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. identicon
    Jeremy, 25 May 2006 @ 9:38am

    I don't think TechDirt gets it.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the TV networks need to improve their business models and absolutely love getting Lost online because network schedules don't match mine. 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.
    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).

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