Originally Posted by TV8
For years the FCC has felt the spectrum should be used for mobile communications only. Any signal reaching a stationary receiver was inefficient use of the spectrum.
What they are missing is the fact that the signal isn't reaching "a" stationary receiver. It is reaching hundreds of thousands stationary receivers. That improves the efficiency.
You might use the argument that broadcasters get a license to provide free programming. This model or argument is no longer valid. For years the cable company disconnected the antenna to make OTA viewing impossible, and stole our signal without compensation then turned around and used this money to outbid us for the best of our future programming.
There are laws in place that REQUIRE cable companies to restore your signal via their service, with a certain number of local broadcast channels made available based on the number of channels in the cable system. Satellite systems are under different rules that REQUIRE every full power station in a market to be carried. In both cases, if the station want their signal to be restored to those homes where the OTA was cut all they have to do is file under "must carry".
The problem occurs when stations view OTA reception as stealing their signals. I steal the signals of my local TV stations with an OTA antenna. I'm not paying my local stations for reception so I must be a thief.
Instead of viewing cable and satellite as the enemy perhaps they should be seen as partners who help stations get their signals into home. Instead of charging the cable system $1 per customer why not pay the cable system $1 per customer they deliver the signal to? They are providing stations a service. (Federal law prohibits stations paying cable/satellite providers, so let's just call it even - required "must carry" of all stations with HD equality - if one station is carried in HD all stations must be carried in HD, or SD if no HD available. With no money changing hands. The lifeline "broadcast only" level of services would remain required for cable and become required for satellite.)
Cable started as CATV ... some company helping out a community by providing a common antenna that delivered local broadcasters to their home. Instead of everyone in town paying an antenna installer for a private antenna people shared the cost. Unfortunately broadcasters saw that as CATV systems making money "reselling their signal", when all they were doing were selling access to a common antenna. Asking for a piece of each cable/satellite subscription is like asking Radio Shack to pay stations $20 per station every time an antenna is sold.
If they incur new costs of $4.00 a sub for the "big four" stations, they can simply eliminate channels that receive very little viewership and eliminate an equivalent amount of programming cost.
That will go over well ... Sorry, LOGO is being dropped because your local station is demanding more money. Lifetime is no longer available because we have to pay local broadcasters more.
While in a local sense broadcaster want to compete with cable don't forget who owns the networks. Complain all you want about the prices that ESPN charges for their suite of channels (more expensive for one channel than all channels via the closest thing we have to a la carte - business bulk rates). But don't forget that ESPN is owned by the same folks as the ABC network. Kinda hard to miss when you're watching ESPN on ABC for NASCAR. NBC Universal is more than just a broadcast network ... and CBS/Viacom is in the mix too.
YOUR CONTENT PROVIDERS ... the people that your station is paying network affiliation fees to ... are the ones who are feeding the cable channels. Does your network want to see their cable channels cut so you can make more money off of your rebroadcast of their product? Disney, Universal and Viacom don't want a la carte. They would rather have a dozen channels to serve the varied interests of their audience than the one feed via OTA. They are still making money via the affiliate system, but the day that system dies they will just move their content direct to cable/satellite. And probably make more money.
As noted above, I'd prefer a 100% must-carry non-cash system. It isn't the way that the industry evolved. Changing it will take a sea change of the mindset that cable is stealing broadcasters signals instead of helping broadcasters reach viewers.
I want to see OTA survive ... and thrive ... I don't see it doing so when stations are hoarding their signal.