by Joseph Weisenthal

TV's Protectionism In Reruns Again

from the been-here-before dept

The TV networks face an increasingly difficult balancing act, as they try to embrace new forms of distribution (like iTunes and VOD), while not upsetting the regional affiliates whose monopolies let them pay big bucks for shows in syndication. Current attempts to walk the line involve geofiltering of content (e.g. a baseball game can be sold in all markets other than its home market), though place-shifting technology threatens to erode even this. Other than for local content, it's hard to see what role the regional affiliates will play. Naturally, some hope to use the law to preserve their positions, either by clamping down on how the internet is used, or forcing the place-shifters, like Slingbox, to share their revenue. Either way, they're basically asking for a subsidy to preserve a growingly irrelevent business. Imagine that. That would be like wanting to tax VOIP to keep the telcos in business. Oh wait.

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  • identicon
    giafly, 16 Mar 2006 @ 8:51am

    Different Formats, Different Audiences

    This place-shifting technology seems to be about showing low-res videos on hand-held devices to day-time travellers.

    But real sports fans want to watch high-res programming on big screens in the evening.

    The audiences would seem to be different and I'd have thought regional affiliates are mainly interested in the high-res programs, so is there a problem?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      VisiX, 16 Mar 2006 @ 9:48am

      Re: Different Formats, Different Audiences

      Regional Affiliates are interested in the max number of eyeballs on their adds. They could care less whether you watch the programming on a plasma high def or an old black and white TV.

      Many of the top rated shows on the big networks are becoming available online, this takes ad revenue from your local station.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Adam Singer, 16 Mar 2006 @ 10:09am

    Television is a joke anyway, I honestly hope it go

    I have discussed/blogged for years about TV being a complete joke, and for one I am very happy to see it losing profits. I say, let them drown. Hopefully one day people will wake up from their mass-media trance and realize they are simply wasting their lives by watching TV. Honestly, intelligent people simply don't spend their time watching television, there is absolutely no value to 99.9% of it (a few well thought out programs include family guy, the simpsons, futurama, and south park). But isn't it ironic the only shows that have value make fun of everything else? Greedy television executives losing money - who cares really. They can't buy that third porsche now...I hope the internet completely destroys TV one day. --- adam singer www.agsinger.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rikko, 16 Mar 2006 @ 10:41am

      Re: Television is a joke anyway, I honestly hope i

      Try PBS or Discovery or History.. Or Showcase or Bravo or A&E..

      The major broadcasters have nothing intelligent left anymore - specialty cable still holds something worth watching.

      I love Family Guy as much as the next guy, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking it's anymore more than irrelevant escapism.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Adam, 16 Mar 2006 @ 11:22am

        Re: Re: Television is a joke anyway...

        Family Guy has a ton more than surface value to it - if you pay close attention it references MANY social ills of today's society, some in subtle and some in unsubtle ways.

        Regardless, Seth is a master at crafting a form of art that really makes us look and laugh at the circus modern media has become, and there are powerful messages (along with the hysteria) embedded in that program.

        Besides - a little humor is good for the human soul, and I think Family Guy is the lesser of many of the evils on TV.

        -Adam Singer www.agsinger.com

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2006 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re: Television is a joke anyway, I honestly ho

        You're going to crack on Family Guy, but cite Bravo and A&E as intelligent? I must be missing the intelligent bits of Dog the Bounty Hunter and Blow Out when I'm flipping channels.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Topher3105, 16 Mar 2006 @ 12:28pm

    Internet content much better?

    Honestly, after spending a few hours looking at endless rants and meaningless blogs, TV is the least of our worries. The Internet is just as vapid a wasteland filled with poor thoughts and ill conceived notions as television ever has been. I think people only laud the Internet over television because, well, at least we can easily contribute to that wasteland.

    But, stop being so cynical. You forget that its the goal to be entertained that is the reason for movies, television, internet, sports, etc, etc, etc. Not to educate, not to inspire, not to grow, but to be entertained, to fill in the moments of monotony that many people face in their everyday life. To fill in the gaps that education left behind.

    Sure, reading a book or learning something is preferable to watching television, but does your brain have to be ON all the times? Can't you simply enjoy a few hours of guilt filled fun requiring only a small amount of thought? Is a Dan Brown novel any more an intelligent choice for reading over watching Survivor (the answer is no if you are wondering).

    I know an older couple that used to disdain television. One was a computer science PhD geek that actually has about a dozen patents under his belt related to the telecommunications industry, the other is headmistress of a private school. Both speak multiple languages. Both are book worms and can't have a conversaion that doesn't involve political commentary about Canada and other foreign countries. Both will spend a $100 on a bottle of wine or take an evening out at the opera. Nearing both of their retirements, I laugh and congratulate them that after years of owning a cheap quality TV being fed by over the air signals (in Canada that means about 4 clear channels only) they now own a 42" Sony Bravia, Digital Cable (they are considering getting an HD PVR), and now enjoy such shows regularily as WifeSwapping and That 70's show.

    Don't try and portray yourself as being smarter then thou by shunning television. You obviously don't understand its purpose, which makes you smarter then everyone else?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MDavidson, 16 Mar 2006 @ 1:16pm

    Quality of televisions vs quality of television pr

    I can agree with Rikko and Adam that most programming is aimed at lower IQ levels. But as a college graduate, and manager of a computer consulting company, Topher's point rings the loudest. Television is mostly about escapism. What would be the point of describing the wave of new shows as "reality programming" if most of the programming that was on wasn't fictional or fantasy? I think Star Trek raised a lot of ethical and social questions during its run, but you couldn't convince me that most people watched it because of the politics. They watched to be entertained.

    Beyond that, it is just opinions of what is entertaining. Claiming "intelligent people simply don't spend their time watching television" then stating you watch animated series (say, cartoons) like the Family Guy, Simpsons and South Park "for the social value", may say something about intelligence but I wouldn't think it would be a winning argument in a debate. I think it simply shows what you think is entertaining. Whether a person watches Masterpiece Theater or watching South Park isn't criteria I would use for choosing a president or a Nobel prize winner, but it's very useful in choosing a buddy to hang out with. It's entertainment.

    Topher's example is a good one. There is a big difference between quality television (programming) and quality television (resolution and color), but both can make watching more entertaining. I can't see why anyone would watch Wife Swap, American Idol, or Deal or No Deal, but enough people watch to make TV execs look for more programs like them. I am a race fan (but not really NASCAR) and like a lot of the Speed Channel prgramming, but without 24/7 NASCAR I would not have thought a dedicated channel would have made sense. I play golf, but a Golf Channel?!! There has to be a lot of people, watching a LOT of TV to make this happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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