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FCC Vaguely Threatens Action in CBS, Time Warner Cable Fight
by Karl Bode 08:50AM Monday Aug 12 2013
The FCC hinted last week that the agency will take "appropriate action" if CBS and Time Warner Cable can't resolve their differences and stop blocking users from accessing online and TV content. Acting FCC boss Mignon Clyburn says she's "really distressed" and "disappointed" by the blackout and is in steady contact with both companies. Surely both Time Warner Cable and CBS are terrified of the FCC, given the agency just got done saying it probably didn't actually have the authority to do anything about the feud, and crafting new rules to protect consumers at this juncture would "take too long." The FCC promised to look at rules protecting consumers back in 2011, though meaningful results never materialized.

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n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Quaking In Their Boots

I am sure, as the article points out, that both parties are terrified (hah). This needs to be left to the market to decide. It is a good sign to see that cord cutters are becoming a real threat. Perhaps that will wake a few parties up (though RIAA still does not appear to have gotten the hint). Frankly I would like to see policies that encourage more ISP's for better competition.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
josephf

join:2009-04-26
Reviews:
·VoicePulse

FCC is Toothless

As a practical matter, the FCC is toothless and cannot do anything. And that fact cannot be changed under the current system. The law is that carriers must pay broadcasters to carry their signal. How much they pay must be negotiated. There's no way any government bureaucrat can dictate to Time Warner (or any cable provider) how many dollars it must pay to CBS. Nor can the FCC order CBS to allow Time Warner to carry the signal unless the two private parties have an agreed fee.

At the end of the day, there's nothing that can be done under the current system other than rabble rousing and "pressuring" with vague, ultimately unenforceable, threats.
dra6o0n

join:2011-08-15
Mississauga, ON

Re: FCC is Toothless

More like the corporates are holding a gun to FCC's head.
And their family's heads.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Quaking In Their Boots

There is no "market" to decide.

You have the content owner and you have a content provider. This is a 1 to 1 relationship and the provider gets hurt more than the owner in 99% of these cases. It would be one thing if ALL providers had to negotiate at this time with the owners because then they can show some teeth or actually hurt the owners. However, owners are sure to make it so they are in a 1 to 1 battle as much as possible to avoid that situation by the end dates they have in contracts. So the only thing that determines resolution in these things is how long the provider can afford to hold out.

I personally feel that one thing they can do to level the playing field a little is to make ALL agreements for the content end at the same time. Let the owners negotiate with the providers all at the same time so the market can decide.
en103

join:2011-05-02

Re: Quaking In Their Boots

people can leave twc for another carrier or get Cbs ota.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

Re: Quaking In Their Boots

Not all TWC customers will be able to use satellite pay TV providers, due to the inability to see the satellites from their location. Due to the inherent fragility of ATSC signals many TWC customers will not be able to use OTA.

Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE
said by Skippy25:

I personally feel that one thing they can do to level the playing field a little is to make ALL agreements for the content end at the same time. Let the owners negotiate with the providers all at the same time so the market can decide.

That is a very intelligent comment.

When they changed the law beginning in September 1993, then they must have figured that at some point in time a standoff would happen.

The bottom line is that the top 20 TV shows had an average rating of over 16 in '91-'92, and the networks had too much advertising revenue at stake to risk something like this. Instead of direct fees, they negotiated favorable terms for their cable channels (like you can retransmit ABC if you agree to carry ESPN2).

Now the average rating of the top 20 OTA shows is 4.4, and networks feel that their business is at stake unless they can radically increase re-transmission fees.

There is competition out there with DirectTV and DishTV, not to mention antennas. AereoTV is going to get a big boost. Nobody is going to die.

=======
Funny thing is CBS and Time Warner are 50/50 partners in CW network.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

Maybe, rather than racing to fix the current...

.... "Crisis" (a very loose description of what's happening) The FCC should take the time in non emergency mode to teach some basic "How to negotiate like a adult" classes (no screaming, crying, finger pointing tantrums or draft "rules" so everyone knows in advance what will earn them a time out?

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Maybe, rather than racing to fix the current...

said by tshirt:

.... "Crisis" (a very loose description of what's happening) The FCC should take the time in non emergency mode to teach some basic "How to negotiate like a adult" classes (no screaming, crying, finger pointing tantrums or draft "rules" so everyone knows in advance what will earn them a time out?

A waste of time to think the FCC could teach anyone about negotiating. A bunch of bureaucrats trying to teach hard nosed execs at 2 huge conglomerates how to negotiate?
--
"If you want to anger a conservative lie to him.
If you want to anger a liberal tell him the truth."

AnonMan

@comcast.net

Refunds?

So do those in the impacted areas get a refund from TW/BHN for the lost content? Part of paying for cable includes a list of channels you will get and well at the moment CBS isn't included. You should all get pro-rated refunds for the missing channels, even if only a few bucks... This is a great time for TWC. While in a blackout they are still getting the fees that use to cover the licenses.

That said I think CBS sucks and hope other networks drop them or hold them from raising fees further. A business doesn't need to make record profits every year. So long as you make healthy profits why be greedy? Worried about shareholders? Don't, if they don't like the money they are making they can leave anytime. I really don't feel bad that exec and shareholders can't make millions instead of hundreds of thousands...

It's time people stood up for what's right. In the old days commercials covered the cost and profits of everything. Now days we pay for these damn channels and still get forced to watch commercials that, STILL cover the cost and make them money. No better vs. our gov. taxing our income and taxing what we spend AGAIN...

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

Re: Refunds?

My understanding from several threads on the site is that effected customers are in fact getting discounts for the missing channels, as well as replacement premium channels for free.
--
Intel i7-2600k /ASRock P67 Extreme4 /4x 4Gb G.Skill /2x Intel 510 series 250Gb SSD /3x WD20EADS 2TB /2x PNY GTX 260 /Silverstone 850W /Custom water cooler /Antec Twelve-Hundred
jasondean

join:2009-08-28
Brooklyn, NY

Must Carry Rule must end

Enough of the ancient laws that forced cable operators to carry local channels. Once cable operators have a little more power in these negotiations, things will change. I'm sure there are a number of cable customers who would opt to stick an antenna on their TVs to save $20/mo. Maybe the cable companies will start adding OTA tuners to their boxes and allow customers to use their guide and hardware for an "integrated experience". I know my Windows Media Center HTPC can access specific tuners for programming on a channel by channel basis.

Cord cutter numbers will grow and cost the broadcasters millions of dollars.

Can't spell CBS without the BS!!!
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

Re: Must Carry Rule must end

The must carry rules are not the problem. You can't invoke the must carry rules and still demand retransmission fees.
jasondean

join:2009-08-28
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Must Carry Rule must end

Why not? Isn't that the current situation? Cable must carry local stations. They must also pay a fee. Cable companies are required to put these channels on the basic tier AND charge their customer for these local broadcast stations.

Remove the must carry rule, remove requirement that they are on the basic tier and allow customers to opt in for these channels. I don't want Showtime so I don't pay for it. If I don't want Univision, why can't I opt out and save a nickel?
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

Re: Must Carry Rule must end

No, that is not the situation. If a local affiliate OTA broadcast station decides to be must carry, there should be no extra fee paid to ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox. The prime time programming is included in the must carry.

It is retransmission consent fees that need to be eliminated. All OTA should be must carry in the local DMA.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by jasondean:

I'm sure there are a number of cable customers who would opt to stick an antenna on their TVs to save $20/mo.

A) not everyone can use an antenna. Not everyone gets in good OTA reception.

B) I'm not sure where get this quaint notion that cable companies pay the networks $20 a month. The amount of money your cable company pays the broadcasters is $5 a month or less.
jasondean

join:2009-08-28
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Must Carry Rule must end

A. Agreed. Those that can should have options. Those that can't should STILL have the option not to subscribe to OTA tier.

Have you tried to use an antenna? Did you use antennaweb.org to determine what stations are at least in range?

I'm sure that many viewers can stick an antenna on their TV and pick up a fairly decent signal. It's not like 1960s where you had a BW set with rabbit ears being held up by your children and were forced to watch a snowy picture with ghosting.

I built a home made antenna with hangers, wood, screws and a 75/300 transformer and I can pick up almost every Philadelphia station from 45 miles away. The only station I have difficulty with is 6abc since their digital station is 6. VHF is difficult but since most are UHF, you shouldn't have too much difficulty.

TWC is actually giving away DTV antennas in Milwaukee because of their local dispute. I'd like to see them expand that program.

B. It wasn't fair to throw out $20 as the price cable pays to broadcasters... yet. Whatever the cost, it's going up. It's a free service.. why should cable pay at all? The broadcasters aren't paying for the hardware necessary to deliver the cable experience and making it easier for viewers. Broadcasters don't pay for the boxes, the service calls, the installations, etc. But I guarantee if a broadcaster has an issue (sports blackout, transmission issue, programming issue), the first call is made to the cable provider for service.

Essentially, the broadcasters are getting greedy. If they don't want to air free programming, turn in the license and give it back to the public. Before cable, broadcasters were supported by advertising. They still are and make a ton of money from it. They just want MORE.

That's why broadcasters are afraid of Aereo. They know they're right. They found a service and people are subscribing.

Then again... maybe everyone should just turn off their TVs and open a book...

Sarick
It's Only Logical
Premium
join:2003-06-03
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
"Can't spell CBS without the BS!!!"

Frontier made an advertisement that said buffaloes don't BS.

They might not say BULL but bufflo also starts with the letter be.

DISH has a reciever that does DVR for OTA but their GUIDE Dosn't list the channel info. Anything, I mean anything knocks out the OTA digital TV. Even turning on a light or the fridge powering up causes signal lose. I doubt these boxes with OTA tuners would be free either.

Just like Dish they'd leverage the HARDWARE as a service. You know like they sell the DVR capabilities as a service when its the hardware doing allmost all the work locally.

Can't spell PBS without the BS!!!

Does PBS charge redistribution fees? If not then it shows how GREEDY CBS really is.
--
Sarick's Dungeon Clipart
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

Re: Must Carry Rule must end

FCC regulations conforming to some law prevented PBS from having retransmission fees. It also mandated maximum must carry efforts for cable companies in PBS DMAs.

Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE
said by jasondean:

Enough of the ancient laws that forced cable operators to carry local channels.

I'm sure there are a number of cable customers who would opt to stick an antenna on their TVs to save $20/mo.

You are a bit late. The "must carry" rule ended starting in the 1993-1994 TV season. A station can still opt to invoke "must carry" but they automatically forego their right to negotiate a retransmission fee. Most local independent stations request "must carry" because they have no negotiating power.

The first TV station to get a retransmission fee was in 1993, when a small cable company in Idaho was forced to pay less than $250/month to carry a signal.

The networks for many years would negotiate favorable terms for their corporate owned cable channels. If you look in Wikipedia, you see that ESPN2 began broadcasting on October 1, 1993. At the time ABC negotiated with cable companies that they would carry ESPN2 to get consent to retransmit ABC. It wasn't a terribly difficult negotiation.

But in the 91-92 season the top 20 broadcast shows averaged a rating of over 16. Last season the average rating of the top 20 broadcast shows was 4.4 . The networks are negotiating because the advertising revenue is no longer very large.

CBS is most probably trying to up their fee from $1 to $2. Presumably the other networks charge less, as their ratings are lower. Nobody knows for sure since the information is not public. But saving $20 is way off base.

MTBikerChris
Premium
join:2001-08-28
Broomfield, CO

1 edit

HA People are missing Big Brother !!

I wounder how many people are missing there Big Brother ? I bet the ratings are down !! I have CBS and are no longer watching this crap anyway , But i bet there are people are having there withdrawals and cant live with out it !
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL

Re: HA People are missing Big Brother !!

What about dextor? What still does not seem right is why showtime off it's a pay add on channel.

But when FOX RSN feeds where pulled from some systems you still got out of market feeds on NBA LP, NHL CI, MLB EI.

Just think if you had NFL ST and you where locked out of all of the CBS games.

Squire James

@embarqhsd.net

Toothless Government Organizations

Perhaps the FCC and other "toothless" government organizations should be removed and their duties reassigned to an existing agency that is not toothless. The consumer advocates theoretically get a federal agency with the power to "protect the consumer", while the small-government people theoretically get a smaller government.

With out luck, though, they'll assign it to someone like the IRS and neither side will be satisfied...
jasondean

join:2009-08-28
Brooklyn, NY

End exclusive markets

Here's another suggestion. Why can't TWC (New York) sign a retransmission agreement with another CBS affiliate, say WRGB/Albany or WFSB/Hartford to replace the local station?

Maybe the FCC and Congress need to rewrite the rules to allow true competition in broadcasters.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

Re: End exclusive markets

Out of market is almost impossible under existing law and regulations.
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23
Mineral Wells, TX

lol

wow... the FCC has proven that its no threat to the company's... they act like a referee but all they will do is try to slap Time Warner or CBS.. whats a couple mill.. its nothing to these companies..

both companies are fighting for there own bottom line, and frankly I wouldn't blame them, Time Warner doesn't want the bills to go up for obvious reasons, CBS does because of share holders.., Can't wait to see what comes out of this.. the network's need to realize that people are not gonna keep paying more and more and will find other ways to get content.. be it over the air, internet or whatever..

Pacomartin

join:2013-03-18
Bethlehem, PA
Reviews:
·RCN CABLE

It's a lot less than $20

CBS is trying to raise it's fee from $1 to $2.

The cable companies (as of Sep 1993) are no longer required to carry local over the air stations unless they specifically request it. If they do request "must carry" they cannot ask for a retransmission fee. As a practical matter only local independent stations request "must carry" while all commercial channel opt for negotiation.

Traditionally, networks have not had the nerve to request money. They usually requested favorable treatment for their cable channels. For instance ESPN2 began broadcasting on October 1993. That was because ABC could request that cable companies accept ESPN2 (for a fee) in exchange for their waiver of any fee request to rebroadcast ABC.

But in 1991-92 season the top 20 OTS shows had an average rating over 16. Last year the top 20 had an average rating of 4.4 .

telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15

What the FCC Can Do About CBS and TWC

An article that discusses what (little) the FCC can do:

What the FCC Can Do About CBS and TWC — Nudging The Parties Forward
By Harold Feld, Wetmachine.com - August 13, 2013
»tales-of-the-sausage-factory.wet···forward/
iknow_t

join:2012-05-03

Maybe this would work

maybe if the FCC increased the broadcast license fees to cover the retransmission fees, and gave that extra to the cable and satellite companies, the broadcasters would think twice!. I think the FCC can do that.