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Comments on news posted 2012-12-14 08:46:15: DirecTV has taken the unique step of charging some new TV subscribers a sports content surcharge if they subscribe to more than one sports channels. ..

jc100

join:2002-04-10

Pass the buck

At least they're honest about the charge, justified or not. At the end of the day, when content providers are charged more, the buck is passed onto the consumer. Always has and always will. I'd say there's little one can do but go elsewhere and vote with their wallet. The typical "if you don't like it speech".
Telco

join:2008-12-19
Reviews:
·Callcentric

1 recommendation

Re: Pass the buck

This is why overseas, you tend to buy various packages.

I'm not interested in funding sports channels, multimillionaire athletes, and Teen moms on MTV. Even if the amount of my bill stays the same, I'd rather it be spent on the programming I like, and programs that typically do not kill braincells.
bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY

Re: Pass the buck

+1
jc100

join:2002-04-10
I couldn't agree more, but I doubt DirectTV is going to give customers the option to unbundle. It'd be nice if they did have a package that exempts sports, but I doubt they'll traverse that path.

tc1uscg

join:2005-03-09
Saint Clair Shores, MI

Re: Pass the buck

I have Dish and if they started charging me for something I don't watch or want, I would dump them faster then the dropping gas gage on a F450 pulling 20,000lbs up hill with a head wind. (that's fast for those who have never experienced it)

Now I would pay extra to drop 1/3 of all those channels that try to sell me a wonder bra, give me buns of steal or make my 70 year old mom look 24. But sports? I'm with the rest, I'm not paying extra they should pay me to view some of it's drivel. I'll divert my cash and get faster internet.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Depending on what rep you talk to- well sales person that gets paid per customer that goes door to door- they do just that. *SMH* And when you question them about this, they claim its not true.

mob
On the next level..
Premium
join:2000-10-07

Sports need to be treated like movies

It's time for the forced slavery of consumers by big sports and big broadcasting to be stopped.

Send all sports coverage to pay channels - watch cable rates plummet.
Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

At the very least sports should be on their own package with their own subscription fee. I don't understand why consumers that don't watch something are still forced to pay for it.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
Agree, but it would require government intervention. The networks demand inclusion in the base package as part of contract negotiation. If DirecTV didn't agree to that, their customers would be denied the content altogether.

That's exactly the sort of issue that causes those negotiations to drag on forever. Networks demand big money AND essentially demand that they cannot be offered a la carte.
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

well what about a sports basic pack??

Or a pack with all the main sports channels + your local RSN + TNT/TBS + Trutv + Fx + and other main cable channels or at least the ones that show sports a good deal of the time.

lakerfan82

join:2009-01-30
Corona, CA

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

Why do people who don't like sports even subscribe to cable? Can't you get 90% of that content on a mish mash of cheaper subscriptions through Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon on demand? Who cares if you are 1 season behind if you save hundreds, if not thousands per yer?

nonamesleft

join:2011-11-07
Manitowoc, WI

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

This is the very reason sports channels need to be put in there own package.
itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
said by lakerfan82:

Why do people who don't like sports even subscribe to cable? Can't you get 90% of that content on a mish mash of cheaper subscriptions through Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon on demand? Who cares if you are 1 season behind if you save hundreds, if not thousands per yer?

Lot easier to pay Verizon 1 bill for all my entertainment than a little to Netflix, little to Hulu, and Amazon. And I've got a Free DVR for life from Verizon so I can record in HD, skip commercials and be done with it.

And I'd not want to be 1 season behind when talking with friends about the stuff we watch.

I say put all sports on a package and let them (sports fans) pay for it. If some teams and leagues fold, so be it....

lakerfan82

join:2009-01-30
Corona, CA

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

I guess we are subsidizing eachother then, so its six of one, half a dozen of another... I pay for 100s of channels I don't want just to get the 10 or so sports channels I want. If I could get my local teams online I would happily do that and drop my cable package. I agree that putting them all in their own little bundles would be great as long as I'm not forced to pay for Disney channel, MTV, and the 100s of other channels full of garbage I don't want. A la carte is clearly the answer but the least watched channels will be the ones that go under, not the sports channels. There is a reason ESPN can charge $4/month.

aaronwt
Premium
join:2004-11-07
Woodbridge, VA

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

said by lakerfan82:

I guess we are subsidizing eachother then, so its six of one, half a dozen of another... I pay for 100s of channels I don't want just to get the 10 or so sports channels I want. If I could get my local teams online I would happily do that and drop my cable package. I agree that putting them all in their own little bundles would be great as long as I'm not forced to pay for Disney channel, MTV, and the 100s of other channels full of garbage I don't want. A la carte is clearly the answer but the least watched channels will be the ones that go under, not the sports channels. There is a reason ESPN can charge $4/month.

Because Disney forces ESPN on everyone.

danawhitaker
Space...The Final Frontier
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Urbandale, IA
No, you can't, especially not news-related stuff. I discovered this when I was trying to stream coverage from the Connecticut shooting on my PC while my daughter was watching cartoons on TV this weekend. The good news streams seem to be locked behind the cable login paywall now, so I had to dig out my login info.

The Weather Channel stuff that I watch is usually live coverage of breaking weather which may or may not be covered on live streams.

Sometimes I just like to channel surf, too, and find random stuff.

I don't recall someone passing a law that said cable TV exists only for sports fans.
--
You're watching Sports Night on CSC so stick around...

mob
On the next level..
Premium
join:2000-10-07

1 recommendation

I voted with my dollars. I shut off cable TV, and kept internet access.
NOVA_UAV_Guy
Premium
join:2012-12-14
Purcellville, VA
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by djrobx:

Agree, but it would require government intervention. The networks demand inclusion in the base package as part of contract negotiation. If DirecTV didn't agree to that, their customers would be denied the content altogether.

I'm not one who is generally in favor of more laws and more government intervention, but this sounds like an area where a little more intervention could perhaps yield favorable results for the consumer.

I'm a believer in paying for content, and also a believer in freeing up content from draconian and useless rules artificially created by entertainment networks. Government intervention will be the only thing that will ever allow this.

Case in point: I live in Washington, DC. I'd like to receive local channels for Pittsburgh, PA instead, and would even be willing to pay a little extra (say $5/month) to get them, either in addition to or in place of the Washington, DC locals. But I can't - because of the way that laws are set up and contracts are negotiated.

Case in point 2: Over the past year or so, I've casually tracked the channels I watch and record programs from. There are really only a handful of non-network stations (say a maximum of 10-12) that I even watch more than a small handful of times throughout the year. I'd venture to guess that there are a lot of others like me too.

Why are we forced into the chains of what I like to call "entertainment socialism", where the "free market" is prevented from rewarding good channels with good shows and punishing bad channels with bad shows? Consumers should be forced into only buying bundles of channels, and supporting mediocre things which are of no consequence to them? Is it really fair that to subsidize home shopping channels and the like with revenue from stations which are actually successful? I think I'd prefer to see things move more toward the "PBS model" of things - all channels should be "supported by viewers like you", though revenue generated from subscriptions.

I know this is becoming a long-winded post here, so I'll try to wrap things up quickly. What I'd like to see is someone - a company, our government, likely a combination of the two - become a "game changing force" here. Establish contracts with content generators which allow for a fixed per-subscriber fee calculated and paid monthly on each channel individually. Then offer up a service to consumers which allows them to create their own entertainment package with just the channels they want, with various fees for various channels calculated by taking the content generator's rate and adding a fixed percentage fee on top to cover infrastructure costs, administrative costs, and a reasonable profit. Leverage the "Netflix model" for content delivery and offer it up all as an IPTV-based solution.

This solution should stretch across all content generators and providers, and offer true choice. People get to vote with their wallets by subscribing to the channels they like while not buying the channels they don't. People like me who would rather see the news in Pittsburgh instead of DC or elsewhere get to do so. People who want to buy an "NFL Season Ticket Lite" version for just one team per season have the ability to do that, too. And what a wonderful world that would be.

afsafd

@comcast.net

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

You're deadly wrong. FCC most of the times favor corporate. That is how they get elected.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
said by djrobx:

Agree, but it would require government intervention. The networks demand inclusion in the base package as part of contract negotiation. If DirecTV didn't agree to that, their customers would be denied the content altogether.

That's simply not true.

Directv could "hold out" as long as it takes, to sever the mandatory bundling.
If that means their customers go without certain content, so be it. Eventually, the networks would realize (feel) the loss and come back with a better offer.

If you've ever been to NAB or CES or met with cable, satellite and broadcast executives, you'd understand why they are so eager to cave and force all subscribers to subsidize ESPN. There is a substantial Sports bias in the boardroom.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

By as long as it takes I assume you mean until their competitors use this against them to take enough of their subs that they finally give in.

It will take all content providers to do it at the same time to hurt the content owners enough to cause them to rethink their model. Which is exactly why the owners negotiate contracts with long terms and with much different end dates.

The government could easily resolve this by simply stating that all contracts will be paid as agreed until X date and no new contracts can go beyond this date. That x date could be until the last big one expires (Say Comcast is the last to expire in 2/15). They can then couple this with a set mandatory expiration date for those that try to beat the deadline for when this rule comes into effect or if their contracts are already set to far out. Say 12/17 which would then provide all parties (content owners, sports leagues, productions companies) an opportunity to adjust their forecasted revenues and make the needed changes. Then ALL must be renegotiated with a la carte packaging for ALL channels along side of small, medium and large bundles. They can do bundles based on # of channels picked, content owners, themes or any other combination they see fit.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: Sports need to be treated like movies

said by Skippy25:

By as long as it takes I assume you mean until their competitors use this against them to take enough of their subs that they finally give in.

It will take all content providers to do it at the same time to hurt the content owners enough to cause them to rethink their model. Which is exactly why the owners negotiate contracts with long terms and with much different end dates.

Any one provider could achieve the desired result by holding out, as long as it takes. But they would have to assume the risk, when in today's climate, it is easier just to pass the cost on.

said by Skippy25:

The government could easily resolve this by simply stating that all contracts will be paid as agreed until X date and no new contracts can go beyond this date.
...
Then ALL must be renegotiated with a la carte packaging for ALL channels along side of small, medium and large bundles. They can do bundles based on # of channels picked, content owners, themes or any other combination they see fit.

I am ever reluctant to suggest that the government should interfere with the marketplace. But I'm not opposed to discussing the possibility of legislation, to motivate the players to be more competitive.

At some point, we need an iTunes Store model for video content leasing, with per-channel/episode/season/day/week/month/year, density and volume pricing options - which should actually yield more revenue than the current structure, while giving the consumer more freedom of choice. But we need industry to build it, not have it dictated from Washington.
NOVA_UAV_Guy
Premium
join:2012-12-14
Purcellville, VA
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by elray:

That's simply not true.

Directv could "hold out" as long as it takes, to sever the mandatory bundling.
If that means their customers go without certain content, so be it. Eventually, the networks would realize (feel) the loss and come back with a better offer.

I agree in theory, but not in application.

While there would be some like me who would probably not leave DirecTV over holding out like this, there are many who would not be as willing to stay. As an example consider parents of young children who suddenly might find themselves without programming like Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel if something happened around those networks. Depending upon the channel, this could cost DirecTV a bunch of revenue. (What if it was something like ESPN, or TBS, or TNT, that draws a lot of viewers?)

One also need consider that DirecTV's objective in holding out wouldn't be the same as yours or mine. At the end of the day, their focus is money (maximizing bottom line profit) and not altruism (working to achieve a cause for the betterment of others). Thus, in holding out, DirecTV would be likely to fold if offered a smaller price increase - so the scenario that both you and I dream of isn't likely to ever be held out as a serious bargaining chip.

What we really need is for an established company like DirecTV to be willing to take a large financial risk and change its operating model entirely. Unfortunately, I wouldn't hold my breath - as "established company" and "large financial risk" don't go well together these days. Maybe a smart start-up could try to do this (it would be a more likely scenario), but they're not likely to have successes against the content providers since they won't have much bargaining power.
dishrich

join:2006-05-12
Springfield, IL
said by djrobx:

Agree, but it would require government intervention. The networks demand inclusion in the base package as part of contract negotiation. If DirecTV didn't agree to that, their customers would be denied the content altogether.

That's exactly the sort of issue that causes those negotiations to drag on forever. Networks demand big money AND essentially demand that they cannot be offered a la carte.

And this VERY same thing is happening on many cable systems, that are now tacking on a similar surcharge for local, broadcast stations, that demand payment for their (already FREE) OTA signal - & which subs CANNOT opt-out of, either. I'm actually surprised either satellite service hasn't done this same thing. (yet)

These are all above-the-line rate increases, pure & simple - since these providers are NOT going to absorb these higher prog costs any longer, of course they're going to pass them to their subs. But this way, these same providers CAN continue to advertise those "teaser-rates", just like phone & cell companies do...

viperpa33s
Why Me?
Premium
join:2002-12-20
Bradenton, FL

People will complain but pay anyways

There will be a few people who will complain about the fee but will end up paying it in the end because they need their sports. As long as people continue paying all these fees, the more the programming companies are going to think they have the green light to add more fees. How much more are you willing to pay before you say you had enough?

danawhitaker
Space...The Final Frontier
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Urbandale, IA

Unless I'm Reading This Wrong...

...you're still stuck paying this fee whether you *watch* the regional sports channels or not. Which still doesn't help you if you don't care about sports channels at all and live in an area with more than one regional sports network. It's a step toward breaking out sports costs, but unfortunately still punishes people who don't watch them. It would be like giving everyone HBO or another premium network, but charging everyone for it whether they watched it or not, and making it mandatory to have.

If there were an option to opt out of these channels (and paying for said channels) completely, it would certainly be interesting to see if this would be a game changer. I suspect if all the people like myself who subscribe to a middle-range cable or satellite package who never watched the pure sports channels were given the option to opt out, the sports industry would have to scramble because the revenue coming in would drop significantly. I get tired of subsidizing what is repeatedly considered the most expensive portion of cable TV these days without any sort of perk for doing so. What would hopefully happen is a return to more reasonable rates for *everybody* across the board. I respect people who enjoy watching sports of all kinds, and I feel like they all get ripped off by ridiculously high fees too.
--
You're watching Sports Night on CSC so stick around...

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Re: Unless I'm Reading This Wrong...

said by DirecTV Website :

These local RSN(s) are included in most base packages, but there are some that do not include RSNs and are not subject to a Regional Sports Fee

I read it the same way you did. This isn't an extra fee being pushed on people who watch sports, or on those who subscribe to sports packages. The fee will apply to everyone subscribing to any package in an area that happens has a Regional Sports Network. And even DTV admits that is "most" markets.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Unless I'm Reading This Wrong...

Just another price increase, marketed as a separate fee to fool the customer.

AZ_OGM

join:2007-01-12
Phoenix, AZ

What about part time channels?

Why do I get the feeling that they will try to put this fee on markets that run a part-time "Plus" channel.
It's also convenient that is about the same price MSOs had to pony up to start carrying TWC Sports Los Angeles or miss the stellar season the Lakers are having.
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL

Re: What about part time channels?

Plus channels are just overflow feeds.

The fee is for areas where is multi zone over laps.

or places like NEW York where you have lot's of different RSN's SNY, MSG/MSG+ / YES.

Now what about useing this to add pac-12 in market??

myosh

join:2001-05-03
Cupertino, CA
I wonder if they're going to try this in the San Francisco Bay Area? We currently have two RSNs... Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area and Comcast Sportsnet California. CSNBA carries the Giants and Warriors while CSNCA carries the A's, Sacramento Kings and the San Jose Sharks (if the NHL doesn't implode).

espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Vitelity VOIP

1 edit

This is already the case in the New York DMA

...where DirecTV is charging the $3 fee because it has to carry the expensive team-specific channel YES. (Yankees Entertainment and Sports)

In LA, the new channel created by Time Warner will primarily broadcast only LA Laker games.

If you're not a sports fan, the clear option is Dish Network. The pricing is cheaper there because they won't carry either of these networks, MSG network, or SportsNet New York.

holocron
Premium
join:2004-06-28
Minneapolis, MN

Credit?

Cool. Can I get a $3.00 CREDIT if I ask to have NO SPORTS channels?
15444104
Premium
join:2012-06-11

DirecTV is a RIP OFF!

PAY TV today is a rip off!

When you consider the quality of the content of cable and satellite today I have a hard time believing that ANYONE would want to pay what they are asking for it.

I don't care for sports programming anymore than "bread and circuses". LOL

And the rare time when there are worthwhile programs on the number of interruptions from commercials is INSANE and makes even quality programs unwatchable without using a DVR (more money!)

I voted with my wallet as well. I dumped DirecTV years ago and now only have OTA and the internet.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Opt-out

I am considering the idea of switching back to DirecTV but I am undecided if it is cheaper to just keep my bundle through Comcast.

If I do go with DirecTV, I would gladly ask them to block the sports channels as I don't watch them. As for Comcast, I have to buy a so-called Sports Entertainment Package to get Turner Classic Movies and Fox Movie Channel (which I think is B/S as I my mother only watches those two channels and that is the reason I subscribe to those).
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Awareness

I think that DirecTV is trying to make customers more aware of the absolutely INSANE costs of sports programming in particular, but all cable channels in general. The cost of programming is driving the cost of cable and satellite. Unfortunately, it would probably be illegal for all the big providers to join together and set the pricing that the content providers will get. I hope a big provider like Comcast finally gets some backbone, sets a line in the sand, and beats the content providers down to a more reasonable cost.

Steve Mehs
Gun Control Is Using A Steady Hand
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1

I will never understand the haters...

It’s funny to read all of the comments by you anti sports nuts here on this site. You all think everyone hates sports. Well outside of your little bubble, that couldn’t be more false. Baseball is America’s pastime, football is America’s obsession, basketball is doing good, and hockey is a way of life in markets where it is appreciated. Soccer popularity is growing in the US, MMA has exploded and lacrosse is being more noticed. And then you have to most loyal fan base in all of sports, NASCAR. The Super Bowl is the most watched TV event of the year. Sunday and Monday Night Football are at the top of the ratings. The seats are being filled at most sports venues, unless the team really sucks. Here in Buffalo, hockey is huge. When the Sabres are on 3 out of 4 TVs are tuned into the Sabres. With the lockout, the AHL affiliate from Rochester came over to play a game. The Rochester Americans drew a crowd of something like 14,000 people. Not too bad for minor league hockey.

Living in NY State and having four RSNs for all of the teams that claim the state, I don’t care, I just want to watch my teams. The Sabres and Yankees being the big two, but I will tune in for Knicks and Nets coverage although, basketball being the only sport I don’t follow too close, if I’d have a favorite team it would be the LA Clippers, but seeing how they’re on the west coast, their games typically don’t start until 10PM EST and I have to be up for work at 3 in the morning I can’t tune in.

I have full subscriptions to Time Warner Cable and DirecTV with the premium sports packs on each. I subscribe to NHL Center Ice and MLB Extra Innings every year, and this year is my first year with NFL Sunday Ticket. I will never understand why people hate sports, but you haters are in the vast minority.

Go Bills! Go Sabres! Go Yankees! Go Clippers! Go Bandits! Go Americans! Go Bulls! Go Buckeyes! Go Rousch Fenway Racing!
--
iPhone: 4” 1136 X 640 Display, 1.30 GHz Dual Core Processor, 1 GB RAM
MyPhone: 5” 1920 X 1080 Display, 1.50 GHz Quad Core Processor, 2 GB RAM
So tell me, why is exactly is the iPhone so great?
Droid Does What Jobs Won’t Let You Do.

•••

observer13

@sbcglobal.net

Pay TV sucks

I got up around 4:30am this morning and started flipping through HD channels when I was waking up. I can't remember the count, but I think I went through the first 30 stations in a row and every single one of them was an infomercial.

It was just funny... my Pay TV bill is like $110/mo and at least at 4:30am the only thing $110/mo was buying me was infomercials. I mean even big name channels like Comedy Central and Syfy are doing this. I'd love to see someone study pay-tv and figure out exactly what % of the time the channels are first run shows or movies. On some channels like TNT, when they pay to show a movie, they show it like 20 times in a row over a weekend trying to suck every dollar out of it.