate it would be over $140 a gallon right now. That was mind blowing and as clear a message about the greediness of the locals as I could ever imagine. If they really are that desperate for money, they need to come up with a better revenue model as times are changing and people will not continue to pay these absurd rates. Its time to really fix all this crap. Quit kicking the can down the road and really fix it!
     
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  2. Oct 24, 2019 #62 of 169
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with joshjr, they are most likely to kick the can down the road for five years by renewing it as is. Trying to fix the problems in it means taking time out for committee hearings, having to talk to lobbyists on all sides, etc. It is very time consuming, and I can't imagine STELAR is very high up the priority list and they probably don't think it is worth the effort because STELAR isn't going to swing any votes to/from them next November. There are only so many congressmen in rural districts who have constituents who might care about that stuff, and they can get a lot more bang for their buck fixing issues with farm policy.
     
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  3. Oct 24, 2019 #63 of 169
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    120.6 million US Television households ... 850k or less subscribers who need the government to at least kick the can. We are talking about less than a percent of US TV households that are affected and most of them probably don't know what STELAR does. Trying to get serious reform beyond kicking the can is a different problem. There is no reason to wait for the every five year cycle of renewing distants to address the problems with carrying locals. The hard part is finding anyone to push for changes.

    Distant carriage was designed to expire ... the last major change was to move the laws concerning significantly viewed stations (out of market stations who can prove a significant number of OTA viewers) out of the expiring distants law and in to the non-expiring portion of the laws. The biggest change was restoring DISH's ability to have distant stations (lost due to violating the law and delivering distants in situations that were not legal). The cost of restoring DISH's ability to have distants was for DISH to offer locals in EVERY market. DISH was then able to use the distants law to fill in the gaps (short markets, etc).

    Perhaps the next big change could come at the cost of DIRECTV offering locals in every market (since they seem opposed to providing in market locals to all of their subscribers). How about a deal where DIRECTV adds the final markets to satellite delivery in exchange for having distants not expire? Instead of changing the expiration date by five years every five years offer to allow carriage for any carrier offering distants in all local markets. DISH would immediately be able to continue to fill short markets while DIRECTV would be encouraged to add the final markets. Kick the can one year to give DIRECTV time to add the channels and make carrying distants contingent on offering locals in all local markets.
     
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  4. Oct 25, 2019 #64 of 169
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    How is Directv supposed to add the missing locals? They have a few inactive spot beams that could be used for missing markets, but not all of them. They'd have to build/launch another satellite with spot beams that fill in the missing markets. Even if they ordered it today it wouldn't be launched for at least four more years - and it would cost them tens of millions per market. Obviously they'd never consider that.

    There isn't really a choice for Directv to add the missing 12 markets now, so given a choice they'd have to drop DNS which would leave the customers in those 12 markets even worse off than they are now since Directv would no longer be an option for them. Meanwhile it wouldn't really hurt Directv all that much, they can't have very many customers in those 12 markets. I suppose they'd lose some RV customers who make use of DNS, but they are likely to lose many of them anyway when they drop MPEG2 and a Ku only dish is no longer sufficient.

    If they were going to force Directv to carry those markets they needed to do it a decade ago when Directv was still actively building and launching satellites. It is too late to do anything now other than take DNS away from them, which probably hurts their customers a lot more than it does Directv.
     
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  5. Oct 25, 2019 #65 of 169
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    CONUS on Reverse Band? Where there is a will, there is a way. The issue with DIRECTV is that they don't have the will. Over 20 years in the satellite business - they shouldn't be rewarded for not making the effort. Get it done!

    BTW: The stations do not have to be in HD as long as no station in that market is carried in HD.
     
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  6. Oct 25, 2019 #66 of 169
    JoeTheDragon

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    Don't they NEED DNS for air force one? and US military has some pull to make them get an account with no blackouts.
     
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  7. Oct 25, 2019 #67 of 169
    joshjr

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    While I would like to see DirecTV get it done to, they should not be required to do so. Dish only did it as punishment for their crimes to get DNS back. DirecTV never violated the law for that. I doubt Dish would of ever done it either if they were not forced into it. Make the station owners of those markets share in the cost to get those channels to their market and the expense to keep them there and maybe it happens. Why is this DirecTVs burden when the locals stations in those areas wont invest in repeaters to cover their own area? Its not cost effective for the locals to do it so kick the can to another provider to do it for them? That hardly seems fair. The channel owners should bare some of the cost if they want someone else to do it for them. Am I wrong in that way of thinking?

    If XM needed Chevy to help make sure their signal got to all areas around the US is that Chevys burden to make sure that signal reaches the vehicles? Dont seem so to me. Whats the upside to Chevy for spending that money? Would they get it back? Probably not cause the cost of doing it would outweigh the cars they would sell from spending that money.
     
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  8. Oct 25, 2019 #68 of 169
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Trump can "move" the AF1 account to NYC :D
     
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  9. Oct 25, 2019 #69 of 169
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    DNS was not intended to be a forever offering. That is why there is a sunset date on the channels.
    At this point, the only thing stopping DIRECTV from adding the additional markets is the will to complete the task.

    DIRECTV's obligation is to their subscribers. They are leaving subscribers in most of those 12 markets without the major networks. Their subscribers would benefit from having their in market locals, with local news and weather and including non-big four channels. Being able to rely on DNS, including grandfathered DNS, makes DIRECTV lazy and unwilling to finish the task at hand. Cover all markets.

    Perhaps that is the "encouragement" DIRECTV needs ... kill grandfathering. If the customer would not currently qualify for distants take the distants away.

    Huh? How does that apply to local stations and DIRECTV carriage?

    Are you expecting local stations to pay DIRECTV to rebroadcast their signals, enabling DIRECTV to make more money by selling locals and not be at a competitive disadvantage to other carriers? That would be nice.
     
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  10. Oct 25, 2019 #70 of 169
    joshjr

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    James, James, James. As usual we dont see eye to eye. If you watched the Senate hearing they talked about the fact that cable has the same issues years ago and had their bill wrote in to law permanently. Why should satellite not have the same thing? So they eventually got tired of reauthorizing it for Cable but in your expert opinion they should not do so for DirecTV? You sound biased to me.

    As for DirecTV offering those 12 markets their locals, your missing the point. The locals that serve those markets dont even find the people they serve important enough to make sure they can get their own signal OTA. The NAB basically said those local stations dont care enough to invest in repeaters so those customers can use an antenna to get their signal. What I was saying was that if those stations dont want to pay for those repeaters, they can share in what ever costs DirecTV incurs in getting that stations locals to DirecTV customers. So in the end DirecTV would still pay them a set wage per customer but the local channel would share the cost of getting the channel to DirecTV to offer it to anyone. How is that unfair?

    As for the XM analagy, in both cases (XM and the missing 12 markets locals) they would be expecting someone else to fix their signal issues for them free of charge. I get you dont grasp that but I cant make it any clearer. I understand that there are more things to consider and its not a straight apple to apple comparison but as far as one company expecting another to extend their signal for them or resolve their problem for them its pretty close.
     
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  11. Oct 25, 2019 #71 of 169
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Cable carriage rules are different. Required inclusion of local channels in every market. They are already paying the "price" that I suggested DIRECTV should pay for carrying distants. Except cable's obligation is higher, since cable cannot make locals optional for their subscribers and they cannot import distants from any city that they please (for example, carrying NY network stations in Oklahoma).

    When "significantly viewed" stations were added to satellite they were initially added under the distants law, with the five year expiration cycle. With the next renewal SV stations were moved to the non-expiring part of the laws for satellite ... which means when DNS expires "significantly viewed" on satellite can continue. But as an illustration of the continued uneven playing field, note that a "significantly viewed" station is required to be offered carriage by a cable company while satellite companies are under NO obligation to carry any SV station (even in locations where a satellite company carries one SV station - they don't have to carry all SV stations).

    If carriage was equalized between cable and satellite I expect you would be unhappy as DNS would be removed and local channel carriage would be required.
     
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  12. Oct 28, 2019 #72 of 169
    joshjr

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    Cable companies are not required to offer SV channels. Also, what do cable companies do in short markets? That must be the part that they were saying was already permanently in place already. Im not opposed to DirecTV offering the final 12 markets. Just dont think forcing out others who need Distant Signals (short markets, RVers and tailgaters) is the way to go.
     
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  13. Oct 28, 2019 #73 of 169
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Incorrect. That is the entire point of significantly viewed before the status was applied to satellite carriage was for stations to be able to gain carriage from cable systems in areas where the station could prove they had a significant number of viewers.

    Cable carriage is different than satellite. Instead of offering carriage to all full power stations within a defined market, cable is required to carry a number of channels based on the number of channels on their system. Once the quota is met cable does not need to add more locals but most cable systems have enough channels that the percentage is never met. In those cases where the quota isn't met and a station claiming to be local isn't carried, the station can claim significantly viewed status. If they can prove significant viewership, they get carried as a local.

    The "others" would not be "forced out" unless DIRECTV chose not to cover the final 12 markets. Consider it a win win ... customers in those 12 markets get all of their channels (not just the big four) and DIRECTV can continue to serve the short market and RV/commercial vehicle markets. Or AT&T|DIRECTV can make the business decision that having distants is not worth the trouble of adding the 12 markets. And Congress can stop kicking the can.
     
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  14. Oct 29, 2019 #74 of 169
    joshjr

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    Cable Companies are not forced to carry SV. The local cable co here used to carry 2 channels from that list and dropped them both so its definitely not a requirement!

    As for the 12 markets your still missing the point. You talk about the short markets and still covering them. How are the short markets gonna be covered if DNS isnt allowed? The bill is what allows the short markets to be served with DNS. Not to mention the tailgaters and RVers. So your answer is to do away with DNS and still offer it to the ones that need it without a legal way to do so? The whole emphasis for keeping DNS has been for the short markets. It would be nice if DirecTV offered the last 12 markets but DNS will still be needed even if they do so dont make out like DNS wont still be needed and then say it is needed for certain people. If they can change STELAR to still be there for the grandfathered people and for the short markets, so be it. I would support that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
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  15. Oct 29, 2019 #75 of 169
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    You are missing what I wrote. DNS would continue to be allowed - so the short markets would be safe. What I was suggesting is that instead of kicking the can every five years that Congress makes delivery of distants contingent on a provider offering locals in every market. The only reason why DNS would not be allowed is if DIRECTV chose not to finish the job of covering all markets.

    Perhaps providing local into local in all markets is not important to you. Perhaps if you lived in one of the twelve markets it would be more important. Especially if you were missing a major network due to the local station not offering a waiver for their network.
     
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  16. Oct 30, 2019 #76 of 169
    techguy88

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    There are several factors at play here for those 12 markets and why DirecTV isn't able to carry their locals aside from the obvis money.

    If they can't do spot beams for all 12 under-served markets then they can use the 900s as a workaround and place the locals there on the national satellites. If their software is capable or sophisticated enough they could hide them from out of market subscribers and do a virtual remap in-market so the locals would show in the 2-69 range like every other market.

    I know people like to use Dish Network as the golden child since they are able to provide locals for all DMAs and while I don't know much about Dish I bet their Eastern/Western arc setup helps them achieve this. I highly doubt that both the Eastern & Western arcs carry all the locals from all 212 DMAs (but I could be wrong.)

    However getting rid of STELA right now is not the answer until Congress actually gets off their arses and does a complete evaluation and overhaul of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Without the "good faith" aspect (as weak as it is) it would just give broadcasters more power in negotiations.

    However the guy AT&T had at that committee was laughable at times. Instead of trying to make the LCC sound good he should have provided technical reasons for why DirecTV can't provide satellite delivered locals to those markets. :rolleyes:
     
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  17. Oct 30, 2019 #77 of 169
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    DISH has bandwidth set aside for every local station on either eastern or western arc. Some markets are carried on both arcs. Some markets have HD on both arcs.

    As it is with DIRECTV, there are stations that refuse to be carried - but DISH still has the bandwidth set aside for their carriage. It is a requirement of the law that allows DISH to carry distants. :)


    The LCC is a poor excuse for not providing local stations, especially since the newest model receiver does not currently work with the LCC.

    I agree that a complete overhaul of the carriage laws is needed. But I also understand that it is more likely that DISH, DIRECTV and Comcast would merge their operations into one system by the end of the year than there be a serious overhaul this year or within the next five year cycle. Kick the can. It is too easy.
     
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  18. Oct 31, 2019 #78 of 169
    joshjr

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    Watch the hearing from June. He explained it better then. Same guy. I think this time was about exposing that the locals themselves dont even try to get their signal to their own market that they are claiming should have access to their channels. If they arnt dedicated enough to covering their own market, I think its a far cry to ask someone else to do it for you at a large rate to. Without STELAR, those 12 locals would say take it or leave it for huge rates as well as there would be no options. Let me know if you need a link to the hearing from June.
     
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  19. Oct 31, 2019 #79 of 169
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Under the current law people in those twelve markets should not be receiving any big four network affiliates unless they are outside of the in market station's coverage, have a waiver or (very rare) are grandfathered. Those customers would not receive any out of market stations from non big four affiliates. If locals are added to a market, customers can continue to receive any distants they qualify for plus any in market stations (regardless of affiliation) that allow carriage. (There is a limit on grandfathering when locals are added that may affect distants.)
     
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  20. Oct 31, 2019 #80 of 169
    cpalmer2k

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    I see valid points in all of the arguments made here, but I do hope the law gets renewed. In South Carolina we have a lot of "orphaned" counties. The area next to me is part of the Charlotte, NC market. Other counties fall into Augusta, GA and Savannah, GA as well. So SC is really split among three different states. If those people in those markets remain in the "orphaned" markets they should at least allow the closest SC stations to be "Significantly Viewed" and carried along with them. Another avenue might to designate a "primary" central station and offer it. In our case for example WIS in Columbia would be the ideal candidate. Their signal reaches parts of all but a handful of counties in SC. Personally, I think satellite viewers should be able to receive/purchase any stations that they have access to over the air in their market- not just the "designated" stations but I know that will never happen. I am grateful for DNS service though, and hope it continues. In our area the weather warnings go crazy. It's nice to have the DNS channels to fall back to during disputes too.

    The ONLY other thing that annoys me is how the satellite carriers interpret the DNS statutes. One of the previous revisions of the law included a provision that said you couldn't receive HD programming from an earlier time zone. So, DirecTV restricts those in the East/Central time zones to the NYC channels now and those in the Mountain/West to LA channels. Dish just played it safe and they only make the LA channels available to everyone regardless of location. Technically nothing in the statute prevents those of us in the East from choosing the LA channels (or receiving both), but neither carrier allows it unless you were one of the early grandfathered customers.

    I do think AT&T should step up and find a way to carry the 12 additional markets that aren't available, but I can see why they don't. With satellite declining they aren't likely to pick up many customers from it vs the expense involved. I applaud Google & YouTube TV for stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing with their service by carrying every market though.
     
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