Funny How Positions On Things Shift Based On Who's Getting Money, Eh?

from the don't-pay-attention-to-what-we-said-last-week dept

We’ve had two interesting submissions today concerning hearings up in Canada that would allow TV broadcasters to charge cable and satellite companies to include their channels. These are the basic networks that are naturally available over the air. David Canton points out why this is suicidal on the part of the broadcasters who are losing viewers left and right due to competition from many different angles. Making it more expensive for people to see their content hardly seems like a good strategy to increase viewership. Second, he points out that the broadcasters argue they need these fees since they need to upgrade to HDTV and advertisers won’t pay more for HDTV. Canton suggests this is ridiculous, since there’s strong demand from people with HD sets to get more HDTV programming. If the networks upgraded, it would help grow their audience, allowing them to make more money on advertising. All good points that highlight the short-term thinking of the broadcasters, which may hurt their long-term viability. Amusingly, the broadcasters seem to be taking the opposite position that broadcasters in the US took, a decade ago, when they fought hard to put in place must-carry rules to make sure they were included in cable and satellite programming.

The other submission (with the link to the original Toronto Star report above) comes from someone named Dave who points out the irony of Canadian cable mogul Ted Rogers trashing the proposal in the article. He points out that Rogers has been a strong advocate for ditching any kind of network neutrality rules so they can block certain services or charge customers more for them — basically the same thing the broadcasters are trying to do now. In other words, Rogers’ complaint that “consumers won’t be happy paying more and getting nothing new for it” applies equally to the argument from his own company (and plenty of others) that broadband providers should be able to charge service providers like Google and Vonage extra to reach their users. Once again, it’s all about who is doing the paying. While the costs will eventually be passed on to the consumers either way, Rogers doesn’t seem to mind when the fees go into his pocket, as when they go into someone else’s.

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Comments on “Funny How Positions On Things Shift Based On Who's Getting Money, Eh?”

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Paul says:

The problem.

A network going HD right now won’t necessarily yield them a larger audience as HDTVs are still relatively rare in American households, among other reasons.

Will I watch a certain channel more if they upgrade to HD? No. HD won’t make a bad show any better. I’m not going to watch The Apprentice over reruns of Seinfeld simply because it is in HD.
Your average Joe who doesn’t even own an HDTV will care even less if a network is broadcasting in HD.

As for the cable aspect of it.. If you want HD channels from Comcast then you have to pay extra for it for two reasons: because they can, because you need to get a digital cable box. The same applies for receiving broadcast stations in HD over cable, not just cable stations.
If I wanted to get HD NBC over Comcast then I would have to upgrade my package to digital cable which is going to be another $20 a month, plus another $10 a month for the digital receiver box, PLUS another $20 to receive HD channels.

It is not just the broadcast stations that need to get their act together if thise whole HDTV revolution is going to come around.

Spotty says:

Re: The problem.

I like how you just pull numbers out of the air. I get comcast HDTV with the DVR box and all the HD channels they offer and its just not true that you pay $50 extra for these features. I am also tired of people stating the ownership rate of HD sets is so low when they are selling well and I know a lot of people that are upgrading in the next few months or already have. I do agree HD does not make bad tv better but it does make me watch shows I might not otherwise (ie heros, some discovery channel docs., sporting events). I understand if HD is not your bag of tea but it is no longer outrageously expensive and you should not just pull random numbers out of the air to support your weak argument.

Unknowledgeable Geek says:

Re: Re: The problem.

I am going to have to agree with the random numbers. That is exactly what I pay with Comcast in VA (right outside of DC). To the tee. So get off his back and just b/c you pay something somewhere, doesn’t mean everyone pays that everywhere.

After a little research, 1.7% of houses currently own HDTV’s. That can’t be price related, could it?

Anonymous Coward says:

the funny thing is that sinclair broadcasting is trying to force mediacom to pay millions to carry their affiliate broadcasts in areas like des moines and others, yet they don’t realize we can just turn off our cable boxes and it’s right there for free, no reason to make the cable companies charge us more per month to still get their crappy programming

Stu says:

The switch to HD was mandated by the US government, so that it could eventually sell the frequencies we presently use to private industry.

Their rationale is that it would infuse bucks into governement coffers.

But that income happens only one time.

It’s great for the companies that buy the frequencies, since they’ll make plenty of profit on them – forever.

It’s a gigantic windfall for the TV makers. I wish the government would mandate that all of my customers buy my new more expensive models.

I admit that HD is nice; but I don’t have any complaints with standard definition TV. Neither did I ever hear a complaint about it before all this BS started.

Why aren’t the people who always complain about taxes up in arms about this ripoff?

RevMike (user link) says:

Re: Re:

The switch to HD was mandated by the US government, so that it could eventually sell the frequencies we presently use to private industry.

Not quite true. The government mandated a switch to a digital broadcasting standard – ATSC. That standard supports HD at 1080i 16:9, ED at 720i or 720p, the 480i 4:3 equivalent to standard analog broadcast, and an array of intermediate quality levels. You won’t need to buy a HD tv anytime soon, but you will need to buy either a digital converter box or a digital tuner tv in order to receive OTA tv in the near future.

Mousky says:

Ted Rogers needs to look in the mirror

Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Rogers of the various ‘fees’ he charges his cellphone customers. There is the ‘one time’ new account setup fee. There is the monthly system access fee. There is the hardware upgrade fee (which coincidently is the same as the ‘one time’ account setup fee). I wonder how his cellphone customers think about paying for more and getting less?

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