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Comments on news posted 2013-11-26 14:38:29: The retransmission fees broadcasters charge pay TV operators to carry their content have been the source of increasingly obnoxious conflict the last few years resulting in all manner of content blackouts and bad behavior by both sides. ..


ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2

1 edit

Downward spiral

The more people that "cut the cord" and pirate, the carriage fees will increase. They cant make content on no money.

Im getting a feeling they are calculating carriage fees, and not taking into consideration future cord cutters.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: Downward spiral

These channels are free if you use an antenna, they are supported by commercials. Retransmit fees to have a free channel broadcasted over cable/sat which brings in more viewers which should bring in more ad revenue. All this is just greed on the part of local broadcasters. Long ago cable didn't exist and the TV stations managed to make money by simply sending out the signal for free.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2

Re: Downward spiral

Theres this new invention called a " DVR" , advertisers aren't paying like they used to.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Downward spiral

Yes and there are new business models that have every product you see in a show/movie paying to be there, which was not nearly as prevalent in the old days.

anon_anon

@comcastbusiness.net
If you look at the numbers, you will see that cable tv rates increases have considerably outpaced the inflation rate since the mid 1990's. I could contend even if broadband didn't exist the rate of increase would still remain the same. 6% yearly rate increases for cable have been the rule of thumb even before the word "cord cutter" was invented.
armed

join:2000-10-20
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: Downward spiral

A contention without proof.

Here's another way to look at inflation in cable prices. In 1963 I paid $18/month for 12 channels. Inflation since 1963 is approx. 651%. Ergo I should be paying about $117/month today for just 12 channels. Of course I now pay much less than $117 for 10 times the number of channels.

So much for the old "profits go up and service goes down" argument for cable companies.... eh?

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC

Re: Downward spiral

Where did you have cable in 1963??? I was in up state NY, Endwell to be exact and we couldn't get cable until the early 80's.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Antenna or Bust

I already have an antenna that I use for myself and broadcast basic for one my family members. I am ready to go 100% antenna and forget about cable. If they pull the OTA signals, then so be it. I barely have any interest in what is on TV now and I could easily give it up and stick with reruns of my favorites of the 1970's.

Program's I watch while gritting my teeth:

How I Met Your Mother (skipped last night as it looked to be a waste of time)
Two Broke Girls (a half hour of my life I will never get back)
Big Bang Theory (usually watch it if I am bored)
The Crazy Ones (Probably the only show I enjoy because of Robin Williams)
Two and a Half Men (should have been terminated along with Charlie Sheen)
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Antenna or Bust

Charlie Sheen should have been terminated? Wow, that's harsh, man.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Re: Antenna or Bust

No he shouldn't have but since they did, they should have ended the show. It is just getting so bad I skip it most weeks now.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
armed

join:2000-10-20

Re: Antenna or Bust

I really like the new version of the show.

Every program has its likers and haters.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

More, more, more!!!

Here's the problem with the entertainment industry and businesses in general: they always want more profits, no matter what. Are economic times tough? Doesn't matter. Are there more alternatives seeking consumers' time? Doesn't matter. Are people getting stressed out over paying more and more? Doesn't matter. They simply refuse to accept the possibility that they might have to settle for less money.

Out in the real world, anyone who runs a household knows that this model simply doesn't work. You can't simply go to your boss and say, "From here on out, I'm going to require a 7% raise each year to offset the fact that I have a child now and will need to buy a new washer and dryer and renovate my house. I know that my current salary allows for these things, but I also want to be able to develop some rental property and take a nice vacation each year." Only an idiot would say something like that. We all know that we have to make do with what we make and either hope for a promotion or look for a better job. Sometimes we may end up wit a little extra in the bank, and sometimes we won't, and the best we can do is manage our money wisely. This is a lesson that businesses desperately need to learn.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

Re: More, more, more!!!

said by ISurfTooMuch:

Here's the problem with the entertainment industry and businesses in general: they always want more profits, no matter what.

I agree with this with one clarification... This phenomenon primarily affects publicly traded companies and is a result of

1) Companies worrying more about their stock price (and pleasing Wall St) than actually running their business

2) The current interpretation of Shareholder Primacy which dictates that business decisions should be made to maximize profits to the shareholders.

These two closely related factors cause businesses to adopt the 'exponential growth' model you describe. If profits aren't increasing it is considered a loss. Unfortunately I don't think they are going to 'learn their lesson' anytime soon. Greed has been let out of its cage and it isn't going back willingly.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 edit

1 recommendation

Re: More, more, more!!!

Excellent point. Yes, privately-owned businesses, especially small businesses, understand that. They also usually understand how to treat customers to make sure they remain customers. I've had several instances where local businesses (plumbing/heating and cooling/carpenters) have either not charged me for work or told me how to get small jobs done more cheaply than they could do them, and, when I've thanked them, they've said they value my continued business more than just making a few dollars from me in the short term. And, the thing is, when I need work done, I will definitely call these places first, and if someone asks me for a recommendation, I'll pass along these businesses' names. They've helped me out, so I'll help them out. I feel no such loyalty to the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc. To these corporations, all we amount to are a bunch of money dispensers, and their mission is to make us dispense as much as they can suck out of us.

EDIT: Another facet of companies seeking ever-increasing profits is that it often isn't really about profits; it's about stock appreciation. Shareholders really may not get a whole lot from a company's dividends; what they really want is for the news of increased profits to drive up the stock price so they can sell at the appropriate time. And, given that this whole thirst for profits and stock appreciation is unhealthy for a company long-term, since it can't spend the money it needs to on capital projects, you have to assume that the business will eventually run into trouble. This makes the whole affair a very long pump-and-dump scheme. Investors buy in, ride the company as hard as they can to churn out ever-increasing profits, even to its detriment, watch their stock appreciate, and sell out at the first sign of trouble. The company may suffer, and the stock price may go down, but that's the problem of the schmucks who are just buying in. And, if things get really bad, simply chop up the dying business and sell it off to other companies, either for cash or shares of their stock. Rinse and repeat.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

1 recommendation

said by CXM_Splicer:

said by ISurfTooMuch:

Here's the problem with the entertainment industry and businesses in general: they always want more profits, no matter what.

I agree with this with one clarification... This phenomenon primarily affects publicly traded companies and is a result of

1) Companies worrying more about their stock price (and pleasing Wall St) than actually running their business

2) The current interpretation of Shareholder Primacy which dictates that business decisions should be made to maximize profits to the shareholders.

These two closely related factors cause businesses to adopt the 'exponential growth' model you describe. If profits aren't increasing it is considered a loss. Unfortunately I don't think they are going to 'learn their lesson' anytime soon. Greed has been let out of its cage and it isn't going back willingly.

This is why I knew "Don't Be Evil" was dead when Google went public. Once they had shareholders to keep happy they would have to do the same thing as everybody else in the industry.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
armed

join:2000-10-20
Reviews:
·Charter
I am far from impressed with the average American's understanding and control of their personal economics. Uncontrolled consumption and rampant debt is the byword of too many "households" today. When comparing large business and individual management of money I generally see companies doing a far better job.

Most large companies are doing quite well while the masses wallow in their own inability to self control expenses. Banks are the one big exception to that observation.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

Re: More, more, more!!!

said by armed:

Most large companies are doing quite well while the masses wallow in their own inability to self control expenses. Banks are the one big exception to that observation.

Don't forget the government (Well, they really aren't a company... but still!)

It is an interesting paradigm you point out and I wonder how you think we got here. What caused a country of mostly financially responsible, politically involved, fairly well educated people to evolve into people who only care about the latest TV season and the release of the newest toy?

I would argue that business/the short term economy benefits from this new-found religion of Consumerism but I can't believe it is the only factor. Too many drugs in the 70's? Over paternalization by the government? A shift in education? How did we get here and, more importantly, how do we fix it?
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: More, more, more!!!

Unfortunately, we're in the same pattern that occurs to any large empire. At first, the country is either poor or, at the very least, not prosperous, which means that the population and government have to spend wisely. Eventually, expansion and economic dominance bring prosperity, which leads to excess. This not only means excessive spending but also a shift in focus by the population toward entertainment, since many people believe the basics in life are pretty much assured, so they can focus on pleasurable things. Of course, this is a mistake, since a politically rudderless country can't continue to do the things it did to get it to its position of prominence, so the beginnings of decay set in, but, since people aren't really paying attention, they don't see it, or, even if they do see it, many aren't equipped to shift back into economic and political engagement mode in order to effect a change. So the empire slowly falls into decline as other nations and empires ascend.

spelling_b

@comcast.net

Re: More, more, more!!!

ISurfTooMuch, I always enjoy reading your posts. I didn't mean to be so excessively wordy in mine, but it's something I feel strongly about. I kinda ran out of steam at the end but like you summarized, it's all tied together. You basically nailed it here with your post. That was accurate and precise. Good job!
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: More, more, more!!!

Thanks! I enjoy writing, and it's nice to see that some folks like to read my insane ramblings.

One of these days, maybe I'll start a blog or something. I already have the domain registered.

spelling_b

@comcast.net

2 recommendations

About the new religion of Consumerism - well this started in the 80s with the Baby Boomers. There was a delusional belief of unlimited optimism and growth, which was actively pushed and maintained by the country's leadership. We should all have bigger houses, bigger cars, and bigger boats. Of course everybody also needs all new brand-name appliances, furniture, and clothing to fill these big houses. Just look at the figures of average single family house sizes from the 50s up to the last couple of decades. Keep in mind that family sizes aren't any bigger than they were back in the 50s. If anything they've shrunk.

This is an interesting story with an interesting date:

Behind the Ever-Expanding American Dream House
»www.npr.org/templates/story/stor···=5525283

"I believe that you can live out your fantasy," Frisby says. "That is what I'm doing. That is what my wife is doing. That is what other people are doing when they build or buy a house like this."

Note that this story was done back in 2006. He's right though: many, many people then were indeed living out a fantasy. How many of them are still within this fantasy?

Earlier generations (pre-Baby Boomer) were permanently changed by the Great Depression. That event altered their attitude toward spending money, because many of them did not have any money to spend. They also didn't have credit cards, or usury level payday loan/title loan stores on every corner. Those generations well understood the difference between needs and wants, and the value of saving what you can. Unfortunately this severe mentality and militant thrift ended with the Baby Boomers. Thriftiness used to be a high virtue and now it is almost considered a vice. Instead of militant thrift we have militant consumerism.

How to fix it? Well the only way is to reject consumerism entirely and return to an attitude of serious minded thrift. Recycling gets lots of lip service, but you hear less of the complete phrase: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Those first two words are critical. Recycling by itself does no good if we don't reduce consumption, and to do that we can reuse. Most everything possible can be bought used and second hand - the only real exception I can think of is food, and for most people stuff like underwear and socks! Just about everything else can be acquired in thrift stores and on craigslist and such.

I think one thing that underlies this is how many people quickly refer to themselves as consumers. As if our only purpose here is to buy, buy, buy. It's time to stop using the label "consumer". How about citizen, or human being? One thing that would help, as difficult as it is now, would be for people to turn off the television and unplug from Hollywood and pop culture. How many people would have little to talk about with each other if not for popular tv shows and movies? Those great earlier generations did not have all this escapism. They faced a harsh reality head on and they were wiser and stronger for it.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: More, more, more!!!

The article you linked to was quite interesting. My wife and I have a three-bedroom house that was built back in the 1950s. We have one child and another on the way. While they can each have a bedroom, that leaves none for guests. Do we need a bigger house? Nope. When guests come, someone can sleep on the couch. I did that growing up, and it was never a problem.
DrStrangLov

join:2012-03-28
kudos:1
said by spelling_b :

About the new religion of Consumerism - well this started in the 80s with the Baby Boomers.

Rain Check - Turner Broadcasting v. Federal Communications Commission, 512 U.S. 622 (1994), is the first of two United States Supreme Court cases dealing with the must carry rules imposed on cable television companies.

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_Bro···mmission
armed

join:2000-10-20
Reviews:
·Charter

1 recommendation

It ain't that simple

"Granted it's no skin off of cable operators' teeth since all of those costs are passed directly on to you, increasingly in the form of below the line fees on top of the usual rate increases (also blamed on programming cost increases)."

Well that's a little over simplified. If the cable companies felt that it was nothing but a pass though cost issue then why were they trying to fight it. These retrans battles have left the cable companies bruised and always on the losing side. They have learned that they either pay retrans fees or lose customers... a lose lose for them.

A better reality is that they are becoming more aware that there is a limit to how much people will pay for television. They see the cord cutters adding up as they are driven away by higher costs, a very slow recovering economy, and developing home entertainment alternatives. Together these problems are developing a synergy that is worrisome to the cable companies.

That also begins to explain why the cable companies are separating the cost of retrans in the billing. Yes it does keep the advertised price down but another reason is to educate their customers that the price of cable has more than one driving factor.

scott2020

join:2008-07-20
MO

Re: It ain't that simple

Because the cable company can still raise your rates, and keep the money instead of giving it to the broadcasters. Does a new $1.50 a month per subscriber retrans fee cover their costs? Or would $.50 per month do it, and the extra $1 is pure profit for doing nothing? No one knows, because they won't tell you the truth.
--
+++ATH0
armed

join:2000-10-20
Reviews:
·Charter

1 edit

Re: It ain't that simple

On the other hand how do you know that the supposed $1.50 isn't exactly the cost of new retrans fees? And who is actually lying... the cable co's or the broadcasters? What is the rate of return vs actual expenditures and is the profit margin today better than last year or ten years ago?

Costs go up. I pay more for almost everything.

As I said "It ain't that simple" and simple solutions to complex problems almost never apply when it comes time to implement.

Do you have any evidence that the cost breakout for retrans fees is less than what they say it is?

scott2020

join:2008-07-20
MO

Re: It ain't that simple

No one will truly know what their cost structure is when it comes to these fees. Does it cost them $1 per month more now than it did last year to rent out cable modems? Does it cost $1.50 per month more now to "administer" the "plan"? Does it cost $2 per month to comply with FCC regulations? Multiply that by X million users and see big buckets of money flowing in for doing very little. The "because we can, and you'll pay it" fees are almost everywhere on everything, and brings in lots of free money.
--
+++ATH0

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

Sports

There is already more than enough content out there that I will never have the opportunity to watch in my lifetime.

What I want is method to watch live sports.

A visit to my local baseball team is a 2 hour, one way trip in terrible traffic, yet I am unable to subscribe to MLB TV and watch this team play due to ridiculous blackout rules. The only option is to watch this game on a cable TV sports channel. To get this channel, I need to pay for 200 channels that I may never watch. An antenna would not help in this situation except for the rare weekend game that might get local TV coverage, that is, unless it would preempt some reality dancing or singing contest.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: Sports

That will change. Just this morning Rogers (Canada) signed a big deal for sports broadcasting for mobile, TV, radio with no blackouts.

The average family can't afford a day out to the game today. In my area people w/ seasons' tix (Hockey) shell out thousands and split them up. So this is simply supply and demand. If a team skimps on salaries or management either they get a subsidy payment or start loosing money.

A sports team making money and going from $100m to $1b in value shouldn't be a fact of life, it should be capitalism....

Welcome to the real world...
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

Tail wagging the dog.

It was not until 1992 that TV stations were allowed to charge retransmission fees.

See this wiki: »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retransmission_consent

Allowing Broadcasters to charge retransmission fees is hypocritical. The government obviously failed to recognize that CATV systems were originally constructed to allow residents of areas where no TV Signal is available to view Broadcast TV Programming. In the past rather then charging cable systems to carry their signal, broadcasters rejoiced whenever a new CATV System went on line because there were more eyeballs to watch their commercials. These issues could be solved by prohibiting charging retransmission fees in any area where a TV signal can be received with an antenna. Unfortunately companies providing TV services whether transport or content, seem to think that subscribers have unlimited financial resources.
megarock

join:2001-06-28
Catawissa, MO
Reviews:
·Charter

There is an issue...

Most customers are stupid. Sure, that's a mean thing to say but it's the truth. Here's why.

Say you're on Time Warner. The local CBS station decides to jack up it's retrans rates. Time Warner balks. CBS station yanks it's feeds from TW. Time Warner holds strong. Customers run from Time Warner to a competitor. Time Warner loses customers so they finally have to give in and jack rates.

Two months later everyone who ran off to that competitor then find out the competitor just got hit for higher fees from the same CBS station. Same things happen. So they run off to DirecTV.

Two months later everyone who ran off to DirecTV then find out the same CBS station has now come after DirecTV so they run off to Dish. Same result.

If the customers weren't so dumb they would stand strong with their provider and demand the provider make one offer - keep the rates the same or be dropped permanently. Or offer customers the chance to opt out of said channel and keep everything else.

In short - until people kick these broadcasters square in the teeth they are going to continue to demand more and more money every single year - costs the providers will have to pass off to you. There is only one villain and that is the people demanding retrans rights because - the more viewers the more ad revenue - the less viewers the less ad revenue. If you dump 20 million people on DirecTV their ad revenue will take a MASSIVE hit.

Remember who has control here. It's not the broadcaster...it's YOU.

Act like it.

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

Re: There is an issue...

The consumer, regardless of their intelligence level, has no real control in this market at all. What about the millions of people that stayed with their provider and were willing to do without CBS, Disney, Viacom, or whatever flavor of the month renegotiation was taking place?

The only option a consumer can take that will impact this broken business model is to drop their subscription TV completely once the provider signs a new contract at a much higher rate. What kind of consumer choice is that?

You go first, I'll be right behind you.

A similar business model is taking root online as well with such sites as ESPN 3 that forces a provider to pay them millions so that their subscribers can legitimately gain access to the service. They won't allow a consumer to pay $20 per month to access the site, there is no option available for this, and the broadcasters don't ever want you or me to have this level of control over the market.

Super Marcel

@responsys.com

Love my antennas

Great signal, no fee. And broadcasters are not going to pull their signal off the air as they would lose the use of the spectrum.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: Love my antennas

Actually I foresee a future where they do just that. Make their shows only available via PayTV subscription or PPV via the Internet. They then sell or trade the spectrum to the big 2-3 telecommunications companies who use it to make sure there will never be significant competition to their market.

Win Win for them. Lose lose for us.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Super Marcel

@responsys.com

Re: Love my antennas

True enough. Hopefully, by then, we'll have a la carte over the top channels.

anonome

@verizon.net

Redonculous!

Pay extra for something that most viewers can watch for free by "shelling out" (once) for a good antenna.

Actually, the "pay TV" operators should start charging the local broadcasters for the privilege of having their content "re-transmitted" to their subscribers, which increases the viewership for the stations--not the other way around. Very few people subscribe to "cable" in order to get local stations. (Sure, there are some--for good reasons; but the percentage is infinitesimally small.) And if they don't want to pay, then don't carry them. No skin off their noses.

Simon707

@184.151.127.x

Let it die

Just let TV die, good riddance.

linicx
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2002-12-03
United State
Reviews:
·TracFone Wireless
·CenturyLink

This is insane

I cut the cable cord years ago because of the insane price for a washed out picture. I like the big dish better than any system I ever had. It worked! I picked every channel I wanted including 7 channel and paid $25/mo.in 1992. Now I have what I like on Dish and pay $50 and have 5 times more channels. What I don't like about either system is the creeping piggyback infomercials.
--
Mac: No windows, No Gates, Apple inside