Comcast Exec: We Need To Change Customer Behavior, Not Our Business Model

from the good-luck,-buddy dept

Brooks writes "Speaking at a cable broadcaster's summit, Steve Burke, Comcast's COO, said: "An entire generation is growing up, if we don't figure out how to change that behavior so it respects copyright and subscription revenue on the part of distributors, we're going to wake up and see cord cutting." How's that for cart before the horse?

His ultimate goal -- to maintain or increase revenue for Comcast -- makes perfect sense, and is positively what a cable COO should be focused on. From there on out, though, he's off in the weeds. How about offering this new generation new and innovative services that are worth paying for? That's challenging, of course... but how challenging will it be to change the next generation's behavior "to respect subscription revenue." Yikes.

How many consumers, in any market, are focused on "respecting" vendors' revenue streams? How, exactly, does he propose to effect this sea change? And why not just develop products that consumers will willingly pay for, rather than trying to change consumer behavior in such a fundamental way?"


The quotes really are quite stunning. Burke basically seems to be saying the focus needs to be on figuring out ways to get consumers to change, rather than changing to match what customers want. A business model based on going against what consumers want doesn't seem likely to last that long.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:26am

    it seem to be working for the AAs

    well maybe if you believe what they say

     

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      Doug, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

      Re: it seems to be working for the AA's

      People go to AA because they want to change. That is a lot different than consumers who don't want to change.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:30am

    While I am sure his comments will get the standard Techdirt drubbing, the reality is that he is correct. It doesn't sound nice to say it, but at this point, the consumers are wrong, and here is why:

    The main focus of your post Mike is the concept of "changing to match what customers want". The reality is that if consumers did not want the programming, that would be a good answer. But it is clear through the actions of many that the programming is valuable and desirable, and people are willing to go a long way to get it, no matter the legality. So you have pirate downloads, trafficked cable boxes, sat signal piracy, people paying for VPNs to be able to do P2P, etc. All of this for what? To get the product that the cable company is selling.

    So "what customers want" is what they are selling. That is established, it's a clear fact.

    So, now "changing to match what customers want", I would have to guess that you are suggesting that the cable companies should drop their subscription model. Perhaps they could run on donations, or perhaps upsell people to dinner with a technician, perhaps selling limited edition "I met the cable company president" t-shirts, or perhaps autographed limited edition flat screen TVs that they could sell for double the price of normal.

    Seriously, the only "change" they seem to need to make to meet what the customer wants is to give their product away for free, on demand, on any device, at any time, from anywhere, and at no cost. Sounds like a great plan, and as soon as you explain how they are going to pay for it...

    When what the consumer wants is "something for nothing", it's pretty much a non-starter discussion.

     

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      Another Ac, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:47am

      Re:

      No, how about just making things extremely simple at a fair price that people are willing to pay.

      This guy sounds like he just got off the phone with the record labels.

      Make it so that content is easier to get legally at a fair price and people will pay. Look at netflix for example, it could not be easier to get and return the movies and the price is reasonable.

      The goal of business is to give the customer what they want, not force them to do what the business wants.

      Nice try though.

       

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        John Doe, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:18am

        Re: Re:

        Another AC is exactly right. Most people want to be "honest" and would pay a fair price. The problem is, the price isn't fair. The market sets the price, so if the labels and Hollywood doesn't like it, they need to find a new line of business. Or better yet, they need to drop the price to a point where people are willing to pay. Instead, they are trying to get the government to point their guns at you and force you to pay whatever price they want to charge.

        Disclaimer - I don't pirate anything, not music, movies, software, etc. But I don't buy that stuff either. Well, I buy some software and rent movies. I would buy lots of it if the price was reasonable. But I am not going to spend $100's of $$ on movies and songs and still only have a handful of each. Hardly worth spending that much for a small quantity.

         

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        Jim Philips, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

        Re:

        When it come s to "changing to match what customers want" how about a la carte subscriptions? I don't want to have to subscribe to some crap channel you chose for me in order to get Discovery. There is nothing unethical or illegal about this desire. Yet the cable companies resist it year after year. Why?

         

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        Nicholas Cardone (profile), Nov 8th, 2009 @ 10:12pm

        Re:

        Companies need to embrace that the customer is always right!

         

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        andrew c b, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re:

        yeah but have you seen society today?

        have you seen what the new generation has become?

        It isnt just simple services anymore, it can't be, it won't be. This country is full of newer, younger, more demanding, spoiled brats. Sorry to say but it's the truth. It's nearly impossible to keep up with the demands of modern society.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:53am

      Re:

      Wow, have you ever been here before?

      You are correct in noting that customers want content. However, as the article notes, younger consumers have less interest in subscription models. They have grown up in a world where data communication is free.

      Their grandparents grew up in a world where all TV was free. Advertisers paid for everything.

      Technology spring up, and suddenly there was a market for paid for TV content with no commercials. Then there were lots of commercials. The side effect was broadcast TV was losing lots of viewers. Where TV series would previously get canceled with 10s of millions of viewers, now very few shows ever get that sort of market share.

      Now more technology has sprung up. Better and cheaper distribution. More consumer choice. And cable company's day in the sun is over. They had a monopoly on TV distribution for a long time. Now they will have to struggle to survive.

      If the cable companies are unable to find a reason for someone to pay for their distribution services, then our society does not need those companies. This site often talks about horse and buggy whip manufacturers. No one worried about regulating cars to insure that industry stayed viable at a large scale.

      And that's where we are at. It's not that cable companies need to drop their model. I don't actually care what they do. What I do care about is laws that limit my freedoms so that the government can insure that a profitable company stays profitable.

      If the cable companies offer value for their services, they'll survive. If they don't, they'll be replaced.

      But what you are suggesting is stopping progress to protect some of the most consumer-hated companies in the history of this country. Things have already changed, the cable companies are dragging their feet.

      The best part is that if the cable companies had faced any competition in the last 20 years (rather than depending on local monopolies), this wouldn't even be a problem. They would be used to adjusting, innovating and competing.

       

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        Richard Remington, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:37pm

        Re: Re:

        Look to Utah and its Utopia project. Comcast is fighting it tooth and nail, spreading all kinds of FUD. And why are they doing this? It is because Utah will eventually have fiber optic cable run to every home in the entire state providing not megabit but gigabit speeds! The model is like an airport where the local municipality runs the airport itself while private corporations provide the actual flight service. Same thing. The cities provide the fiber connect to your house while private companies provide TV, Internet and Phone service. Every state should do this.

         

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      imfaral (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:54am

      Re:

      "programming is valuable and desirable, and people are willing to go a long way to get it, no matter the legality"
      I think that if the cable companies gave people what they wanted they would go the legal route. Almost everybody I know would prefer to do things the legal way. However because people are being limited by the companies they cannnot do it the legal way. Hulu is a prime example just look at how many people are going to Hulu Instead of downloading content. Look at how much outrage there was when Hulu announced it was going to start charging. Everyone said they were going Back to downloading.

      "So "what customers want" is what they are selling." except they are selling it at a price people want.

      "suggesting that the cable companies should drop their subscription model"
      I don't think Mike is suggesting that, I think he is suggesting that they find business models that work. I don't have a problem with paying x dollars a month for cable. I have a problem for paying for 12Mbps and getting 6Mbps because of traffic shaping. (Oh just as a side note the US pays more for less broadband then the rest of the world, and the profits of these companies have been rising while the costs of running the networks are dropping and speeds are staying the same)
      "When what the consumer wants is "something for nothing", it's pretty much a non-starter discussion."
      I don't think this is true at all. People will pay for what they like. For example I am more then happy to pay for Football tickets, despite them being very expensive. If you give people what they want a price they like they will buy it.

      In summary wake up and smell the roses times are changing and you can adapt or die.

       

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        Matthew, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:18am

        Re: Re:

        I'll elaborate on a point made here. I endorse the subscription model. I currently subscribe to cable from Comcast (although for me it's because it's a modest charge on top of internet and phone service from them.) What would make me happier about my subscription service? If it had fewer ads than free service. Wasn't that the point of subscription fees in the first place? Of course, I see additional problems with this model. Right now, most content is produced with ads in mind. A show for a 30-minute time slot actually has just 20-24 minutes of content. I kind of like what Cartoon network does/did with its unpurchased ad slots. They play an animated music video.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:30am

        Re: Re:

        Look at how much outrage there was when Hulu announced it was going to start charging. Everyone said they were going Back to downloading.

        Thank you for making my point. The content is what people want, but they have learned and been trained not to pay for it in any manner. That is an unsupportable business model. You can play all the games you like with the idea, but if the only price point some consumers are willing to pay is zero, perhaps they are not long a "market" worth addressing. There is no "lotssssss of t-shirts" model for cable.

        I have a problem for paying for 12Mbps and getting 6Mbps because of traffic shaping.

        Would you prefer that they sold you 1Mbps at the same price, and gave it to you full? Nope. Marketing says that you want MORE bandwidth, even if it isn't possible at the price they are selling it at. So you end up with the issue that marketing and reality don't match. They could cut your bandwidth in half, but then you wouldn't want to pay, because it wouldn't be 12Mbps. It's a marketing chicken and egg problem.

        In the end, I suggest the following: Get rid of your cable, get rid of your internet connection, live without them for a few weeks. Then reflect as to how much they are truly worth to you, and buy only as much as that number comes up to. Report back (once you start paying for the internet again).

         

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          Another AC, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, because misleading customers in your marketing because you cannot actually provide what you are marketing is OK?, yes it is quite the conundrum.

          If Hulu decided to charge, increased the quality, removed all of the commercials and content did not expire because the studios want to sell the DVDs, people would pay. People will DO NOT want to pay for ads of any kind, and it is quite aggravating when content becomes unavailable.

          If the entertainment companies provide what people want the way the customer want it, the customer will pay.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Dear Dipshit, yes, I'm calling you a name, becuase you've earned it. Have you ever heard the phrase the price will be what the market will bear? Translation is you will sell your product for the price that people are willing to pay for it. If people are willing to pay you 40 gazillion dollars, great, wonderful, you're successful, but if they aren't willing to pay you anything, guess how much you're going to sell. The point that has been made time and again is that consumers are no longer willing to pay the premium price that the content producers want. If you don't like that, get out of the content making business. As for internet connections, I pay as much as I can for the highest speed I can, which for the rural area I live in is depressingly slow because the phone company can't be bothered to expend the infrastructure to support people who would be willing to pay significantly more for significantly higher speeds. That said, I better get what I pay for, or I won't buy anything from that company. There are alternatives, they may not completely fill my needs, but if they do a better job than what is provided by the phone company, guess what.
          In the end it all comes down to this: The customer is the most important part of any business, because without the customer, there is no business.

           

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            Robin, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Something, I Forget

            "The point that has been made time and again is that consumers are no longer willing to pay the premium price that the content producers want."

            What you refuse to admit sir is the following modification to your assertion:

            "The point that has been made time and again is that consumers are no longer willing to pay the premium price coupled with the limited distribution and lack of personal flexibility that the content producers want."

            Despite being told repeatedly by the good folks of this community how much and how willing they are to pay for stuff that meets their needs on their terms, you refuse to accept that Big Content is scared shitless of distribution they don't control from beginning to end.

            Like a many-to-many communications network of computers. We call it the internet.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Something, I Forget

              You don't get it?

              Comcast isn't a "personal flexability" company, they are the cable company. Their business isn't selling personal flexibility, it's in selling access to network TV, speciality channels, PPV movies, etc. This product is a simple deal, nothing more. It is in theory a take it or leave it business offering: Cable, no cable. The product they offer, or not. It isn't a difficult thing.

              If you want something else, buy something else.

              But there is the rub. The reality is that too many people want both - they want the cable, they want the flexibility, and oh yeah, THEY DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT.

              Your many-to-many computer network basically is the way more people go to now to get content for free. But it is a short sighted way to do it, because in the end, free means nobody paid for it. You know the song, sing along: If nobody pays, nobody will make it. Pretty much everyone is living in a fantasy land right now where enough people are paying for it to keep going, but the margins have gotten thin, TV shows are losing cast members to keep costs down, NBC ditched 10PM programing to replace it with a much cheaper talk show, etc. It's a downward spiral, and many people won't realize where they are until they get close enough to the bottom (and some say we are almost there).

              In the end, you can trade content all you like - and when there is nothing new to watch (aside from 10,000 horrible home made "man hit in nuts with ball" videos), just remember what it was that you turned down.

               

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                Another AC, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 10:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Something, I Forget

                Boo Hoo, poor content companies.

                Boo Hoo, poor comcast that has been pocketing R&D money instead of innovating.

                We should have twice the speed at half the price by now. Look at other countries speeds vs costs.

                It is the greed of big business in this country that are destroying us, plain and simple - GREED.

                Stop Producing, go out of business, good riddance.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 10:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Something, I Forget

                "If nobody pays, nobody will make it."

                The amateurs will make it. Looks like all those professionals are out of a job. Oh well. No big loss.

                People will happily watch dumb videos on youtube if there's nothing else on.

                And nothing of value was lost.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 10:59am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Something, I Forget

                  Pornography. It's copyrighted. People infringe on it everyday. Why aren't the major pornographic creators of content pushing for higher prices or trying to kick people off of the internet.

                  Oh that's right. Because part of their business was decimated with the rise of amatuer pornography.

                  Compete or die.

                   

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                Clinton Popovich, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Something, I Forget

                UMM its not that we "Don't want to pay". It is that we are being RIPPED OFF!!!! I had comcast for years we payed $150 a month for ONLY SD with ONE set-top box programming with less than 150 channels. I have now switched to verizon, I pay the same amount of money have 4 HD set-top boxes with over 150 channels (with HD) on demand and a 1394 port that functions!!!!

                Not to even get into how much better quality the picture is vs comcast.

                It is high time comcast woke up and smelled some competition, Either that of our Gov needs to set in and do some regulation on their asses!

                 

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                batch, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Something, I Forget

                Maybe if we had this thing called "competition" and "choice" not just a bunch of price-fixing monopolies in every market, people would Want to pay for content because the price would actually be Competitive and the selection would be varied. But Noooo, we should put up with shoddy service, tons of ads, no choice, and bills that get jacked up even more every fall like clockwork. Get bent, anonymous asshat.

                 

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          imfaral (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The content is what people want, but they have learned and been trained not to pay for it in any manner"
          Last time I checked there were adds on Hulu... so how is that something for nothing? If you are saying that people have been trained to expect TV for nothing then that would be the TV companies own fault. They started putting adds in TV shows, not the consumers.
          "Would you prefer that they sold you 1Mbp..."
          No I would prefer to pay for 12 and get 12... If their network can't handle 12, cool, just promise what you can deliver. I prefer honest people that tell me what I can really expect. Under promise, over deliver and everyone will be much happier.

          As to your last comment I enjoy paying for internet and TV. I don't like someone who keeps jacking up rates then providing less service and then expects me to be happy about it.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Technically if marketing and reality don't match, then its false advertising, which is illegal

           

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          chris (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Would you prefer that they sold you 1Mbps at the same price, and gave it to you full?

          if they were transparent about what they were selling, sure. we all know the over subscription model is how internet access works, so why not just level with us?

          Marketing says that you want MORE bandwidth, even if it isn't possible at the price they are selling it at.

          sure it's possible and at a significantly lower price. all you have to do is introduce some competition into the internet access market.

          So you end up with the issue that marketing and reality don't match. They could cut your bandwidth in half, but then you wouldn't want to pay, because it wouldn't be 12Mbps. It's a marketing chicken and egg problem.

          the chicken and egg problem is one of competition:

          there is no competition, so prices are high and quality is low. there is no way to build out competing infrastructure without municipal/government subsidy, which the incumbents actively resist in order to protect their high prices and low quality.

          how do i know that bandwidth lowers in price with competition? price out hosting or co-location services. in a colo you pay not for bandwidth (which starts at 10mbit up and down and goes up from there), but for total transfer, where every bit is accounted for. the per gigabyte price for data center transfer is *SIGNIFICANTLY* less than the residential rate.

          this article raises some interesting points about bandwidth and competition (emphasis mine):

          I’ve paid for bandwidth and worked at ISPs in many countries and one constant I’ve found is that increased competition directly translates into cheap bandwidth. In too many countries there is still not enough competition among ISPs. In the United States the number of ISPs a consumer may select further dwindled in the past decade.

          All over the world you can see the same pattern. Countries with lots of competition among ISPs enjoy the cheapest and best internet service. The countries that are the worst off are the countries where 1 company controls all internet access. That was the case when I lived in India in 1998. Since then India opened itself up to competition and internet usage skyrocketed while bandwidth costs plummeted. Now India is basically on par with the USA for bandwidth costs. Much of Africa is still suffering under government controlled ISPs. The relatively modern country of South Africa has overpriced bandwidth for exactly this reason.

           

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          bj9030, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Thats a stupid comment..
          Sell you 12Mbps, deliver 6Mbps.......is acceptable
          How about we do surgury on you for a heart transplant, and only do half the proceedure, (Remove the old, dont install the new)
          Or you could get a vasectomy for that heart problem (1Mbps service) But it would be a FULL vasectomy at the full price.
          What an idiotic statement

           

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          Marc, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          >In the end, I suggest the following: Get rid of your cable,
          >get rid of your internet connection, live without them for
          >a few weeks.

          Did that... 6 years ago... AND I've not missed any of the CopyRight Cartel's Crapware! No Thanks RIAA & MPAA! I've purged my residence of RIAA/MPAA products so when the RIAA/MPAA mafia kicks in my front door, they'll have a tough time finding anything to take to court. Believe it!

          Now I have a HUGE question for the CopyRight Cartels.

          Since there exist unlicensed copies of films and sound recordings in my memory, and I intend to revoke my consent to the copyright contracts implied by the products that reside in my memory, I therefore want compensation because I cannot seem to FORGET THE CONTENT STORED IN MY MEMORY!

          How do I revoke the implied copyright on my memories of films and sound recordings? Can adequate compensation be determined that will offset the property taken by the CopyRight Cartels use of my memory by these creative works that I no longer wish to be a party to?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          > The content is what people want, but they have
          > learned and been trained not to pay for it in any manner.

          That's equally silly. So obviously so that your claiming it makes me shake my head.

          The iTunes store has sold 6 billion songs in six years. Any of the songs available there can be downloaded for free with little effort. So if people weren't willing to pay for content, they wouldn't use it. But they do.

          Although Apple hasn't posted numbers, rumor has it that HD rentals of both TV and movies on iTunes has shot through the roof in the last year. I've personally used it many times, renting more material that I ever did in the past simply because it's so easy. I could get the same things on the torrents I'll wager, but I can't be bothered. Time is money, and $4.99 is not a whole lot of time.

          You can complain about people being cheap, or you can deal with it. The cable companies are choosing to complain about it. Oh well, it's their funeral.

           

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          max m stalnaker, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:58pm

          internet bandwidth, price

          Hmm, I live in a rural area and have fiber to the home and 20mps down and 5 mps up from my local telco. I pay $80/month. I do not know of any comcast style downsides and I asked. I can talk about balance sheets, income statements, depreciation schedules, ficticious capital, banks, and so on, but in the end, for most capitalists, new tech is a problem to be avoided, and up to a point, they get away with it.

           

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        Jeminar, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:47am

        Is cable content lke a football match?

        Imfaral says:

        "When what the consumer wants is "something for nothing", it's pretty much a non-starter discussion."
        I don't think this is true at all. People will pay for what they like. For example I am more then happy to pay for Football tickets, despite them being very expensive. If you give people what they want a price they like they will buy it."

        I disagree with your analogy... the proper analogy would be that someone opens up a hole in the stadium and lets you in for free... would you still prefer to pay for a ticket if that were an option?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:31am

          Re: Is cable content lke a football match?

          If the tickets garanteed me getting a quality seat and protected me from harrassment and danger that comes from the open Inter-, I mean, that comes with taking whatever seat I can find going through a hole in the stadium wall, then yes, I'd pay. If it's reasonable. You're now weighing the price and quality of the ticketted seating with the freely-avaliable but questionable quality found through the hole. It's NOT HARD to compete with a hole in the wall.

           

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          Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:17am

          Re: Is cable content lke a football match?

          "the proper analogy would be that someone opens up a hole in the stadium and lets you in for free... would you still prefer to pay for a ticket if that were an option?"

          BINGO!

          Add to that, "and there were no repercussions for walking through the hole in the stadium."

          When the Comcast exec so ineliquently says "... if we don't figure out how to change that behavior so it respects copyright and subscription revenue ..." the behavior to which he refers is "taking something without the permission of, or payment to, the owner," a.k.a. "stealing."

          If something is available for free, many people will take it rather than pay for it. Why do you pay for your groceries? For many people it's the fact that if they don't, the store owner will call the police, the police will arrest them, and it will be greatly more inconvenient than paying.

          Downloading pirated copyrighted material is shoplifting, just as is walking out of the grocery store without paying for what you've taken off the shelves.

          Justifying it by complaining about the limits the rightful owners of that material place on you as the consumer does not negate the basic fact that what you are doing is no different than walking out of the local grocery with a bunch of bananas stashed in your pants.

          Or, perhaps no different than taking the free bananas from the guy who did walk out of the store with them in his pants - which, by the way, is called "receiving stolen property."

           

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          Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:30pm

          Re: Is cable content lke a football match?

          Isn't that what TV already did?

           

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        ???, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

        Re: Re:

        I pay for 18 Mbps and I get 18. The reason you pay for football tickets is because you don't know how to get them for free. If you could get them for free, even illegally, and you had little chance of getting in any trouble you would.

         

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      Wave of the Future, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:00am

      Re:

      I think "what customers want" is to see cable companies offer a Hulu+Netflix type of deal i.e. compete in the market that is beating them up(with evil piracy) right now.

      I mean come on iTunes did it... Works great for me, haven't "pirated" any songs in years because of it.

      Heck, with Netflix, Hulu, PSN combined I don't even have to pirate anime anymore lol and all of the shows worth watching are on at least one of those.

      If cable companies could at least try to compete it might allow them to "...change [customer] behavior so it respects copyright and subscription revenue on the part of distributors,...". That way they wont have to "wake up and see cord cutting.".

       

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      senshikaze (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:05am

      Re:

      any business that requires its customers to change is a business doomed to fail. No business should force its customers to match its vision of revenue.

      As a customer of comcast, what i want is not free internet access. cheaper maybe, and faster with less downtime, but not free. I work in IT i know much effort goes into getting me my funny youtube videos.

      Make biased, uninfromed statements like that just show your a raving idiot.

       

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      Vincent Clement, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:31am

      Re:

      It's not that consumers are wrong. It's that the balance of power and control is shifting away from the provider to the consumer. And the providers have been able to use that power and control to extract near-monopoly rents from consumers. The internet changed that, for the better.

      There is no question that consumers want content. The issue is that consumers do not value that content as high as the the providers do, especially when the provider cripples the content is some manner. Contrary to your belief, that value is not automatically zero.

      But when consumers are treated like criminals - do you know of any other business that greets their customers with a FBI/Interpol anti-piracy warning - well, people tend to lose respect. Treat the consumer with respect and you will make money.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:43am

        Re: Re:

        "The issue is that consumers do not value that content as high as the the providers do, especially when the provider cripples the content is some manner."

        Precisely!

        The providers were trained to expect extreme markups by technological history -- they had a monopoly on distribution, and made full use of that to extract every dime they could. It's no longer a monopoly market and cannot sustain such onerous pricing anymore, but the providers are unwilling to face reality.

        They got confused and actually believed that what they charged and the conditions they imposed in the past were justified by the inherent value of the product, when it was really because of a degenerate market. The license to print money is expiring, and they're pissed off about it.

        All the industry needs to do (or can do) to be a viable business it to: produce a quality product, charge a truly fair price, eliminate the obstacles between the customers and them, and treat their customers with respect. They will get people to feel good about doing business with them, instead of slightly dirty like they do now. It's business 101.

        I don't think the industry will do any of this, though. They will try to do things the way they've always done them, will go out of business, and will be replaced by businesses who will do things better. In the end, it will be only good for music and movies.

         

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      Christopher (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:32am

      Consumers wrong? Really?

      Maybe they just don't want to buy it from Comcast, a de facto monopoly wherever its franchises are located. Maybe, and it's just a wild thought, consumers don't like being told *who* they have to buy content from. Crazy, but if the actual infrastructure was divorced from the services, you could, oh, I dunno, *compete on service offerings*.

      The consumers are right. They are *always right*.

      -C

       

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      pferland, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:33am

      Re:

      and another car analogy,
      look at the US auto makers, they didn't change to what the consumer wanted, while the other (Asian and European) car makers did, what happened there...



      PS, Mike that top banner "Droid" ad that fills the screen is really annoying

       

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      R. Miles (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:48am

      Re:

      While I am sure his comments will get the standard Techdirt drubbing, the reality is that he is correct. It doesn't sound nice to say it, but at this point, the consumers are wrong, and here is why [snipped]
      AC, you're completely wrong on the "why". Please read the COO's statement again regarding changing consumer habit.

      That's a problem, because without this habit, Comcast wouldn't exist.

      Consumers are easy to deal with: show them value, and they'll buy it. It's Economics 101 in terms of supply & demand.

      Comcast wastes *no time* in offering special "bundles" to new consumers based on this very consumer habit. 3 offerings for $99/mo. That's value. But allow me to go back further in time.

      When cable was introduced, it revolutionized television because it gave consumers many more choices. "Free" TV was limited, so consumers sought the value of paying for those additional channels.

      As technology was introduced, cable companies took advantage and sold services to consumers.

      Seriously think about this. Why is a *cable company* offering telephone and internet services? By your logic, these companies should be regulated to television broadcasts only.

      Instead, we see *adaptation*, which is a great thing. However, there's a problem with this adaption in terms of the industry: Monopolies.

      Comcast is in power to "change" consumer behavior simply because it *knows* options do not exist. For consumers, there aren't many ways to access the internet or watch TV through the speeds/offerings available in their area.

      Thus, consumers will be *forced* back to "free" television if they choose to walk away from Comcast.

      Why? Because if Comcast is successful, every other business will take the same approach. Time Warner, Adelphia, AT&T, and even Verizon, to name a few, will jump on this bandwagon.

      That's not innovation anymore. That's monopolistic control and it harms consumer choice. By stating "consumers' must change" is stating "we're in control and they've no choice but to comply."

      Steve Burke is *completely* missing the mark by failing to realize his consumers are opting for new choice *using their service*. Just because they no longer want to watch a show dedicated to a specific time slot doesn't mean the value to obtain it is lost. It's just changed to fit the *consumer's* need.

      Additional proof is Comcast's "relationship" with Time Warner to provide on-demand movies (which will be SOC locked soon, it looks like) behind a cable wall, meaning one has to shell out $50+ *per month* to watch a movie which can be rented as low as $1.

      See a problem with that? It's revenue protection. It's equivalent to the RIAA's arguments about lost revenues because simple math dictates a $1 song isn't going to return the same profits as a $16 CD.

      So why punish the consumers for failing to offer choices? They did so with their services, so it boggles my mind they've just *stopped* innovating.

      Personally, I think it's crap to charge consumers $40+ for a phone service utilizing the same system as the internet connection, but obviously it's still *cheaper* than a phone line with long distance "subscription". Consumers make this choice because Comcast (et al) offer the *cheaper* service against their competitor.

      Steve Burke is *wrong*. He'll find this out when consumers do decide "free" TV is better than Comcast's monopolistic approach to removing the value they enticed them with initially.

      But hey, sometimes a company needs to make mistakes before they realize their error in judgment. Let Mr. Burke try, and fail.

      Because he'll quickly realize once a consumer is screwed by a company, they'll never come back. Comcast's revenue stream will be greatly affected by this decision than the "losses" they're seeing now.

       

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        Robert Ring (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:24am

        Re: Re:

        Comcast is in power to "change" consumer behavior simply because it *knows* options do not exist. For consumers, there aren't many ways to access the internet or watch TV through the speeds/offerings available in their area. That's true, but a business plan based on this idea makes the erroneous assumption that there will never be another option. By doing this, they're just begging for better alternatives to pop up. It's pretty ridiculous long-term planning.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:51am

        Re: Re:

        That's a problem, because without this habit, Comcast wouldn't exist.

        Consumers are easy to deal with: show them value, and they'll buy it. It's Economics 101 in terms of supply & demand.


        Sorry, but it has been clearly shown in the last few years that you show them value, and they will download it off the torrents. It's not economics 101, unless that class includes what happens during mass shoplifting (which it doesn't).

        So the rest of your post is a nice rant, but devoid of understanding of the basic issue: Even if they see value, people won't pay unless they have to, and only after they have explored every possible way to avoid payment.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          How is downloading torrents, which the content industries does not provide, in any way the same as shoplifting? Mass shoplifting?

           

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            Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Then consider it "receiving stolen property" rather than shoplifting.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It isn't stolen property. It isn't shoplifting.

              It's copyright infringement.

               

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                Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                There's a reason it's called "intellectual property."

                What is "copyright infringement?" It is taking my intellectual property without my permission, and without compensating me.

                That is stealing, and if you accept my intellectual property from the person who stole it from me, knowing it was stolen, you are accepting stolen property.

                Arguing it is not is arguing against several hundred years of intellectual property law.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  No. It's copyright infringement. It's not stealing. You're almost there.

                  Not stealing. Copyright infringement. Not stealing.

                   

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                    Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    You are arguing a distinction without a difference.

                    The legal term for what you are doing is "copyright infringment." The moral term for what you are doing is "stealing."

                    If it makes you feel better to not call it stealing, that's fine, but there are both criminal and civil penalties for copyright infringement.

                    And, my guess is that standing before a judge, telling him what you did was not stealing, will not garner you much leniency.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      You have no idea how the judicial system works, do you?

                       

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                      KevinJ, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      The legal term for what you are doing is "copyright infringment." The moral term for what you are doing is "stealing."

                      That isn't what what you said (or implied) earlier. And I quote you from post #117, "And, copyright infringment IS theft in the eyes of the law." You see that, you just contradicted yourself there.

                      If it makes you feel better to not call it stealing, that's fine, but there are both criminal and civil penalties for copyright infringement.

                      Then why have criminal charges never been filed against anyone accused of copyright infringement in the US? Maybe, because copyright infringement is not a criminal violation but a civil one in the US legal system.

                      And, my guess is that standing before a judge, telling him what you did was not stealing, will not garner you much leniency.

                      And, my hope is that any reasonable judge would prefer you use actual legal terms instead of theatrics.

                       

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          Luci, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Torrents? Your answer to 'not being shown value' is torrents? Sorry, but value has NOT been shown, that is why torrents are so popular. Where is the vaunted value? We're getting shows that are shorter and shorter, with more and more advertising, on a service that WE PAY FOR. I love my cable tv, but I so despise paying for commercials. That's double-dipping, my friend. The cable companies are getting paid twice.

           

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          R. Miles (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Even if they see value, people won't pay unless they have to, and only after they have explored every possible way to avoid payment.
          That's crap, and you know it. Techdirt's proven time and time again people *are* buying.

          If piracy was so devastating, then why are theaters booming? Think about this, as they'd be the first line of casualties. Could it be those record-breaking years were just lies?

          I still haven't seen Britney Spears standing on a street corner with a sign reading "Will sing for food."

          Nor have I seen any proof that piracy is causing ill effects to the *entertainment industry*. Can you? Show me.

          Comcast's introduction to the piracy world is nothing more than an attempt to extol revenues from *innocent people* simply because a few don't want to pay.

          I appreciate you calling me a pirate despite any evidence to the contrary. You obviously represent the entertainment industry.

          So, I have to ask: What the hell did I ever do to you to:
          -have my $300 DVD player turned into a paperweight because it couldn't recognize the new DRM layer?

          -force me to pay extra-ordinary markup on infinite goods so to offer DRM free music?

          -lock my software because a computer glitch refuses to validate with your server?

          -force me to pay for television stations supported by ads?

          -take away my rights as a consumer for using content via fair use?

          -force YouTube to take down my video of a dancing baby because there's a licensed song playing in the background?

          -call me a thief because I refuse to buy $16 CDs and $20 DVDs and simply do without, given I'm the *true* definition of a lost sale?

          Whatever. The entertainment industry in this country is forcing the hands of innocents, and this includes Comcast.

          I get why Burke made the statement, but *that's not his damn job*, especially when innocent consumers are footing the bill.

          Rant? Maybe, but my letters to these industries have had no affect. How about yours?

           

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            Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Nor have I seen any proof that piracy is causing ill effects to the *entertainment industry*."

            So, it's OK to receive stolen property that you know is stolen, as long as YOU don't see any ill effects to the industry from which it's stolen?

            If you accept a Buick you know was stolen from a dealer's lot, GM is not going to go bankrupt (again), but that does not negate the "wrongness" of accepting a car you know is hot.

             

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              SomeGuy (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're cherry-picking. there's been no proof that filesharing hurts the industry. There IS proof that *actual material theft* hurts businesses. There's a HUGE difference here between abundant digital goods and real property, like a car or bananas. your refusal to admit that difference doesn't change the facts.

               

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                Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                No, my basic point is that a lack of proof of damage is not a justification to steal. There is no difference between stealing whether the goods stolen are real, or digital.

                 

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                  SomeGuy (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "There is no difference between stealing whether the goods stolen are real, or digital."

                  And I hold that's the fundamental error you're making. there is a difference because theft only occurs when someone is denied their rightful property. In the case of unauthorized downloading, EVERYONE has the digital goods, no one is being denied it. What's being denied is an exclusive right to copy, but that's copyright infringement, NOT theft.

                   

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                    Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:24pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    The producers of that product ARE being denied their rightful property - income from their sweat and labor to make the product.

                    And, copyright infringment IS theft in the eyes of the law.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      And so is jaywalking. Which is why we should make law that all those cought jaywalking are kicked off the streets for a year.

                      That will learn them.

                       

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                      R. Miles (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      The producers of that product ARE being denied their rightful property - income from their sweat and labor to make the product.
                      And this, Biff, ends your plausible defense.

                      Income is not property, nor is it a right to have.

                      Now I know where your confusion is, but make no mistake: digital distribution allows more people to access the same content, because the download can't be stolen, only copied.

                      But trying to force consumers to pay 15x for the *same thing* is why so many businesses are failing to stop piracy.

                      When you can defend a reason why a legally purchased DVD can't offer access to a digital download without an additional payment, add your two cents.

                      Until then, I think we're done here.

                       

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                      Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:46pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Biff, a few points to make about your comments after qualifying that I also do not condone infringing filesharing:

                      1. "And, copyright infringment IS theft in the eyes of the law." -- This, and please pay attention here, is FLAT OUT WRONG. Theft is handled in criminal court, whereas copyright infringement is a civil matter. In common parlance theft can be used for infringement as some general dictionaries advocate its use for non-material goods. But, in the eyes of the law, they are so separate as to need an entirely different court system.

                      2. "The producers of that product ARE being denied their rightful property - income from their sweat and labor to make the product." -- Please name me another industry outside of intellectual property where money becomes your rightful property based solely on how much sweat and labor is put forth. Hint: there IS none. I can spend a hell of a lot of time an energy constructing penis decapatators, fashioning little ornate designs into them and getting the blades sharpened just right. At the end of that, who the hell is going to buy a penis decapitator (save a few disgruntled wives) and what money is my rightful property?

                      3. "The torrents are STEALING a product." -- They are? Who exactly are they stealing from? The original copy that was ripped was PAID for, then copied. Now it's in infinite supply. What right does someone have to charge for something they've made to be in infinite supply?

                      4. "There is no difference between stealing whether the goods stolen are real, or digital." -- If you can't tell the difference between me coming up to your dinner table and stealing your cookie so you don't have it anymore and me coming up with my magic machine and copying your cookie and the sitting down so we can enjoy it together....then you need help. And lots of it.

                       

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                        Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:06pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        1. "whereas copyright infringement is a civil matter. "

                        Copyright Law of the United States of America
                        and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code

                        Circular 92
                        Chapter 5
                        Copyright Infringement and Remedies
                        § 506. Criminal offenses4

                        (a) Criminal Infringement. —

                        http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#506

                        Feel free to surf over and read the law.

                        2."Please name me another industry outside of intellectual property where money becomes your rightful property based solely on how much sweat and labor is put forth."

                        Any industry in which a product is patentable. If you patent your penis decapitator, and someone copies your design, then you can sue them and recover any of the money they made selling the product to disgruntled wives.

                        3. "'The torrents are STEALING a product.' -- They are? Who exactly are they stealing from?"

                        They are stealing it from the creator of that product. When you buy intellectual property, you are not buying the right to endlessly copy that property. You can argue that it is your right to copy it, but copyright law disagrees with you, so your point is moot.

                        4. "If you can't tell the difference between me coming up to your dinner table and stealing your cookie so you don't have it anymore and me coming up with my magic machine and copying your cookie and the sitting down so we can enjoy it together....then you need help."

                        Poor analogy. Unless the person you sit down with is a commercial baker, and the cookie recipe is patented, and you then gave those cookies to everyone coming into the bakery so they didn't have to buy them. In which case, case I would say that I see no difference.

                         

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                          Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "Feel free to surf over and read the law."

                          Did. It would appear, unless someone else can explain otherwise, that you were right and I was really, really wrong. Vociferously wrong. Which is a little infuriating, because I truly thought I had that one correct. I wonder why it seems to almost SOLELY be handled in civil court, then?

                          "Any industry in which a product is patentable. If you patent your penis decapitator, and someone copies your design, then you can sue them and recover any of the money they made selling the product to disgruntled wives."

                          Hmm, I see what you're saying, but that isn't what your initial statement said. It sounded like you were saying that compensation was deserved by simple virtue of hard work performed. Market forces need to be taken into account, after all.

                          "When you buy intellectual property, you are not buying the right to endlessly copy that property. You can argue that it is your right to copy it, but copyright law disagrees with you, so your point is moot."

                          But if I'm buying property, why can't I treat it as mine? If I buy it, don't I own it? Licensing it is different of course, but if I buy, say, a comic book, why can't I lend that comic book out to friends? It's mine, no?

                          "Poor analogy."

                          Probably not the best, no, but there is still a difference in depriving something of somebody else and copying it. It's as simple as math. 1 minus 1 is zero. 1 times 2 is two, as in two copies for both people to retain.

                          In any case, thanks for actually having a measured discussion on this, especially when I was apparently so vociferously wrong on the first point. I'm always learning, and certainly don't have a problem admitting when I've got it wrong.

                           

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                            SomeGuy (profile), Nov 10th, 2009 @ 8:34am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            "I wonder why it seems to almost SOLELY be handled in civil court, then?"

                            Because criminal court has to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt." Civil cases don't have such high standards, you just have to prove that someone is possibly guilty.

                             

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                          byteme, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Try this analogy on for size:

                          I buy an orange. After I eat the orange, I take the seeds and plant them in my backyard. In the following years I never buy another orange because I make use of the oranges from the trees grown for free from those seeds. I even share the oranges I grow with my friends.

                          In this scenario, please answer the following:

                          Am I a thief, criminal or pirate?

                          If so, what have I stolen?

                          Will my actions, in and of themselves, cause grocery stores or orange farmers to go out of business?

                          Do you think it is possible that the grocery stores and orange farmers just might be able to adjust their business models such that they can lower the price of oranges so that I no longer find it worthwhile to spend my time and energy growing my own oranges and go back to buying them?

                          Do you think the appropriate response to the situation is that the grocery stores and orange farmers need to convince me that growing my own oranges is wrong?

                          Do you think it is right for the orange farmers to spend time and money to make oranges with seeds that will not grow, thereby raising the price of oranges for everyone?


                          DISCLAIMER: I don't file-share. I just want to see what you think about an analogy that is a little closer to the mark. The reason for this analogy is to reference a product that can easily be replicated infinitely.

                           

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                      SomeGuy (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "The producers of that product ARE being denied their rightful property - income from their sweat and labor to make the product."

                      By that logic, I'm stealing from the industry by simply not-buying DVDs. You are not OWED compensation just because to produced something.

                      "And, copyright infringment IS theft in the eyes of the law."

                      No, it's not. Theft falls under criminal laws and statutes. Copyright infringement is only a civil dispute.

                       

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                  NoName, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I agree with SomeGuy.

                  There are a number of legitimate, non-infringing uses. NetFlix, AppleTV, Amazon TV, and TiVo Series 3/4 among others come to mind. The Market will jump to them when they see how much easier and convenient it is to use these services.

                  Any way you look at it, Comcast needs to invest more into network growth instead of playing the Piracy card.

                   

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                    Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I agree Comcast is a dinosaur and its delivery method is obsolete.

                    I also agree that there are a number of legitimate non-infringing uses, all of which include some compensation to those whose intellectual property they are distributing.

                    The torrents do not provide any compensation to the content producers, and that is my problem. They are taking something which is not theirs, and giving it away. As a content producer, that takes money out of my pocket.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      No, it doesn't. Downloads do not equal lost sales. Some pirates are dirt poor or lack alternatives or do for the pleasure but just because a torrent exists of your precious content doesn't mean that the person downloading that content would have paid for it.

                       

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                      NoName, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Who said anything about torrent files? Let me put it to you this way:

                      People who see value in the content will buy the content unless they are poor or in college.

                      I like Apple's model for under or non-discovered artists. Apple gives away free content away every week. Sometimes I like it, and end up buying the whole CD, TV Series, or Audiobook. Sometimes it just isn't my thing. If you scale that up, you'll probably find that it's the same market-driven forces at work.

                      If you can't convert someone who borrows your book, CD or DVD at the library into someone who will buy your book, chances are that it's crap, you'll look for any reason to cast blame elsewhere as to why you can't seem to convert people.

                      Similarly, if you have 10000 downloads, 10000 people probably gave you a chance to convert them to paying customers. If it only nets five sales, then what you as a content producer, needs to be re-evaluated.

                      Now as for Comcast, they seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill. They probably saw the press release for the new Apple TV Subscription product a few weeks ago and are shuttering because it could eat into their OnDemand revenue, and may increase non-revenue generating network traffic for Comcast.

                      So instead of trying to fix their problem of bandwidth, which may includ a writedown of capital assets, which would be a disaster in a situation pre-NBC merger rumor talk (see comment #104) they decide to cast blame elsewhere.

                      Some people may have a problem with this type of logic where the right hand claims to not know what the left is doing.

                       

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                      SomeGuy (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:18pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "The torrents do not provide any compensation to the content producers, and that is my problem."

                      What about, as is the case with many, the producers aren't LOOKING for compensation from the torrents? Look no further than Trent Reznor for an example; he's been seeding NIN torrents for a while now. Other artists, from film producers to photographers to authors -- use torrents to get their works out there. No, giving away EVERYTHING can't be the whole of your business model, but torrents are only wrong if they're unauthorized, infringing torrents.

                       

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                        Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:12pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "What about, as is the case with many, the producers aren't LOOKING for compensation from the torrents?"

                        That is not copyright infringement, and something we do quite often ourselves.

                        "but torrents are only wrong if they're unauthorized, infringing torrents."

                        I absolutely agree.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:41pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Torrents aren't "wrong" they are merely, maybe, possibly infringing on some copyrighted content.

                          Oh no! Not copyright infringement. Throw the book at them! BLOODY STEALERS!!! THIEVING AWAY WITH THE PRECIOUS CONTENT!

                           

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              R. Miles (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So, it's OK to receive stolen property that you know is stolen, as long as YOU don't see any ill effects to the industry from which it's stolen?
              And what makes you think *every* consumer will do this?

              That's the attitude the entertainment industry is taking. They believe *YOU* will "steal" their works and give it away.

              Using the Buick analogy, you would need to call a 1800 number to verify yourself *every single time* you want to drive your legally purchased vehicle.

              But will this stop theft? Hell no.

              So why is the burden on *YOU* to prevent car theft?

              And for the record, I don't download. When I say I'm against it and do without, that's exactly what it means.

              There are plenty of truly free offerings which I can take advantage of that doesn't require me to pay extortion "pay per view" prices.

              YouTube's one of them. People do crazy things which is always entertaining. Like the guy rolling the shopping cart down a hill and slamming into a pole. Classic.

              My cost: 2 ads to view.

              Biff, I truly am the definition of "the lost sale".

              Everything else I own is legal (receipts to prove it).

              Side rant:
              So imagine my surprise when Adobe shut down my access to Fireworks CS4 simply because Norton's firewall software refused the connection to the server to verify its "authenticity".

              It took me two weeks to discover why the lockout was initiated. TWO FREAKIN' WEEKS of the lack of use of my *LEGALLY* purchased software.

              Yeah, makes me feel so warm inside to know I'm a *bleeping* thief to them.

               

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                Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "And what makes you think *every* consumer will do this?"

                "That's the attitude the entertainment industry is taking. They believe *YOU* will "steal" their works and give it away."

                Walk into any large (and many small) retail stores and look up. Does the presence of surveillance cameras mean the store owners think *every* consumer will steal? No, it means they are taking steps to stop those who will. I don't like being filmed every time I walk into a retail store, but the truth is, in this world many people will steal, given the chance. And, I have to live in this world.

                "But will this stop theft? Hell no."

                Just because a measure will not completely stop theft doesn't mean that measure should not be taken. Every manufacturer takes steps to stop theft, trying to find a balance between stemming loss, and pissing off consumers. If they step over that line, they deserve to fail.

                "So why is the burden on *YOU* to prevent car theft?"

                That's why the government "titles" large vehicles. Providing a title is usually considered adequate proof you bought the car in good faith just in case it does turn out to be stolen.

                I understand you don't download. Please don't think I'm accusing you. But, as a producer of intellectual property, I have a problem with the attitude of many of the posters on this topic that it's OK to steal from me, as long as you can't see any ill effects from that theft.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  As a producer of intellectual property, I don't have a problem with the attitude of many of the posters on this topic that it's OK to "copyright infringement" from me, as long as they enjoy what I have made with my intellect.

                   

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        Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, R.Miles, companies have ridden the how-much-can-we-squeeze-outta-the-customer bandwagon before. That's how Sprint got its opening, and how Verizon got theirs, and the big slow behemoths lost their market share and were forced to adapt.

         

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      CastorTroy-L-Capitalist, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:54am

      Re:

      Not sure I have ever heard utter stupidity and drival so flowered up to make it seem reasonable....

      1) cable companies are NOT CONTENT PROVIDERS, they are distributors of others materials... it is quote simple..
      2) Comcast did help me change my behavior, i dropped them on their pointy greedy head..
      3) I do pay for what i want, itunes (now DRM free), Hulu (oh wait its free)... and i dont have to illegally copy...hmm guess you fail.. (note i didnt say pirate because unlike you i understand the difference between steal and copy)

      Leave it to an Shill to make it sound reasonable to be a complete and total waste of oxygen.

       

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      toddlorensinclair, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:22am

      Re: paying for tv with commercials thats free over the air

      If you live in a metropolitan area you can watch tv for free with the cost paid for by the many commercials included in the show.

      I don't understand why getting those same shows with commercials over the internet (just a broader tv antenna) should cost money.

       

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        Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re: paying for tv with commercials thats free over the air

        It won't, and despite all the hub-bub about Hulu starting to charge, it's not going to happen quite like that. They are looking into value-added offerings/features that they can put behind a paywall as yet another option.

         

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      Dom S, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:59am

      Re:

      " But it is clear through the actions of many that the programming is valuable and desirable, and people are willing to go a long way to get it, no matter the legality. So you have pirate downloads, trafficked cable boxes, sat signal piracy, people paying for VPNs to be able to do P2P, etc. All of this for what? To get the product that the cable company is selling."

      yeah i want the product and agree that its valuable (to ME) but not at the extreme prices they're charging. i dont download to "get things for free" i download because otherwise i'll be broke buying things at the stupid prices they're being sold at (bearing in mind that production and distribution costs are nowhere near as the mark-up prices would suggest)

      "So "what customers want" is what they are selling. That is established, it's a clear fact."

      this is under no dispute - however, they cannot keep charging the amounts they do for content/material that can be obtained for free (whether legally or otherwise) and then suggest that consumers attitudes need to be changed. consumers will never change! there's a fact for you

      "So, now "changing to match what customers want", I would have to guess that you are suggesting that the cable companies should drop their subscription model. Perhaps they could run on donations, or perhaps upsell people to dinner with a technician, perhaps selling limited edition "I met the cable company president" t-shirts, or perhaps autographed limited edition flat screen TVs that they could sell for double the price of normal."

      no suggestions of "free" models here. just a more reasonable pricing structure and a more realistic approach to providing products/material/services to consumers who, as you put it, want the products being sold. if the companies cant keep up with the modern way/business/technology, they should pass on like the old dogs they are.

      "When what the consumer wants is "something for nothing", it's pretty much a non-starter discussion."

      we dont want something for nothing. we want something for the price it should be charged at, not the over-inflated, rich-pocket-lining prices being charged.

      nice to see you're willing to put your name to such ridiculous statements. too many AC's make too many dumb-ass assumptions/remarks. i guess giving your name would reveal your status within whatever organisation/lobbying group (MPAA/RIAA/MAFIAA) that are paying your bills/wages/bribes.

       

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        Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re:

        "yeah i want the product and agree that its valuable (to ME) but not at the extreme prices they're charging. i dont download to "get things for free" i download because otherwise i'll be broke buying things at the stupid prices they're being sold at"

        How is that different from "yeah i want a leather jacket and agree that its valuable (to ME) but not at the extreme prices they're charging. i dont receive stolen goods to "get things for free" i receive stolen goods because otherwise i'll be broke buying things at the stupid prices they're being sold at"

        You are not stealing to eat, you are stealing to add to the enjoyment of your life. If you don't like the price they are charging, then don't pay it. That does not mean it's OK for you to steal it, or accept it from someone who has.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So then, if I DO psy for cable, you're OK with me downloading the torrent? Isn't that like me recovering stolen goods and paying market price to purchace them from you (the rightful owner)?

           

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            Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No, stolen property is stolen property. The torrents are STEALING a product. Just because that product has a digital, rather than solid form, it is just as much a product of the capitalist marketplace. Stealing it robs the producers and the distributors of the recompense for making and delivering that product.

            Now if the torrents purchased the product from the producers, then I would have no problem with anyone downloading from them. But, if they were purchasing the product, I doubt they would be giving it away for free. Unless they did something imaginative like, say, sold advertisements. Oh, wait, then they would be commercial television.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Copyright infringement is not theft. Two completely different laws. Not all laws deserve to be followed.

              Especially laws concerning human expression.

               

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              CastorTroy-Libertarian, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              A) just because its a torrent doesnt make it "Stealing" (your term not mine)
              B) 2 if the market place was open (you know like the internet generally is and why you big media people hate it) and others can see.. Hmm Comcast/Verizon/Content shills are creating a market gap i can exploit, i would actually be ok with most of big media's attempts to regulate and stupid shit, why cause the market will cause them to fail... BUT they cant have that so everytime some thing comes up that they dont like or is a threat they legalize, and Take-down notice and all the rest to either a) push the price up so they dont have to play, or b) make the inovators and market place go away... so till you the "intellectual property creator" show me how you plan on letting the market decide and open things up (which you wont do, you loss and the market already decided hense most CD makers and junkers falling on their head) then Long live the pirates...

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, if the torrents sold ads AND charged you to access the torrents, AND only let you access the torrents (once you paid) during times they scheduled -- THEN they'd be commercial television.

               

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          Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Listen, Befumble, and listen very carefully. THE US SUPREME COURT HAS ALREADY WEIGHED IN AND SAID THAT ILLEGAL COPYING IS NOT STEALING. We would all appreciate if you would stop propagating that bullshit.

          Furthermore, it's likely that most of us (I know I am) are getting the content for free from legal providers (for me it's usually Hulu) whenever we can. So not only are you an idiot for calling us theives, but you are wrong in assuming that we prefer illegal activities.

          It is not our fault, Mr. Burke, that you have biffumbled in this way.

           

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      chris (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:03am

      Re:

      Seriously, the only "change" they seem to need to make to meet what the customer wants is to give their product away for free, on demand, on any device, at any time, from anywhere, and at no cost. Sounds like a great plan, and as soon as you explain how they are going to pay for it...

      yeah, no one is paying for cable. that's why comcast is reporting record income:

      http://philadelphia.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2009/11/02/daily26.html

      how'd they do it? by being a smart business:

      “The strength and resilience of our businesses combined with our continued emphasis on expenses and prudent capital management helped us achieve healthy operating and financial results in the third quarter,” Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman and CEO, said.

      here is the breakdown:
      Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA,CMCSK) earned $944 million, or 33 cents per fully diluted share in the quarter, up from $771 million, or 26 cents per fully diluted share, in the third quarter of last year.

       

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      chris (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:13am

      Re:

      So, now "changing to match what customers want", I would have to guess that you are suggesting that the cable companies should drop their subscription model. Perhaps they could run on donations, or perhaps upsell people to dinner with a technician, perhaps selling limited edition "I met the cable company president" t-shirts, or perhaps autographed limited edition flat screen TVs that they could sell for double the price of normal.

      uhh, internet access is non-scarce good. it cannot be produced for free (though it can be made significantly cheaper witht he right infrastructure) and there will always be demand for it.

      if the cable companies are in trouble from piracy (they are not) then could spin off their content delivery business into another company and ramp up their internet infrastructure. in corporate speak it would be called "focusing on core competencies". this is a process that should have begun in the mid 1990's when people demanded high speed internet access. they didn't do it then and they never will because they cannot figure out how to get a monopoly.

      this would open the gates for pure-play content providers to compete based on the quantity and quality of their content, but since there would be no monopoly, no cable company will do that.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:22am

      Re:

      What can I do with filesharing that the cable companies aren't letting me do? Unrestricted timeshifting, for one. As it stands, I can only record 2 shows at a time, so if 3 shows share a time slot, I have to make a choice. Filesharing lets me see all three. Also, my DVR can only hold so much programming, and it's not a whole heck of a lot. With a wife and two kids, we can't all watch what we want because the DVR fills up and we need to start removing things.

      My DVR also isn't remote, but my computer is. when I go on business trips, I can't take my DVR with me. Hulu shows some of the programming I like, but I can't access it if I'm outside the US. FOX and CBS have some of their shows up on their web pages, but they often don't have the current episode available, even days after it airs.

      Yes, they're selling the content, and in general I have no problem paying for exactly that. But they aren't making it convenient for me. They don't have to make it free, I'm not asking for that, they just need to make it easier to get what I want.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re:

        My internet and cable all come from the same pipe. I do not have a DVR so if I miss a show I would like to have watched I use the internet as a massive DVR.

        How is this wrong? I paid for the shows to come into my home. So should I be forced to spend the $10 it will cost to set up my own homemade DVR or just continue using the internet?

        I know, I know, I'm just a thief who shouldn't steal.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:24am

      Re:

      Most people are willing to pay a reasonable price. My cable bill is the largest bill I pay every month by about 25%. Every single year the cable company increases rates. At the same time, of all of the utilities that come into the house I get the least value out of the cable service - gas, electricity and the telephone are far more useful and cheaper than cable. I get better content from Netflix than from cable and Netflix is about 1/8 of the price of cable. Finally, once I've paid way, way too much for cable, 50% of the content I get through that cable is advertising - advertising that the cable company shares in. So, why do I still have cable? Good question, perhaps its time to dump cable.

      People are tired of getting ripped off by cable companies. It used to be that cable had virtually no competition and now there are lots of ways to get content. I think its the market place that has changed and so consumers have changed. The cable folks need to recognize the change in the market place and work to be competitive. Its not that people just want stuff for free. Its that people do not want or need to be raped by the cable company every month.

       

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      identicon
      Pete, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:25am

      Re:

      Whoops. You missed the point. It's a head-in-the-sand approach. If the top-down management attitude toward the customer is adversarial, then the consumer base is ripe for a competitor to step in with an acceptable compromise as an alternative, and satisfy the demand. What's more the base will likely pay a premium for the privilege, simply because the new company respects the customer's need (which is the intrinsic motivation behind the behavior). Consider how Netflix entered the market. Rather than place demands on the customer, they've demonstrated a willingness to innovate to adapt to the customers' evolving needs and shifting technological landscape.

       

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        Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re:

        Another "BINGO!"

        Comcast deserves to lose if another competitor steps in and finds a way to purchase content and distribute it in a more competitive, efficient, cost-effective, viewer-friendly way.

        Piracy, however, which many commenters seem to see as legitimate competition to Comcast, is not legitimate as it does not pay for the original content, it steals it.

         

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          Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Steals it? Now, I dopn't agree with unauthorized downloading, but how exactly do you think these torrents get out there in the first place?

          If some guy goes out and buys a DVD, he paid for it, right? Now, if he cracks the encryption and puts the digital files on his computer, he's infringed on copyright (he doesn't have the right to copy it), but he hasn't STOLEN anything. And if he gives copies of that cracked DVD away, the people he gives it to aren't STEALING, not from him and not from the copyright holders. Copyright is being infringed on by this guy making unauthorized copies of the DVD he bought, but no THEFT has occured.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Don't bother. Biff Humble is a troll who doesn't understand the difference between theft and copyright infringement, which are two totally different laws.

             

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          Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Biff, theft means you took something of value in a way that deprives the owner of that value. In legal terms it is MALA EN SE. It's just wrong to steal. We all get that.

          Copyright infringement is infringing upon artificially awarded rights to the exclusive control of information, which would otherwise be constitutionally protected free speech. Copyright infringement is malum prohibitum. It's only wrong by regulation.

          Copyright is a hundreds of years old trade off where we the people (actually it started with we, Queen Anne) decided to trade some of our rights(free speech) as an incentive(exclusive control) for creating new art.

          Lately a lot of us are thinking that the ongoing extension of these rights, ad perpetuum, is leading to gross overproduction of crap at the expense of our general economy and our own pocketbooks, inflating the price of the stuff we DO want, a small but significant detriment to the economy as a whole, and overall, no longer a good deal. That's not evil, it's just renegotiating the agreement we have with ourselves.

          So stop calling us theives, pirates, or whatever else. We're bargaining for your sake, too.

           

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      Vaudevillian, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:45am

      Re: moron statement

      Really?

      The people who buy that crap to get more tv stations is my parents generation, most of those people buying that stuff also pay a lot to get it because the cable companies don't offer what they want to watch at a good price.

      Me... I have no interest in the dribble they call programming these days. Most is reality tv. I get more enjoyment out of watching youtube, which is better reality tv.

      If that exec said that at a conference I was at, I would have laughed non stop through his entire presentation. This guy is a moron as well. Change customer behavior, get real. How about you change you companies behavior, your the one in the wrong.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re: moron statement

        Youtube is the greatest threat the content industry has ever faced.

        The best is when I hear a conversation about how someone has spent the whole morning watching videos on youtube.

        Of course the person is young, so they should be forced to have their behavior changed. THEY SHOULD BE WATCHING CABLE NOT YOUTUBE! THESE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE DESTROYING ENTERTAINMENT!

         

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      Designerfx (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:38am

      Re:

      sorry, you're way wrong here.

      If you think businesses shouldn't have to adapt over the years, I'd like to point you to businesses that have a lifeline of about 4 years tops.

      Not adapting to consumer desires = not successful and also = not competitive.

      As an example of what would happen if they didn't adopt, we'd still be using buggy whips and cellphones would never exist, nor this "internet" thing (sarcasm).

       

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      reaperman0, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:22am

      Re: idiotic AC shill

      Hi AC, you coward. Here is everybody's problem with the media distribution companies. I used to have Comcast cable + internet. It was $50 for cable TV and $50 for the internet. When I decided to drop the cable TV and go with satellite, they upped the cost of internet to $75. What the hell is that!? I'm now using less 'precious' bandwidth (since there is no TV signal being sent to my house anymore) but they charge me MORE. Do you understand now? This is the kind of shit that makes people upset - it doesn't make any logical sense to do this but if they can find a way to gouge more money out of people they will. The satellite company isn't much better either - i had to upgrade to the middle plan because I wanted ONE (1) channel that wasn't in the standard plan - why can't I just add that channel and drop something like Lifetime that I don't care about?

      GIVE US WHAT WE WANT AND HOW WE WANT IT AND WE WILL GLADLY PAY FOR IT. TREAT US LIKE SHIT AND WE WILL RETURN THE FAVOR. CHANGE OR DIE.

       

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        Rick, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:36pm

        Re: they upped the cost of internet

        "When I decided to drop the cable TV and go with satellite, they upped the cost of internet to $75. What the hell is that!? I'm now using less 'precious' bandwidth (since there is no TV signal being sent to my house anymore) but they charge me MORE."

        (Caveat: not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be one on TV) What it sounds like to me is something dangerously close to violating the Sherman antitrust act. (One provision is that you're not supposed to tie the ability to purchase of one item to having to purchase something else.) I'm sure their legal department has told them that this is not a violation because you are indeed able to get -- albeit at a higher cost -- Internet access without TV access. So, according to the "letter" of the law, they're in the clear. Whether this was the intent of Shermen is another question.

        Comcast's shenanigans don't bother me but only reinforce my family's decision to put a big honkin' antenna in the attic and only watch what's available on the network broadcasts. There's more there than I want to take the time to watch anyway.

         

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      Simon, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:59am

      Re:

      Sure I want the product, but I also want convenience. How about selling me that convenience?
      I have a PVR, but to be honest it's a pain in the butt to use and my content is locked to a single set-top box. And do you know what? I bit torrent TV shows that I legitimately pay for with my satellite TV subscription, just because it's so much more convenient than using my provider’s blessed PVR set-top box. That way I can play the content easily on any one of the seven networked devices in my house, or put it on a portable media player, laptop etc.
      Now I maintain my TV subscription because I do want to pay for the content, but really, sometimes I’m tempted to cancel the damn thing just because the whole “lock everything up” mentality is so retarded.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      "It doesn't sound nice to say it, but at this point, the consumers are wrong"

      No, you're an idiot. Consumers are never "Wrong", they area consumers! They consume what they want to consume!

       

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        Biff Humble, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re:

        You are correct the consumers are not wrong. What is wrong is that people are stealing something that doesn't belong to them, and providing it to consumers for free, as if it has no cost.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Copyright infringement is wrong. So is jaywalking. Thses things are bad for society. Jaywalkers risk, not only their own safety, but the safety of those around them.

          Do any of your friends infringe copyright? Do they steal? Do you know what I would do?

          I would get new friends.

           

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          Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, people are terminating an outmoded, fruitless, and economically harmful social contract clause that no longer benefits society.

          If by 'something' you mean a digital copy, then NEWSFLASH - it DOES have no cost, and it no longer makes sense to produce as if it does - this is completely separate from weather it is acceptable to you or not. IT IS. IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE.

          We no longer have to sing Yo Ho, Haul together to rally a force and win our content. We already have it.

          If Comcast and the rest of the content production and distribution industry want copyright to exist at all the terms are simple: Make it so that we don't notice it. Make the cost so close to nothing that we do not feel it. Make it easier and more compelling to pay that cost than it is to get it for free.

          This is not some manifesto or battle cry. This is to bring you back to reason. Make paid content make sense as described above, and then copyright ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE. If you stretch the terms of the agreement so grotesquely far beyond reason, then we have no choice.

          Make it reasonable. Otherwise, you can assume that your copyright is revoked.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            But copyright was handed down from the very gods themselves. It is a gift from them unto humanity.

            Copyright is far too powerful a force in this universe to merely toss aside like a piece of unwanted garbage. Even if that's what a majority of people do.

            If everybody stole, would you steal too? If everybody infringed upon copyright, would you, actually, everybody already does. Nevermind.

             

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      James Andrews, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      I agree with where you are going, but not with the conclusion. The consumer wants what they want at what they consider is a fair price. I personally wouldn't mind commercials on ondemand television. There are many ondemand shows now that have a commercial at the beginning before the show begins. Hulu has 2 commercial breaks during their shows. We have over 200 channels on our cable box. My family watches 5 of them. Why should I pay for 200 channels when all I watch is 5 of them. Granted I understand that cable companies have to pay for the rights to broadcast these channels so they need to pay for all, but there should be a better way. I would gladly pay for the content I want if it was at a reasonable rate. Hence why I pay $.99 for songs instead of $20 for a CD with 1 song that I like....

       

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      Anonymous coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      No. What the average consumer wants is to be able to pick and choose what they watch and when they watch it. Not pay exorbitant amounts of money to get 1% of what they actually want & 99% garbage. (As an example, buying a CD for $20.00 of 15 songs you don't want and only one that you do. Why do you think download singles are so popular?)

      I'd willingly pay extra for an actual cable package (instead of just the internet) if I could choose what channels I wanted, record any number of shows, and/or watch my shows at any time.

      I have a limited amount of time on certain days and though I'd LOVE to be able to catch my favorite shows, I usually can't. Cable only offers "On Demand" options for massive amounts of money that average people these days do not have.

      Hence the reason why I LOVE Hulu. I get my shows when I want them for up to nearly a month with 3-4 30 second commercials instead of 4-5 2.5 minute commercials. If they move to a pay service, I'd gladly do it as long as I felt it was reasonable.

       

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      Phil Smith, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

      Re: NO, they do not want what they are selling.

      "All of this for what? To get the product that the cable company is selling.
      So "what customers want" is what they are selling. That is established, it's a clear fact."
      What is Comcast "selling?" Access to a movie, that you can only watch on your television, on your butt, on your couch, and only on COMCASTS's schedule.

      What are people downloading? Digital files that they can watch on their computer, download to thier Ipod, burn to a DVD, rip the soundtrack from...ON THIER OWN SCHEDULE.

      Just because it is the same MOVIE, does not mean it is the same PRODUCT. The fact of the matter is, Comcast and the other cable companies are not the competition, manufacturers of DVDs and CDs are the ones whose business model needs to be addressed. DRM making it impossible to use something purchased in accordance with fair use, and the excessively high prices for their products, are the real issues.

      I can't get from Comcast's subscription service, a movie I can play on my laptop while on a long commute. For the most part, I can't get that from the DVD manufacturer's either, with the various DRM restrictions.

      So yes, SOMEONE, needs to provide a PRODUCT that the consumer wants. Portable, flexible, and affordable.

      Phil

       

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      Maury Markowitz, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:31pm

      Re:

      > So "what customers want" is what they are selling.
      > That is established, it's a clear fact.

      I couldn't possibly disagree more, which suggests your definition of "clear fact" is erroneous.

      What do I, the customer, want? I want to watch any show, movie or any other media at any time I want to, and pay a reasonable price. Is this what the cable providers deliver? Absolutely not. So by any reasonable definition, "what customers want" is NOT what they are selling.

      What they are selling is expensive add-ons to deliver these functions in the most ridiculous fashion possible. Invariably the equipment they sell is the result of a captive market of equipment providers and cable execs hot-boxing in a room, creating products that look and work like trash.

      Consider my Scientific Atlanta cable box, for instance. The box is the size of a VCR, looks like it fell out of the 1980s, and has a remote control the size of book that looks like a toy.

      And what do I get for this? I get the exact same signals I got without the box (HD is extra), ridiculously slow channel switching that makes surfing a PITA, and a PPV system that offers movies I'd never want to watch for prices that are more that Blockbuster.

      Is this "what customers want"? No, it's not.

      What customers want is what I have in the bay directly next to the Scientific Atlanta box, an Apple TV. The Apple TV looks like it fell from space, is the size of 2 CD cases stacked, has a remote control the size of a stick of gum, uses a fast-reacting menu system that a child can figure out (mine did) and offers me thousands of movies and TV shows in HD for prices lower than a DVD from Blockbuster. The same is true for the XBox and PS3.

      I would suggest that THAT is "what customers want".

      The "clear fact" is that the pirates offer a better product. They offer HD on demand for free. For some people the "free" is the point. For others it's the "HD on demand".

      If the rumors are true and Apple is going to offer all-you-can-eat TV on a subscription basis, then that's it, my cable goes in the trash as soon as I can get through the switchboard. And if Apple doesn't do it, someone else is going to. Someone out there is going to offer "what customers want", and everything I've seen suggests that it's not going to be the cable providers.

      They're scared to death that new companies will come in and turn them into "dumb wires". They should be scared, because someone is going to. And to deal with this problem, instead of giving us "what customers want", they are instead trying to ruin our internet experience. That is a failed business model.

      Do you want to know how bad it is? Toronto has one of the highest penetrations of cable out there (or did anyway). In the last six months, UHF antennas have been sprouting up everywhere. Why? Because you can get 10 to 12 channels of perfect 1080i HDTV from a $15 antenna, while the cable companies want to charge you $60 a month PER TELEVISION for the same thing.

      So, sorry, I disagree.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

      Re:

      I think you assume that piracy is the the problem and that the focus should be what's in the best interest of the rich and the powerful and not what's in the best interest of the general public. This should NOT be the focus.

      First of all, one think you forget is that there are plenty of people willing to create and distribute content under creative commons clauses and similar licenses. This includes news and such and Techdirt, while they do not have a license, offers its content for free.

      The problem is that the corrupt thugs who run mainstream media and our government have created a regulatory structure that makes it impractical for actual news and content to make its way onto mainstream media. Instead we have a corrupt mainstream media that presents only one side of an issue and no others and they often distort the facts and lies and they give us nothing but commercials and lies and it's extremely overpriced because of the regulatory structure they've created (ie: government granted monopolies on cable infrastructure).

      Unfortunately for them right now the Internet offers people whom create content an opportunity to distribute news and sell products and distribute content for free under whatever license they choose. Still, thanks to stolen monopoly rents that the government unethically grants the Internet in the U.S. is still way overpriced. But your problem is that you're not happy with the competition and you want to turn the Internet into the same overpriced nonsense that mainstream media has become where it becomes impractical for independent artists/musicians/etc... to freely distribute their work. YOUR focus is what's best for INDUSTRY, what's best for the status quo, what's best for the rich and the powerful and you have NO regard for what's best for society as a whole.

      "I would have to guess that you are suggesting that the cable companies should drop their subscription model. Perhaps they could run on donations, or perhaps upsell people to dinner with a technician, perhaps selling limited edition "I met the cable company president" t-shirts, or perhaps autographed limited edition flat screen TVs that they could sell for double the price of normal."

      Or perhaps they can offer a decent product at a decent price. What they need to do is DROP THEIR UNETHICALLY STOLEN monopolies. We need the government to allow anyone to COMPETE on the infrastructure so that the FREE MARKET can give consumers what they want. But instead your sole focus is "what's best for the profit margins of the rich and the powerful" with NO regard for what's best for society. This attitude needs to die and the government needs to stop succumbing to people with your attitude just because they want bribes/campaign contributions.

       

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      Gimfred, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 3:44pm

      Re:

      It is actually easier to be illegal and get what you want than it is to purchase the material legally. I've caught myself several times from obtaining 'programming' (I want books) and also been frustrated when I wanted one thing and it was only available in: another country, a format that restricted my ability to use it (or carry it around), had watermarks that made it terrible to view or limited to a resolution or size that made it useless for viewing.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:41pm

      Re:

      Yeah, customers want the content, but they don't want it on the cable companies terms. Bundling crappy channels with good ones? Wrapping all content in cumbersome DRM (ala cable card)? These are the reasons I cut the cord. For the $100/month that cable costs ($1200/year), I can purchase season passes to the TV shows I care about on iTunes. I also watch stuff on Hulu. The content creators get money for creating a good product and I'm not paying an expensive middle man for anything more than the dumb pipe.

      Why don't these companies accept that they are a dumb pipe and be the best damn dumb pipe possible. And maybe they should recognize that the Internet content other companies are providing drives customers to pay for these dumb pipes. If anything, AT&T/Comcast/etc should be paying Google for providing a compelling service that drives customers to pay for internet connectivity, just as cable companies today pay for the cable channels they provide.

       

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      Jeremy (profile), Nov 8th, 2009 @ 4:16pm

      Re:

      Hail, Socialism. Strange that big companies such as newspapers, banks, etc, etc all disliked the ideas of Socialism until they started failing. Now it's a fantastic idea to legislate business all over the place.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2009 @ 9:29pm

      Re:

      You don't get it do you? What needs to change is not pricing it is the model of pricing. Execs like to micro manage right? So figure out what each channel is worth (reasonably) and charge per Channel. Let Customers pick and choose what channels they want. This sad "packages" deal is pretty worthless as in what if I want The Comedy channel but don't care about CNN or vice versa. I have to go up one channel "package" get 15 more channels I am never going to watch. Charge me for the channels I want to watch not 10 that I won't. Also dose he want us to get use to poor customer service is that something the consumer is asking to much of?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:04am

    yeah, cause my behavior was to call them this week and cancel my service after 12 years. Now I am going to have to threaten them with a harrasment charge if they don't stop calling my house and asking me to not disconnect as they call 2-3 times a day.

    ComCRAP!

     

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    Robert Ring (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:17am

    I thought "Marketing Myopia" was pretty much required reading at any business school. Apparently this guy missed that assignment.

     

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      Free Capitalist (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:23am

      Re:

      I thought "Marketing Myopia" was pretty much required reading at any business school.


      I think so. But since every "noteworthy" college has switched to a strictly for-profit business model, any Animal, Pauly Shore or Mr. Magoo can buy a diploma.

      Myopia is pandemic in times of significant change. Then again some "older" folks are just really, really delusional about the world around them. I should know...

       

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    Steve R. (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Blame the Customer

    This is exactly what some pundit recently said on TV. To bad I can't remember the product, the who, what, when, or where. What I do remember was being stunned by the phrase "low customer acceptance". Clearly, if customers are not accepting your product - drop it or revise your business model. Don't put the blame on the customer for not buying!

     

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    Dave, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    Distribution costs nothing

    Perhaps the subject line is overstating it slightly, but overall the costs for DISTRIBUTING digital content is close to nothing once it is set up. This is why P2P distribution works. If it cost the people who put the content onto the P2P networks money, then you would not see this level of P2P distribution. But once again P2P works because DISTRIBUTION costs nothing.

    The problem with Comcast and other content distributors is that they want to charge a relative fortune to DISTRIBUTE content. The model has changed because DISTRIBUTION costs next to nothing. I'm not saying running their business costs nothing, but the costs are there because of the way the DISTRIBUTION business model is set up. Therefore their DISTRIBUTION model needs to change because of competition brought about by lower DISTRIBUTION costs. Much the same way that iTunes changed the distribution model for music and very successfully "competes with free" P2P. Perhaps not as profitably as the old model because the old model called for monopoly/oligopoly rents based on tremendously high barriers to entry.

    On the other hand, the cost for running and maintaining the physical cables is so much higher that there are still high barriers to entry. So Comcast and the other distribution companies can charge fairly high rents for their physical pipes which economically speaking is fine.

    @AC post 11 - There is a difference when you say "get rid of your cable" (I assume you mean cable television), "get rid of your internet connection". They 2 separate things. The cable companies have long combined the two, but because the internet makes DISTRIBUTING content near zero they are 2 separate things. The model that needs to change is not how they charge for the physical internet connections (although with competition it would improve), but how they charge and deliver the content. The issues that people have with the physical pipe companies is that they are trying to use their monopolies on the pipes to force us into getting content from them at monopoly prices. I see this as no different than the anti-trust issues of Windows bundling IE.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    SELL! SELL NOW!

    If this is the kind of people Comcast has running its business, then it would be a very good idea to sell any Comcast stock you have right now. The future looks very bleak if this is the management in charge. It sounds like he is infected with "management by entitlement" philosophy which believes it is the inherent right of any business to have people send it money no matter how badly the company is serving the customers. Obviously he missed the day in Econ 101 class when they talked about the concept of "Consumer Sovereignty."

     

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    NullOp, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:11am

    Ha!

    How's that for an example of "Dumber than a bag of hinges"?

    And people with that kind of thought pattern run large companies. Its no wonder this country is going to Hell in a handbasket!

     

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    Chris in Utah, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:18am

    One would say Burke... Bernake anyone?

    I lost my Comcast int 77 days ago. Couldn't afford the dam bill after my 6 month "promo" disappeared.

    After looking at Quest DSL alternative... NOT! For a basic 12 Meg 233 dollar first bill. They just figured after I completed the order and got the total I wouldn't say cancel the order.

    So finnaly settled on a local Cell company's 3g USB stick. 44/month after 4 dollars in new taxes imposed by Utah on anything wireless.

    I wonder if Burke is code for Bail Under-Read to Kill the Economy. Nay Everything.

     

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    Bradley Stewart, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:21am

    Hey My Drain Is Clogged!

    I live in a rather large Condominium Association Complex. The association doesn't want the residents pouring drain cleaner down the drains in their apartments when their drains get clogged because over time it ruins the pipes. The pronouncement of an edict is one thing. Getting people to comply is another. The solution, charge everyone the same amount to unclog their drains as it would to go out and buy the drain cleaner, do it themselves with no guarantee of success on their part yet with the surety that the engineering department will get the job done right. When selling a service one has to appeal to people's sense of reason.

     

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    Noisewater, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:24am

    Comcast on changing customer behavior

    Didn't General Motors try this? Keep it up Concast and you will go the way of Pontiac.

     

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    WammerJammer (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    Comcast Exec: We Need To Change Customer Behavior, Not Our Business Model

    This time I agree with the author of the article. I have said it over and over that I would gladly pay a reasonable monthly fee to be able to download, listen to, and watch whatever I find on the Internet. I don't want to sell the content or even give away copies of it and a lot of the time I don't even keep a copy after examining it.
    If the content was available legally for people then we wouldn't give the guys at the MPAA and the RIAA a job.
    They would be out of business and would simply cease to matter.
    What this tells me is that many people would rather receive their NEWS, MUSIC and VIDEO on the internet. It makes it easy to do and instead of fighting and alienating an entire market why don't they come up with a payment plan for the consumer. It has to be a reasonable fee because every penny is profit for them on the Internet. They don't have to have any media for the product. It's seems like a great way to market a product. It reminds me of Insurance, Money for Nothing.

     

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    Matthew McIntyre, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Comcast doesnt share

    Comcast already has a monopoly in many states and they have paid a judge to rule in favor that cable and satalite sevices are one and the same technology, witch we all know to be BS. Therby cercumventing the laws. Comcast knows for one that Satalite does not work very well in inner cities. Also Comcast does not even try to offer service in rural places unless the town pays for the cableing and instalation of the cables. Conclusion is whatever we the consummer wants we wont get unless we get laws changed and find other cable companies who are not affraid of Comcast.

     

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    Spanky, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:50am

    re

    Burke is a child.

    If he offers me something worth paying for, I'll pay for it. Otherwise, I won't. That's business, too. My purpose in life is not to insure profits for Comcast.

    I wonder if the dumb ass ever stops to realize how many customers this costs him.

     

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    Glenn, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:50am

    You know what they say...

    "The customer is always right... except when it endangers our revenue stream."

    You know what else, if customers aren't willing to pay you for your product, then maybe your product sucks; or, at the very least, it's over-priced.

     

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    JamesGT, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:55am

    What I want...

    How about charging me $20 a month, on top of my internet service fees and I can download anything I want, from anywhere. Send that money to the RIAA, MPAA, whoever you want to...they can keep it for a legal fund to defend thier customers, I don't care. Even charge me $40 or $50 a month.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:09am

      Re: What I want...

      This doesn't actually need to be done. The HULU model shows that content industries can still make money through advertisements, the same way they made money off of television.

       

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        Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:38pm

        Re: Re: What I want...

        Yeah, not only that, but for the first time in forever I actually intend to buy something I saw advertised.

        Can't remember the last time that happened on TV, but then I can only barely remember the last time I watched TV.

         

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    Scott, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Comcast exec comments...

    Mr. Burke's remarks fall perfectly in line with the indifferent response I recently received regarding an inquiry about Comcast's slow go in offering more HD in Atlanta...It's time to kick them to the curb....

     

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    Valued Customer, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:23am

    I have a question that never ever seems to come up in all of these discussions. Why do I need to pay AGAIN for the content I ALREADY pay for.

    I pay $200+ a month to the local cable company for ALL channels. Which means I have purchased the right to view ALL of those channels. What difference does it make if I watch it on my TV, download from a P2P/usenet, get it on Hulu or whomever. I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR IT. This is just double/triple dipping on something I've already paid for. I remember when it was LEGAL to VCR an entire series and keep those tape to watch OVER and OVER.

    Welcome to the new corporate way. We've reached saturation and need to find new revenue streams since we've already sold it!

    REALLY PISSED CONSUMER!

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:29am

    The Last Mile

    The "last mile (wikipedia link)" is the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer.

    What most telcom execs are afraid of including Steve Burke's, is that customers are beginning to realize that Cable, Verizon, ATT, local ISP's are just last mile providers. They are just information pipes for content delivery and all the content is available elsewhere for less or free.

    Walmart Sells a device called Ooma VOIP it costs $179 USD and the VOIP service is free, you can find other VOIP devices for less. comcasts charges $24.95 USD for VOIP service.

    Comcast charges $44.99 USD for basic digital cable service, broadcast not when you want it but on their schedule. Most of the shows can be found for free a day later at Hulu, SyFy (stupid name change IMO), TNT, etc.

    Comcast internet access cost $57 USD a month after 6 months, High speed DSL (without bandwidth throttling) $29.95 a month.

    What all this means is, for the cost of an internet connection ($29.95 USD), you can get all the services and content that cable provides. As the last mile infrastructure is built out over the next 5 to 10 years and/or DSL becomes faster, cable companies will become less and less relevant. What Steve Burke is trying to do is stay relevant in an age where technology is making his company less relevant.

     

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    R. Miles (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Which means I have purchased the right to view ALL of those channels.
    Actually, you're confusing distribution with service. You have the right to use the services to view distributed content.

    You're *not* paying for the television show.

    In fact, several cable companies had to deal with Viacom's ridiculous request for an increase of licensing fees.

    Thus proving the two separate entities.

    And $200 to pay for "ALL" channels? What the heck do you watch worth $200 a month or were you shanghaied into paying extra for that tier so you can watch a channel otherwise not available?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:33am

    Steve Burke, COO of Comcast just confirmed a long held truth. He is why I will never be a Comcast customer.

    I wish him luck.

     

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    chris (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:47am

    comcast revenues are up

     

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    Maniac in a Speedo'd, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:54am

    It's like a bad relationship... Comcast wants us to change, so we change because we love them. Then they leave us because we're not the same people that they fell in love with in the first place.

    It's best if Comcast just leaves us and goes out looking for new people to screw.

     

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    Walter, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    How do you get this guy's job?

    If I ran a company and said that the problem was my customers, I am pretty sure that my shareholders wouldn't stand for that.

    "An entire generation is growing up, if we don't figure out how to change that behavior..."

    Maybe the problem is that Comcast is catering to too many tastes? Maybe Comcast needs to realize it really can't cater to every taste. How many channels are viewed by fewer than one share, or even 100 subscribers in a market or even on a head-end? Move that content to OnDemand. If you removed the deadweight, you can have more bandwidth on your system. More bandwidth on your system means more room for higher revenue services. Or a migration path for new technologies such as Mpeg4 or Docsis 3.0

    Basically, the company doesn't want to or can't invest into it's network. Probably back in the heyday of cheap money, little infrastructure investment was occuring. Now suddenly, it's the customer's fault? Amazing logic.

    After all, Most companies trade under one ticker symbol. Comcast is traded under six. (CMCSA CCW CCT CCS CCZ CMCSK) Money is available. If they need some to build out new services, why doesn't Comcast go public with a seventh set of stocks and seventh ticker?

    Or maybe the ticket is to buy an irrelevant company to your core business. Maybe NBC. There's your golden ticket ticket to success.

    And keep blaming the customer too.

     

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    ASTROBOY, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:02am

    Maybe its just too late

    The financial landscape is littered with businesses that grew, prospered, peaked and declined, and maybe died. When was the last time you priced a fountain pen? How about a typewriter? Been to the circus lately? The opera? A concert by a symphony orchestra? These were all major money makers once. There is no assurance that any business, however big and powerful, will make more and more money with each succeeding year. Movies, records, even software have all had their heyday. Maybe they all should simply consider the possibility that their future is smaller, leaner, less powerful businesses that DON'T make billions of dollars a year. No government and no citizenry should feel obligated to keep a business sector profitable simply because they once were profitable. Maybe the future doesn't have a place for movies and records. Maybe the next big thing is virtual sex or something else.

    Should we care about them and their problem? Well, they didn't care about you. They bled you dry. They charged you for tv because they would eliminate the commercials. Then they put them in anyway and raised the price. They trashed the theaters, impoverished all but the most famous musicians, moved their movie production to Canada yet cried you and I were putting American set painters out of work.

    No matter how innovative their new business models are, no matter how customer friendly they try to be, we are not going back to fountain pens and typewriters. And we will never buy music and movies like we did 20 years ago again.

     

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      Derek Reed (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 10:18am

      Re: Maybe its just too late

      This is a point to few people touch on, the landscape has, is, and will continue to change. I don't want Comcast to lower their prices or give away their business for free. I want them to either die, get smaller, or grow up and focus on something that is sustainable (like I don't know, an internet connection).

      What I don't want, as a participant in the ecosystem, is for them to keep mucking around with laws and "education" campaigns screwing things up for the rest of us.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    $90 a month for Comcast HD service & most regular channels.
    NO Nick HD, COM HD, Spike HD, G4 HD.

    $90 a month for U-Verse. Includes DVR, 1 extra box, All HD comcast has plus the ones above & more. Manage DVR via internet anywhere in the world, manage call history on TV, View photos from fliker........

    Welcome to competition comcast, your monopoly is ending and it couldn't have come faster. I have canceled your service after 15 years and I won't be coming back after having my pocketbook raped for that amount of time. Get a clue or get out!

    If comcast wants to stay in business, they should lower their prices and give more of what people want.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:43am

      Re:

      If comcast wants to stay in business, they should lower their prices and give more of what people want.

      You're an idiot. they aren't making enough money as it is! How can they stay in business if they charge less!?

       

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        NoName, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re:

        I'd say start by making it illegal for cablecos to "rent" cable modems. Remember when MaBell required you to rent a phone?

        They do this for a variety of reasons: 1) They are able to keep it on the books as a capital asset. 2) They can re-value the capital asset to reflect future revenue, not the actual manufacturing costs. 3) They are able to collect revenue from rentals it, helping with quarterly cashflow numbers.

        But, let's say a new technology comes out, such as DOCSIS 3.0, companies ultimately are stuck with a ton of assets and an overly complicated and drawn out upgrade path. It doesn't have to be difficult though-- Upgrade high utilization MTAs one at a time.


        A small rant:
        And perhaps that's why some jobs should be Crowdsourced. Comcast should sponsor a Insight Community study.

         

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        Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:45pm

        Re: Re:

        http://tinyurl.com/yk4wmt8

        I'm sorry, did you say something stupid? Yes, you did.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

        Re: Re:

        The government can remove the monopolies they have on the infrastructure and competition can offer a better product at a lower price. Then I guarantee they will either lower their price or go out of business but who cares because then the competitors are already offering a better product at a lower price.

         

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    Kevin Wilson, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    Comcast does not get their customers at all

    It is amazing how much information people can provide a company and yet it still flies so clearly over their tiny, greedy little heads. They are practically printing money in their business, yet they only seemed focused on what they believe their customers are doing wrong and how they can further exploit them, and not how they can build a customer loyalty by growing the services provided and available.

    Yes, our customers whom pay us ludicrous sums of money already, are thieves. We need to find more ways to charge them more money for the same things they have been getting. Is what I am taking away from this article.

    More and greater broadband coverage to everyone equates to more internet sales for everyone, faster, better. It is staring you right in the face Stoopid!

     

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    Bran Roberts Cerial Company, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:30am

    Congratulations, You Won!

    In the business, there's a term that is used that directly applies here called "Polish That Turd".

    How is Comcast going to Polish Steve Burke's Turd?

    While you wait, ask yourself: "Do I need popcorn?"
    Well, get a box of popcorn absolutely free when you switch to AT&T U-Verse, FiOS by Verizon, DirecTV, or Dish Network. Just mention to the operator about promo code "Steve Burke Gift"

    If your service isn't installed before Comcast "Polishes That Turd", you'll also get a month of service absolutely free.

    Don't Delay, Act Today!

     

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    waggiesgirl, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Comcast

    Comcast has found that over the years they could offer less and less programming and continue to increase the price of the programming. People pay for it because for many there is no other alternative. Based on your location there may be no FREE tv available in your area and the only provider is Comcast. At some point they should be reminded that they have happily pillaged their consumers for all they could get while offering as little as possible with no thought of customer service at all. Now the consumer has decided they don't want to take this bitter pill anymore.

    Boo Hoo Comcast you are no longer the bully on the block stealing lunch money from your consumers. The consumers are fighting back.

     

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    BPostal, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Change

    How about I just change from Comcast to another service provider? Does that count?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:51am

      Re: Change

      No, because the beahavior that want to change is "not paying Comcast." You have to respect their revenue stream, you see.

       

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    SRivera, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    All that I need it to hear!

    Thanks for the headp up dear CEO, I WILL make my change my behavior.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Here are my humble observations, I am not in the industry (or any other right now, as I was laid off.)

    The content has value obviously, because people don't pay or steal (ok, not steal, but violate the law to get it via file sharing, etc.) I think what this douchbag is saying is we just have to make sure people don't grow up thinking it is fine to just ignore and violate the law. I know there is a lot of smoke around "I just want to watch my shows when and where I want" but has anyone ever been charged with making personal copies or watching ripped content for their own use? Ever? I doubt it. It is file sharing that is the threat to the companies.

    I don't have Comcast, I have Cablevision. I pay $99 a month for voice/video/data. I think that is a pretty good deal. I don't do a whole lot of upload/download so have never run into any kind of bandwidth issues, which I would supppose applies to 90% of the customers that these companies have. How much money does file sharing cost me in terms of higher rates. Stores raise their prices to cover shoplifting (security, losses) so in effect, the cost of file sharing is spread out to those that don't do it. Why should I have to pay for people who don't follow the law?

    As for the cable companies/phone companies etc. only being the last mile, that is true, they don't create content, content that can be had on the Internet. They provide phone service that can be had (at cheaper rates) at Walmart. This is all true, but to use these services, you must use their Internet connection. Guess what, if the phone/content revenue goes down, what do you think will happen to the price of the Internet connection? I get all 3 from Cablevision for $99 (and I am 2 years outside of their 1 year trial pricing) but if all the revenue from phone/video goes away, do I expect to get Internet for $33? I think not and if you do, you are just kidding yourself.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 10:35am

      Re:

      "Why should I have to pay for people who don't follow the law?"

      You already do in ways that go beyond what you pay for "information access".

      Not all filesharing is illicit.

      I am also willing to bet that more people hog bandwidth via youtube than through illicit filesharing.

       

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    dean collins, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    monopoly

    As long as comcast are prepared to give up their exclusive monopoly then they can charge what they like.

    therwise flat rate for everyone and net neurtality thanks.

     

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    Jay, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Attn: You can control consumers!

    It is possible to change consumer behavior! It's called advertising. Value is a perception. When your perception of value is reached, you cannot help but hand over the money!

     

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    Peter K, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 9:36am

    Respect where respect is due

    I have been using TIVO, DVRs and whatever else I can find in order to protect my hear drums from constant high volume attacks every 5 minutes. They can invade my house and increase the decibel level but I cannot copy a product that I already bought a few times?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    We have to make sure the new generation still prefers black and white television so we don't have to spend money on color!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Somebody pull Burke's head out of that hole? It must be rather dark and lonely there up his ass.

     

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    PPNSteve, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    I'm afraid my comments would be censored right off the site. so I'll just say, "Oh wow!" and "insane" top it off with a little "greedy co execs are falling out of the woodworks all over the place"

    No, I'm sorry, you CAN'T force us to change to your 'feed the corporate bottom line" mentality. We want what we want, openly without strings attached, and will willingly pay for it if (IF) the value is good.

     

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    Duffy Johnson, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    What are the network utilization numbers?

    The speech given sounds more like a plea. This seems like the plausible situation they're in:

    Comcast has grown too big, maybe have too many customers, and are in a situation where it's difficult to service them all *right now*.

    Maybe Comcast doesn't have capital or manpower to invest capital into additional major network buildouts or launch more efficient Customer Premises Equipment, so they desire to find a way to reduce the number of high-cost customers, and replace them with highly profitable customers, all while attempting to not look like the bad guy.

    So they float a trial balloon to see if this could be accomplished through the legal process.


    If I had to guess, the unemployment numbers also plays a factor: as more people become unemployed, they may be more likely to spend time at home watching YouTube or updating printer drivers (some of which are 500mb in size), plugging in old computers and downloading 140-someodd Windows servicepacks, trying Ubuntu and CentOS because the printer drivers didn't work, or listening to streaming audio or video. All this adds overhead to a once under-utilized network.

    If more people were employed, Comcast's network would probably have less utilization during peak hours.

     

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    Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    "Would you prefer that they sold you 1Mbps at the same price, and gave it to you full? Nope. Marketing says that you want MORE bandwidth, even if it isn't possible at the price they are selling it at. So you end up with the issue that marketing and reality don't match. They could cut your bandwidth in half, but then you wouldn't want to pay, because it wouldn't be 12Mbps." Yes, we want more bandwidth. That doesn't mean telling me that I am getting more, but not delivering. This is a ridiculous statement. I would absolutely pay for a 1Mbps connection if I knew that I was going to get it, all the time, no matter what. Obviously that connection would be cheaper than a 12Mbps connection, except in your world.

     

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    Anon, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Fuck you Steve Burke!

    Fuck you Steve Burke! You are yet another great example as to why the US is having so many problems right now. Why? B/c we have fucking idiots like him him running our corporations and saying stupid shit like that. Yet another embarrassment towards leadership and intelligence. Steve Burke you still don't get it so Fuck You!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Having that whole quoted text in italics is hard on the eyes.

     

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    byteme, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:33pm

    Here is the main problem I have with the Cable business model, which I think many people share:

    I pay something in the neighborhood of $80/month for Digital Cable (my total bill is higher because it includes internet service). This is at least 4 times what I paid years ago for cable, but back then I used to get only about 50 channels, whereas now I get something like 500+ channels.

    I used to only watch about 10-12 of those 50 channels years ago. Now I watch about...let's see...10-12 of the 500+ channels I get. I still spend about the same amount of time watching cable, too. Granted the picture is way better, but there are also WAY more commercials. Is 4x the cost worth the same amount of useful content (with way more ads, btw) with a better picture?

    Of course, I could pay about $10 less to get a more minimal subscription, but I would lose more than half the channels I normally watch. That would leave me with around 4-5 useful channels for about $70/month -- hardly a good value.

    So to get the dozen channels I want, in good quality, I'm forced to pay for 488+ channels of crap that I will never watch. Plus the price goes up constantly.

    I would have dropped cable long ago if it weren't for the other members of my household. It's just not worth the price.

    Let's face it. If the cable/satellite companies had any real competition, they wouldn't be able to get away with bundling and charging the way they do. We'd all be paying more reasonable prices, could watch any content we want on demand with few, if any, commercials and hardly anyone would download/pirate.

    Piracy is almost always the result of industry overpricing and failing to meet the needs/wants of consumers. In the face of widespread piracy, the correct question for content providers is, "What are we not doing right?"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

      Re:

      Piracy is almost always the result of industry overpricing and failing to meet the needs/wants of consumers.

      Sorry, but I think piracy is a result of people finding out they can get something cheaper when they steal it, and feel that there is no risk of getting caught.

      If people were getting arrested or paying large fines on a daily basis for pirating on the internet, piracy would slow way down. Risk versus reward: Pay the cable company $40 a month for service, or download the stuff and enjoy for free. It's a no brainer, and there is no way for a cable company to compete with thieves and illegal distribution.

       

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        Another AC, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, keep believing that downloads are a lost sale.

        Keep believing that people would rather go through the hassle and security issues of bit torrent and limewire.

        Just keep believing all this crap when in the end it is nothing more than a weak excuse to control consumers and strip away our rights for your own greed.

        The customer is always right. Give them a good reason to pay and they will. Make it so ridiculously easy to get the content at a fair price and consumers will pay. I know I would.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 3:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Hint: If you want to be taken remotely seriously, you might want to learn the definition of a word that first graders understand.

         

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        byteme, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:02pm

        Re: Re:

        Where is widespread piracy of IP most rampant? In countries where people generally make a fraction of the wages we make in the US, yet CDs, DVDs, software, etc are still priced high. In these countries, physical piracy, not just internet piracy, is rampant because the content providers have grossly priced themselves beyond what the market will bear.

        More, more, more! That is the mantra of these companies. Too much is never enough. They have to maintain control, maintain their monopolies or oligopolies so that they can continue making minimal investment and drawing maximum profit from as many people as they can.

        What they don't understand is, if they invest in providing quality goods and services and priced them fairly, they would get less profit from each customer, but they would increase their customer base exponentially and thereby increase their profits even more. But, they haven't had to compete in so long, they don't know any other way to run a business.

        You have so little faith in consumers. Well, consumers have lost all faith in the companies, because they have proven time and again that when they reach for us like they want to give us a hand, they are always just reaching for our pockets to remove our wallets. These are the ones who are preaching morality to the rest of us.

        Btw, I don't file-share and yes, I pay my excessive cable/internet bill each month. However, I don't know how much longer I can continue paying these ever increasing fees, which means I may go back to watching over-the-air TV and reading. They risk losing my money, even without my resorting to piracy.

        Sorry to disappoint those of you who assume I will pirate "because I can."

         

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        Jason, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:02pm

        Re: Re:

        I'd like a big frozen fish that I can slap you with over and over with the words, "It's not stealing!" written on it. But even then you wouldn't get a clue about what is stealing and what is infringement.

        Even the US Supreme Court has covered this.

        It's infringement of a right that we gave and that we can collectively decide to take away. We are in the evaluation process of that decision. You call it piracy, but don't worry. The history books will not.

         

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    heretic, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    SEC Filings

    Forget about ethics, morality, ideals, consumer behaviour, etc. To understand the absurdity of Burke's comments all one has to do is review the revenue and earnings statements in Comcasts SEC filings.

    In a horrific economy where people are losing their jobs and other companies are experiencing a 20% to 40% drop in revenues Comcast is continually reporting year over year increases in revenues and gross profits.

    It is obvious from the comments coming out of companies like Comcast over the past couple of years contrasted against their financial performance that the real issue is a desire to increase gross margins without investment in future technology but instead by squeezing the customer to pay more for less. And why, because that is what COOs do? No, its necessary to maintain the bloated $26 million dollar compensation package for the CEO and the multi-million dollar packages of the others on the board.

    If customer behaviour needs to be modified it needs to be adjusted to stop supporting the greed that currently makes it so the workers who actually produce the products and services that build wealth having to borrow until they are in debt to the hilt just to live an average standard of living in an industrialized nation.

    This is not capitalism, this is highway robbery. This is not capitalism, this is serfdom.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

    Biff Humble is a terrible shill. He is actually doing harm to the copyright maximalist approach with his insipid arguments.

    Listen up shills, your failed argumentative models are useless in the 21st century.

    Adapt or be shuttered silent.

     

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    Daemon_ZOGG, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:11pm

    HEY BURKE!! " }:> "

    Either find something that works FOR consumers. Or move to the side of the road. To survive, YOU need US! Not the other way around. If comcast fails, it doeasn't really matter to us at all. We'll simply move on to one of the millions of other resources out there. And you'll be yesterday's news. You rants are sounding like "8-track tapes" already. And you know what happend to those...
    Go ahead. See if we care.. ;(

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:55pm

    Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

    As Dark Helmet already did. The criminal part of copyright infringement pertains to those who SHARE the copyrighted work, not those who receive it.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 9th, 2009 @ 6:26am

      Re: Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

      "As Dark Helmet already did. The criminal part of copyright infringement pertains to those who SHARE the copyrighted work, not those who receive it."

      Heh, no, I understood that when I read it. I still had it wrong that copyright infringement as a whole was a civil matter. Every once in a while, even Lord Helmet gets one wrong...

       

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    sqpantz, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 6:08pm

    Cable companies need to hold on to live HD sports programming like grim death. That's the ONLY thing they have left that's keeping me paying for their overpriced diluted service.

     

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    Sun Tzu, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:47pm

    I take the position of the moral hedonist, if I can't get content for free I am suffering. In order to resolve this, steal and I get what I want, all is well.

    I have no respect for anyone or anything and if I can take what I want and will, for that is the ethical position. Everything can and will be free and I implore the rest of you to start doing the same.

    On a side note I have the largest collection of DVDs, Bluray discs, and games out of any one I know numbering in the thousands of each. All of which were legally purchased. If it weren't for piracy, I wouldn't know what to buy and instead would spend nothing.

     

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    test, Nov 7th, 2009 @ 2:02am

    It looks like an MBA person

    What can i say, it looks like thought by an MBA person

     

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    Sarah, Nov 7th, 2009 @ 6:11am

    Obvious really.

    How obvious. Not lets not give the consumer what they want and essentially what we've promised since the inception of cable TV but instead we'll do our damndest to make the consumer our compliant little revenue stream.

    What does the consumer want? Video-on-Demand. Watch what they want, when they want, preferably where they want on what they want to watch it on. At an affordable price. The ability to pick and choose your content and have it delivered to your TV was a huge selling point and a "comming soon" in the early days of cable.

    It has yet to truly emerge and the few services that have promised this have been region locked of limited quality and have failed to deliver on the "WHEN" aspect.

    The grey area of legalities surrounding AllOfMP3 aside, it's rampant popularity shows that, yes, given the choice the vast majority of people will happily pay for content. So long as its delivered in a format people want at a fair price (variable depending on the format and quality there of).

    Have the media companies taken this onboard? Have they decided that there is gold in that there Internet on a global scale never before seen? No. They've buried their heads in the sand and desperatley trying to maintian a grip on the reigns.

    If the media companies don't want to change, you can be the production companies who actually make the content will. We've already seen the first few, tentative signs that this is happening.

    Comcast, FOX, BBC, etal need to move very very quickly now or they will find themselves as utterly irrelevant to increasingly larger sections of the population.

     

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    Pierre, Nov 7th, 2009 @ 7:14am

    Q: Who are the greatest pirates? A: Corporations

    GROUPAMA was caught in a $200m software PIRACY case.

    GROUPAMA argued that BANK SECRECY entitled it to limit the scope of Police investigations. As incredible as it may sound (and as illegal as it is), doing so, GROUPAMA managed to scupper the criminal case.

    Here is the ruling:

    http://remoteanything.com/archives/groupama.pdf

     

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    Shazam!, Nov 7th, 2009 @ 7:58am

    There is very little competition where I live. For example, I pay $120 for my cable service. That price doesn't include any HD channels. The quality is poor and suffers quite badly from glitchy audio and video. To get dual tuner PVR capability would cost me nearly $1000 as they don't rent set top boxes. The only reason I haven't bought one yet is because my research revealed they have a tendency to crash, often resulting in a loss of all recorded content. I do have a third party DVR hooked up via the analog jacks but I'm not always able to record stuff due to the fact that my cable company abuses CGMS flags. All of this is why I feel justified when downloading shows, which is pretty much all I use Bittorrent for these days. I'm paying a license fee and only downloading material I would have been able to record had I set the timer on my PVR, so why should I feel bad? Now if some competition came along that actually provided excellent service at lower prices, I would jump ship in a heart beat and stop downloading altogether, proof that sometimes it really is about companies and how they should be forced to adapt, not the other way around.

     

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    davesmall, Nov 8th, 2009 @ 7:56am

    I hate Comcast

    My cable bill runs $200 per month including TV, VOIP phone service, and Internet connection. I hate Comast and think my bill should be more like $50 per month. What I hate the most is their bundling strategy. My cable TV has more channels than I can count but I only want about 8 or 10 of them (mainly HD). I want a dumb pipe to the internet and pay for only what I want. If they think they're going to 'train me' they've got another think coming.

     

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    Ingvend Storrs, Nov 8th, 2009 @ 8:01am

    Whiny Civilian Under Naval Training (C.U.N.T.)

    It's too bad when square thinkers attempt to fit their ideas into round holes. He's just pissed that the world isn't operating by his personal optimisation model.

     

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    Ingvend Storrs, Nov 8th, 2009 @ 8:05am

    Move to a Nordic Nation

    On the whole, internet connection speeds in the U.S. suck to hell in a hand-basket, despite the fact that the U.S. is the country of origin for the technology. If you want average fast service at a decent price, move to Sweden, Finland, or Denmark. Japan is great too.

    Comcast is a monopoly, and a bad one at that.

     

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    Jon Davidson, Nov 9th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Comcast COO

    Two words Steve Burke... bite me!

     

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    imergent181, Nov 10th, 2009 @ 9:03pm

    iMegent financials on Yahoo.

    This is a great introduction for small business owners wanting to establish a web presence. I am working on updating own blog to make it easier to find old articles and the most popular ones.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2009 @ 1:54am

    Irrelevant Comcast is Irrelevant

    Comcast is irrelevant if local broadcasters delivered their content on local broadcaster's digital channels.

    Using the new digital mandate, a broadcaster can broadcast several channels in the same FCC space as one analog channel.

    For example, if NBC and NBC Affiliates carried Bravo, MSNBC, Weather Channel, on their newfound bandwidth, Comcast is irrelevant.

    If local CBS affiliates also carried Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, BET, and Nickelodeon, they would not need Comcast.

    If ABC decided to carry the Disney Channel, ESPN, A&E, and Lifetime using their new Digital bandwidth, they would not need Comcast.

    Comcast is irrelevant.

     

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    Michele, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 5:59pm

    re:

    sometimes you need to pick the fight you can win and not the one you want to win.

     

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