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View Diary: FCC Chair promises to kill Fairness Doctrine. WTF??? (202 comments)

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  •  A la carte pricing, though, (4+ / 0-)

    probably sounds the death knell for niche broadcasting, which is now subsidized through the "one price fits all" model. Only the most popular channels would survive, and all channels' program directors would feel the need to pander to the broadest base possible to keep their subscription numbers high enough to stay in biz, unless they are externally funded regardless of ratings/viewers. (Which as we all pretty much know means wealthy conservatives get to own this sandbox, too.) Is that a good thing?

    •  It would be worth it if it lead to the end of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wrights, kalmoth

      all those damnable "shopping channels".

    •  That's what the industry wants you to believe... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, trumpeter, kalmoth

      Since a la carte as I proposed would only apply to channels that charge a monthly wholesale fee over some set amount, channels would have two potential routes for survival:

      1.  Go the broad based route and profit from advertising revenue, with minimal (if any) revenue from subscriber fees.  This is the route that channels like USA, TNT, etc would probably want to take.

      2.  Super serve a niche and try to prosper based on building a loyal audience that is willing to pay for your channel.  Who knows...under this scenario, maybe the former SiFi channel would still be showing science fiction on Friday nights instead of wrestling?

      So who would take the hit under a la carte?  I believe it would primarily be two groups:

      1.  Sports leagues, since they would no longer be able to get exoribitant rights fees from cable networks like ESPN that just pass it along to the subscribers as rate increases.

      2.  The big Hollywood studios, who would no longer find USA, TNT, and TBS willing to make huge payments for reruns of off-network TV series and old movies.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 10:50:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see it. A television channel/network (0+ / 0-)

        requires too much money upfront and too much overhead to survive in this manner.
        1) You want more ads from your TV?
        2) Costs to the viewer would skyrocket, not lessen, for niche programming in this instance--isn't that the opposite of what you were arguing for? Let's say for argument's sake that I pay $100 for 100 channels (the number is actually quite a bit better in my favor.) That's $1/month per channel. You think any network could subsist on that without non-devotees subsidizing them?

        •  I have no problem there. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Betty Pinson

          99.9% of what is on TV now is regurgitated drivel anyway.  If the clone-of-a-clone-of-a-clone-of-a-etc. shows went away, I would not weep.  And that applies to all sitcoms and 'reality' TV.

          Use the bandwidth for something better.

          I am still learning, but the teachers often suck.

          by trumpeter on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 01:17:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Why do you care about cost... (0+ / 0-)

          ...per channel?

          More relevant would be what you're paying for the channels that you watch -- and the average viewer who subscribes to cable or satellite actually watches fewer than 20 of the available channels.  Of those channels, several are typically broadcast stations that could be received for free with an antenna.

          So if you're paying $60/month for a 100 channel package, the relevant cost per channel isn't 60 cents, but more like $4 to $6 per channel that you'd actually watch.

          So, taking a wholesale rate that is just $1/month -- if that channel can get 10% market penetration, that works out to $10 million/month or $120 million/year.

          So, yes, I think that many, many networks could subsist very well on that amount of money.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 07:57:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There is also the problem of how does (0+ / 0-)

      a viewer learn what a new channel has to offer?

      How do viewers learn of a new channel such as Current TV?

      This also increases marketing and customer support costs.  The cable company would need to spend on informing what different channels have to offer, as well as handle phone based customer support calls as people make changes or reply to questions from those who use the web to make their selections.  The net result would likely be the average bill is higher.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 11:34:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the C-Band satellite days... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the way that new networks made viewers aware of their existence was that they made new channels available for free for some period of time.   I remember when the SciFi Channel first appeared, it was unscrambled and available to anyone with a satellite dish.  After a while, they started scrambling in "open key" mode -- which meant that anyone who subscribed to as much as a single other channel continued to receive SciFi for free.  About a year after the channel launched, they did finally start charging a subscription fee to receive it.

        That was typical of the way that new start up channels handled C-Band satellite, which is the only television market where a la carte was common place.  Seems like it worked pretty well.

        As for your claim of high administrative costs -- it wasn't true in C-Band satellite, so there is no reason to believe it would be true in larger market places.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 08:06:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  As always, it depends (0+ / 0-)

      on how it is set up and run.

      If ESPN charges X, that doesn't mean USA or DIY has to charge the same amount.  If their cost is less, their price to the providers would likely be less, as well.

      So I could say "I don't want the stations that cost above "Y" in price" - If I could remove ESPN and all of its affiliates, and not have to pay for them I would do just that.  Same for shopping channels (which would probably have even lower Pour Cost) and MTV and the like.

      And the networks would probably suffer the most.  I know I never watch them at all, would not notice if they disappeared.

      But, on a more meta-level, if there is a doctrine, it would have to be enforced regardless of delivery system - broadcast, cable, satellite - no different - if it goes to your TV, it is regulated at some level.

      Ideally, of course.

      I am still learning, but the teachers often suck.

      by trumpeter on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 01:14:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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