AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Central New York (Syracuse DMA)
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I've been getting alot of feedback at other forums and here is a reply I posted at some answering some of the most frequent issues that have come up:
That's why Utica is allowed to import the CBS feed in. At one point, we heard a rumor that WFXV was just going to let its licence expire and go quietly into the night. This is the same thing we though would happen when WUTR basically closed up shop and was bought out. All those two stations do right now is pass along the network feeds with some syndication mixed in (Seinfeld, Raymond, etc.). When WUTR was bought out, the first thing they did was shut down the entire news operation and devoted those resources to the Syracuse market. Of course Utica as a whole is dying or dead for that matter. The population is about half what it was just 15 years ago. I was hoping they would just let those stations dissolve and pull the Syracuse feeds. WKTV from what I can tell, holds its own and has great coverage including well outside the DMA. I have a hard time believing that they can't afford to invest in the HD equipment needed to make it happen. I think they just don't want to because they really don't care. Again, the lack of competition from the other locals dictates that they don't need too along with the issue that HD ratings aren't tracked.
Local advertisers have pretty much integrated the two markets of Utica and Syracuse. You will see just as many commercials for Utica businesses in the Syracuse market as you will Syracuse in the Utica market. This is especially true with car dealers. I really feel that if we can't make headway with the campaign as it is, we may have to go toward a type of boycott with advertisers. This was brought up to me by the individual who originally wanted to start up the website and I though it would be better to at least give the stations some time to do right by the public. My case would be having the advertisers take their ad dollars elsewhere and wouldn't be so much of a boycott of the business as it would be a boycott of the local affiliate. We would then encourage business to advertise with cable and the Syracuse affiliates.
My other thought is looking at a possible loophole in the laws. Seeing as the Utica affiliates don't offer HD broadcast and the Syracuse affiliates do, we are exploring the fact that they are actually two separate products and thus not included within the exclusivity of the DMA. In other words, since the Utica affiliate doesn't offer the product and it is not in direct competition with the Utica analog feeds, then Time Warner should be allowed to carry it. Sinclair uses this argument and distinguishes between it's digital HD and analog SD feeds for purposes or bilking retrans for each feed as separate, so I think it should apply here.
Again, we are looking at this from every conceivable angle. I've already had some posters on Syracuse forums label this a waste of time, but I think it's worth bring up even if it's a losing battle. While kicking around ideas we even considered polling Uticans about their willingness to pay for the out of market feeds. In this case, Time Warner would add these channels to the pay HD Tier (currently $4.95) and say charge an additional dollar a month to that package. The fees would be contractually divided between the providers. So the Utica affiliates would be compensated somehow on a per sub basis. Personally, I don't think the HD penetration is big enough yet, but we need to conduct some polling to confirm this. I am against any payment for free OTA broadcasts as I've stated in other threads, but this situation warranted a look at it. I don't really think that would be the best avenue of pursuit here.
I intend, as the site traffic grows and we add more information and features, to meet with local stores (IE: Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, Wal-Mart, Target and even small shops like Big Apple) in order to see if they will let us post info and conduct surveys/pass out flyers. I would think management at these stores would like to generate more buzz in HD because there has been so little of it in the market. My guess is that managers would have to get approval from corporate, but the small shops would deal directly with us. A simple survey of 1) Do You Own an HD set? 2)Do you plan on buying an HD set? 3) Why or why not? simple, but effective on getting the point across. Maybe we would even be able to set it up on the website so people could just take a flyer and complete the survey at their leisure.
We have many ideas to advance the cause for HD within Utica and my take is that if we don't do it, no one will! We have to light a fire under somebody's butt!
8/30/2013 - Time Warner Liberation Day!