TV Networks, Studios Sue Cablevision For Helping Them Attract Viewers

from the shooting-yourself-in-the-foot dept

After Cablevision announced its plans to create a network-based DVR, it wasn't surprising to see TV networks throw a fit over it. It's even less surprising to hear that three major networks and four TV studios have now sued Cablevision. They allege fair use doesn't apply to companies that have licensed their content only for simultaneous rebroadcast, a point with which Cablevision disagrees. The bigger issue, though, isn't the legality of the service, but the TV companies' need to shut down a service that will make the public's viewing experience of their shows easier and better. The problem seems to be that they think this is a zero-sum game, that only one party can, or perhaps should, benefit here, so of course they want to set up a system that only benefits them. That's short-sighted, and when they end up hurting the end user, all they're really hurting is themselves. The current broadcast TV model is broken, and networks are struggling to adapt. It's obvious, though, that trying to shut down services to make it easier for people to watch their shows isn't the way forward.
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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 25 May 2006 @ 10:19am

    Re: I don't think TechDirt gets it.

    To back up Carlo further, I think Jeremy is discussing the wrong point:

    However here is the point that I think is being lost on the authors. TV networks don't make money from their TV shows, they make their money on the advertising. And when BitTorrent or apparently Cablevision makes it easy for the consumer to get the content without the advertising the advertisers (the guys paying the bills for these shows) stop paying as much for advertising because less people are seeing their advertising.

    We can read all the articles and comments from the shooting-yourself-in-the-foot department all we want but until we quit waiting around for the networks to come up with a solution let's figure it out for them.

    That's like saying that buggy makers make their money from selling buggies and until we come up with a way for them to make money while everyone's buying automobiles instead, we shouldn't bring up the issue.

    The point is that consumers want the flexibility in their TV shows, and it's up to the companies to adjust to that reality. Trying to hold back what consumers want isn't a business strategy that makes sense.

    I once read that a hit prime time show like CSI or Friends brought in some crazy amount in advertising revenue per viewer (like $80 or something). So the networks see advertising-free content as missing that $80 in revenue (I'm not willing to pay $80 an episode for them to replace that lost revenue).

    You're missing the point. If the market won't support that much advertising, why should it remain? Making player piano rolls used to be a good revenue business, but the market went away. Yet, the music business lived on.

    Just because one business model fails, it doesn't mean the industry fails or that we need to prop up a single business model at the consumer's expense.

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