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Godfather
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I'm not saying they'll cave. What I AM saying is that streamers have been working with leagues to provide whatever blackout rules they want. I see no reason why a streaming service can't work with the NFL (and the networks) to honor whatever system they want to use.
For MLS, Apple got global streaming rights, both in- and out-of market. I would bet that is what they would ask for from the NFL. I would be surprised if that wasn’t what Apple proposed to the NFL, too. Keep in mind about half of MLS owners have MLS ownership interests, too.

Given that the games are produced by the OTA network, assuming in-market, the local ads are kept in place (geofencing should allow this), it’s hard to see how they wouldn’t allow Apple to stream in-market, too. There are advantages and disadvantages to it. Of course, that doesn’t mean they will provide streaming in-market, but it could be done.


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Godfather
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I will be with DirecTV until it is gone! I don't care anything about the Sunday Ticket one way or another.
I think satellite TV’s days are numbered. I just don’t think it’s a small number. My guess is between 3,000 and 5,000. I’m more sure of the upper bound… the birds have about that much life left in them, and no one seems to be motivated to replace them.

As for the lower bound, that depends on whether enough customers remain for the business to be viable. Given past end-of-life issues like MPEG2 and the TiVo DVRs, where people were still using them literally until their last day, I have no doubt that’s still a ways off.

Just so you are forewarned…


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Godfather
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Directv's FIRST satellite failure is unlikely to hit until after 2030.
2030 may be when they start losing enough of the birds to start losing capacity to reliably deliver service… T10/11/12 will be over 20 years old, and T14/15 over 15 years old. These birds could still be operating in 2035, but not much longer.

From a business perspective, the satellites should be paid off, so the only have to pay for O&M. That helps. But, given the customer attrition rate, it’s unlikely they’ll buy new satellites.

I stand by my estimate of 3,000 days (8 years) and 5,000 days (14 years) above.



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Godfather
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A la carte will be the death of low priced TV.
When was TV ever low priced?

Just because you didn’t have to pay out-of-pocket for over-the-air broadcast doesn’t mean someone didn’t pay the cost. How do you think the OTA networks are going to pay the $billions for their rights to broadcast NFL games? Advertising.

Following in that tradition, streaming services are starting to be ad supported. Netflix is partnering with Microsoft for an ad supported version of their platform. It wouldn’t surprise me if that didn’t work both ways… Microsoft delivers targeted in-program ads and uses viewing data to target online ads.

Other streamers are following suit. Google/YouTube are financed by ads. Amazon… Disney… All of these online platforms make huge piles of money from advertising.

You also assume that the streaming service prices are elastic. They aren’t, and providers know that. They also can model profit margins based on prices. They know what people are willing to pay for their various TV services and what they can get away with charging for their service. That also allows them to budget for content.

BTW, doesn’t DirecTV track what people watch? My recollection was that they can report viewing statistics back to Nielsen, right? I assume that’s not the only way they use that data…

You also seem to have this notion that people are unaware of the added cost of one package vs. another and choose to not upgrade to a package containing a desired channel because of this cost. People do that all the time.

Related to Sunday Ticket, it would definitely be a value add for any of these streaming services, both from the consumer and ad provider point of view. Something that a 2 million and shrinking subscriber satellite-based Sunday Ticket couldn’t ever hope to effectively monetize.


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Godfather
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If you go strictly a la carte, a few things will happen:
1) You'll pay more per channel and get less content
2) You'll get less channels because the channel provider might decide that they don't have enough subs for a channel and just end it, and that channel might be one YOU watch. For example perhaps you watch Discover Channel and History Channel and Discovery Networks which own both, decides that not enough people are watching History so they disband it. Now you lose a channel you enjoyed. if they were bundled, you'd still get both.
3) You'll get much more consolidation of content, so not as many opportunities to watch a show because now 3 channels worth of content will be on only one channel.
I think you are missing the point. You are focused on the archaic concept of channels. There is no relationship between channels and content.

You can get all the History and Discovery content you want for less than $5 per month. Food Network and HGTV, too. Much less than the cost of your satellite package. Why would I care if the History Channel disbands? The content is always there waiting for me.

Consolidation of content is a good thing if you aren’t reliant on the concept of channels. You want content, you should be able to watch what you want when you want. Channels don’t allow that. You have to wait for the channel to show your content.

Even DVRs are at the mercy of channels. You can’t have the show until it’s been on a channel. That means you can’t watch what you want when you want.

My point was the cost of content and it’s delivery has traditionally been borne by others by their inserting ads into the content. Advertising pays 100% for the most expensive content out there, NFL broadcast package. That’s where the business is returning to.

What was your point? Content costs money and if you aren’t buying every channel, all of the content will go away. I doubt it.


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Godfather
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Advertisers weren't going to pay if we were to just skip their ads.
Since this is an NFL thread…

Football is one of the ad friendly sports out there. Lots of breaks in the action where 2-5 minutes of ads could be shown.

A few years back, I went to a college football game, and at changes of possession and other breaks in play, they went to commercial for it seemed like forever. At each break, they blasted AC/DC over the stadium PA. It was very detrimental to the in-person experience. I hated the guy in the red vest telling them when they were at commercial.

As a side note, this was when I came to the realization that AD/DC has only one song. It’s long and spread out over many albums, but could be seamlessly stitched together into a single song.

Baseball now has a pitch clock and limits the time between innings, limiting the impact of ads on the in-person experience. Baseball is also more pastoral, making Neil Diamond a more appropriate musical interlude.


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Godfather
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Second, I also assume you don't watch baseball either. MLB has NO pitch clock, none.
Last time I was at a MLB game (pre-pandemic), there was a between inning and pitcher change clock. I mistook it for a pitch clock. The have 2-3 minutes between innings or for pitcher changes, depending on if it’s a local, national or post season game.


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Godfather
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As for ad-free vs. ad-supported versions of a service… the companies (Hulu, Netflix, etc) surely have modeled expected ad revenue from a viewer, given ad rates for the shows they are likely to watch… cable ads run something like $20 per thousand ads… people watch so many shows, so avoid this many ads… we need to charge $x.xx to make up the difference. Then charge more(just a guess).

As a viewer my question is whether it’s worth the cost to avoid the ads. Maybe?

I don’t really want to step into the streaming debate, aside from the fact that I saved money by leaving DirecTV years ago. I few years ago, my teleco ran fiber in my neighborhood. I get the trouble some have in their area. My teleco was one of two non-Bell baby Bells, and they do pretty good for us locally… very reliable. I’ve had mediocre (time Warner/spectrum) internet in the past. FTTH should be universal.

My biggest issue with streaming is long Stadium shots seem blurry, but that is probably not due to streaming, but production. At HD, I should be able to see the players numbers.


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Godfather
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and then people will want 1 service, 1 bill , 1 set of multi streaming rules, 1 ui, 1 box per tv you know like cable today
You don’t think Apple or Amazon wouldn’t mind having everything accessed and paid for through their app? They know what you watch and get a cut if the subscription fees. That’s been their store business model for years.

But, what will be even better is that with smart TVs, you won’t need a box.


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Godfather
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Does AppleTV+ currently handle add-on subscriptions and/or PPV such as would be required?

I know they can handle "free" content but that's not what is required here.
The Apple TV app has other streamers listed as channels and you can subscribe to them by clicking on the channel in the app.

My ESPN+ subscription is billed through the Apple store… bought before Apple TV+.


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Godfather
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I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing. Reselling like an online storefront is different from selling your own additional cost content and providing your own access control mechanisms for that content.
Well, maybe?

Apple sells third-party services as channels and the content is billed and made available through the Apple TV+ app directly.

If you buy the third-party service another way (directly or through a different provider), the content is aggregated and linked in the Apple TV+ app.

I am not sure that there are any Apple exclusive channels, yet. Major League Soccer is planned to be an Apple exclusive made sold as a channel. It’s supposed to be free for MLS season ticket holders and an added cost for everyone else. This is more what you are talking about.


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Godfather
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Silly is right - the notion that streaming services will charge so much for ad-free programming that nobody would pay it is simply laughable. Pricing is based on what the market will bear, which is why ad-free tiers are priced a few dollars higher than the ad-free tiers. There has been a market for ad-free programming since HBO launched 50 years ago, and there always will be. It exists because there are millions of people who are willing to pay for it, and that isn't going to change.
It’s also laughable that streaming services would sell an ad-free package for less than the ad-supported service + the ad revenue they would get for ads in shows the viewers watched. Basically, they aren’t going to lose money on the ad free service compared with the ad-supported service.

If their up charge for an ad-free service is $3, figure they would have gotten less than that if they had ads in the shows.

Otherwise, why offer an ad-free version if it’s going to cost you money?


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Godfather
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Remember on MLB AT BAT when you'd get NO commercials inbetween innings? Now, you get ads (and BTW, no ad-free tier).
People actually cared about ads between innings? It’s a natural break in the game, and now the time between innings is limited. What else do you show during that time? A wide stadium shot?

Live sports lends itself to advertising and is built into the actual competition (soccer being the sole exception).
Have you watched soccer? You get ads the entire game from the boards on the side of the field and players shirts.


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Godfather
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If there weren't ads between innings, the announcers would spend the time jabbering with each other and doing interviews, which is just as annoying as ads.
It’s a natural break in the game. In stadium, it’s filled with things like mascot contests, fan dance or kiss cams, etc.

What annoying is when these natural breaks are preternaturally expanded to unreasonable length, like taking 3 minutes of ads every change in possession in football.


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Godfather
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Or they just move on, recognizing that Directv is selling a commodity, with plenty of competitors. You can continue to subscribe and pay full price because Directv said so......others who care about their own financial self interest will negotiate an arm's length business transaction, or move to a competitor.
Inertia is a powerful thing… we see it at play here. There is a strong unwillingness to try something different, even if it costs less, and is roughly equivalent. Apparently, money is not a big enough force to overcome it.

They feel ill used when they get a $55 discount per month instead of $60 per month.
For me, losing a discount and the price doubling was enough to drive me away. $60 a month discount keeps them competitive with the likes of YouTube TV. At least close enough that inertia is an impediment to switching.

When the offer changes and becomes unaffordable they need to tighten their belts!
What does affordability have to do with anything? Just because I can afford something doesn’t obligate me to buy it.


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Godfather
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What's MORE annoying is how they've now found other natural breaks in the game, like between pitches in MLB, or between plays in the NFL to throw those advertisements at you. That's my point about advertising money, companies will find ANY chance they get to advertise to you. Companies like Netflix and so forth started when there was no easy way to insert ads into programming, now it's easy and ubiquitous. But it will, as always come down to revenue. As long as they can make more money selling you an ad free tier than they could getting rid of the tier, to sell you ads, they will continue to do that. I agree. We'll see how long that lasts.
2-1 pitch brought to you by Jim’s service station, 12th and Main! Best sushi in town!


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Godfather
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There are a few that are insisting that the streaming outfits couldn't reasonably offer access to some of the commercial venues but that's their blind faith.
Moreover, there is no evidence that the streaming outfits actually care about offering access to commercial venues. There is just an expectation that they will.

All there is right now is an article that says a deal is “close” according to unnamed sources. Oh, neither outfit responded to the reporter’s request for comments.

At this point, I’d suggest the following link for insight into the future of Sunday Ticket… it’s as good a source as any.



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