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FCC to reject dual must-carry  

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Bloomberg reporting that the FCC is going to reject dual must carry.

Here's the story (from the Detroit News):
http://www.detnews.com/2003/technolo...ogy-327956.htm
post #2 of 22
Makes sense. Although I think many Cable Companies are already duel carrying if they offer HDTV locals at this time.
post #3 of 22
Not in OKC. Cox has told us that they have interest carrying KSBI-DT. KSBI is one of the stations that broadcasts the HDNet feed for OTA transmission. I would have liked for this to have gone through.
post #4 of 22
Personally, I am against dual must carry. Here Comcast has been pretty good about getting HD signals on cable. The problem I have with the concept is all this talk about multicasting, with each broadcaster arguing that their main channel plus all their subchannels require cable carriage. If that were to be implemented, that will only slow down the rollout of HDTV as it will encourage the broadcaters to multicast rather than send out one HD signal. Look at PAX. They are talking about renting out their subchannels to other broadcasters, obstensibly to increase their revenue. This type of thinking will only slow the rollout of HD programming.To the extent that the rejection of dual must carry stops or slows this multicasting, I am all for it. I mean, do we really need an all weather subchannel on NBC affliates? NBC 10 here in the Philadelphia area has overhyped their weather so much it is laughable (each year we have the impending snow storm of the century, hypes for days which passes after dropping a whole inch of snow!)
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by CycloneGT
Makes sense. Although I think many Cable Companies are already duel carrying if they offer HDTV locals at this time.
Yes, most cable companies carrying digital locals are also carrying the same analog local. However, having the option of doing it and being forced to do it are two seperate things. There's also the issue that alot of locals (at least for the major networks here in DC) are not carried under 'must carry' laws. They work out seperate agreements ($$$) with the cable company.

Interesting tidbit from the article:
Quote:
The FCC also is considering a rule that would make cable operators offer extra broadcast channels so viewers could watch other shows scheduled to run on a particular network. It would permit a viewer watching a football game that has gone into overtime to change channels and watch the show that the game otherwise would have delayed.

That rule would require cable companies to carry as many as six broadcast channels rather than just one after the digital conversion is completed.

Powell told reporters last week that commissioners' views on this issue -- known as "multicasting" -- are "pretty fluid."
So is that hinting at a multicasting must-carry for (up to) 6 subchannels?
post #6 of 22
In my area the cablecos are carrying the big four digital stations but have no interest in carrying the WB, UPN or PAX since they are not passing any HD.

In the end, the cablecos are the big losers in the markets that they refuse to carry the local digitals. It forces the public to put up antennas, something that cable fights hard to keep people from doing and if the local broadcasters are smart about it, and offer something that is not available via cable, cable risks loosing subs over this. Yeah, cable makes more money by offering more channels, but the public goes with the programming and PQ and cable will loose subs when the public sees that the digital OTA PQ is better than what cable offers. Even if a station stays in 480i digital, it is better PQ than what cable feeds them and it is free to boot.

I believe that is why most cablecos are sucking it up and adding at least the local digitals that are offering ED or HD to keep from loosing subs. Those who don't, will suffer. Maybe not now, but if they continue to keep this attitude, in the future, they will suffer.

Leave it to cable to shoot themselves in the foot. They are so good at that.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng
In the end, the cablecos are the big losers in the markets that they refuse to carry the local digitals.
That hasn't been the case where I'm at. Our local NBC has been broadcasting DT signals since before march. (Don't remember the right month) Our cable company (Time Warner Cable) has been trying to carry them since the beginning. The other networks took roughly 3 months to be carried by cable. Its going on 10 months now. TWC is saying the ball is in the local NBC court b/c they want to be paid extra for HD. Cable's position is why pay extra for content we are already showing.

Gene
post #8 of 22
Must-carry = 5 subchannels of your local religious or shopping channel network. Would anyone want this?

Even assuming "dual" must carry were limited to CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, Fox affiliates, the effect would be lessen your cable company's negotiating leverage-- if the law requires it, there is no negotiating option. And if cable can't negotiate something, it will be forced to spend $$ (or more $$) for something it wouldn't carry (or would carry for less $$).

The end result of "dual" must carry would therefore be a more expensive cable bill, and/or fewer channel choices.
post #9 of 22
The Hubbard owned NBC affiliate in my market is currently at odds with TWC. The NBC affiliate demands carriage of the ENTIRE data stream. TWC has thus far refused to reach an agreement with that stipulation. Another network affiliate in the same market is more concerned with giving away a signal for free that will be retransmitted for profit. (TWC digital tier costs extra $$$)

After less than 3 months of beta-test Broadcasts of HD, and without any promotion or marketing, local cable subs are already going OTA.

The real negotiating is being handled at the corporate level. The same is true on TWC's end. Most local braodcasters that are owned by bigger corporations have their hands tied. This is a huge fight between BIG BROADCAST and BIG CABLE. The stakes are hugh, because this dictates the way the game will played for the forseeable future for the entire TV industry.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
This is a huge fight between BIG BROADCAST and BIG CABLE. The stakes are hugh, because this dictates the way the game will played for the forseeable future for the entire TV industry.
It is indeed a huge fight. But it's funny because BIG BROADCAST does not rely on must carry anyway. They have the clout to be negotiating for retransmission consent which means they are not even asking for must carry status. Must carry is only for stations that are so desperate to be carried on cable that they will give it away for free.

It seems to me that most of the stations on the air doing HDTV are not the same ones asking for must carry anyway. So I would hate to see must carry applied so I could instead get 5 new shopping or televangelist channels.

- Tom
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene S
That hasn't been the case where I'm at. Our local NBC has been broadcasting DT signals since before march. (Don't remember the right month) Our cable company (Time Warner Cable) has been trying to carry them since the beginning. The other networks took roughly 3 months to be carried by cable. Its going on 10 months now. TWC is saying the ball is in the local NBC court b/c they want to be paid extra for HD. Cable's position is why pay extra for content we are already showing.

Gene
You have this with analog as well. Some owners feel that if they put it out there, cable needs to pay for it. Most stations don't do that, they realize that it takes each other to survive, but you will have some owners who try it.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by trbarry
It is indeed a huge fight. But it's funny because BIG BROADCAST does not rely on must carry anyway. They have the clout to be negotiating for retransmission consent which means they are not even asking for must carry status. Must carry is only for stations that are so desperate to be carried on cable that they will give it away for free.
How VERY UNTRUE that statement is. Broadcasting needs cable as bad as cable needs broadcasting. True example:

On Election Day, 1998, Disney pulled their O & O's (analog at that time, DTV wasn't a factor) off TWC systems over a pay dispute. Negotiations had been going on for over a year on the carriage contract. Both sides dug in for a long siege, but the public out cry to the FCC that day forced the FCC to make Disney and TWC to go back to status quo (reinstate service to TWC) until a new contract could be worked out.

After that, most cableco's are VERY careful about who and how they take off with a must carry contract. It has nothing to do with bandwidth or anything else. Cable really doesn't want the FCC involved in any capacity if they can help it. Must carry has always been a thorn in cables side and that is why they fight ANY must carry so hard.

Politics and money. What a wonderful combination.
post #13 of 22
How about "HD must" carry: any 720P or 1080I signal of sufficient quality (bandwidth?) must be passed through without further compression.

This is the real issue here: is the customer going to be able to get HDTV and get it without degradation?

I personally don't care about all of the SD mulitplexed signals, I will not watch them anyway.
post #14 of 22
Foxeng -

But that was an example of my point. Disney had not elected must carry for it's O&O's. It was playing hard ball renogiating for retrans consent (again). If Disney had just wanted must carry for ABC (for free, as must carry is) then TW would have had to go along. But like recent CBS negotiations for HDTV, Disney was holding out for other things. I believe that included asking TW to carry some other Disney channels though I don't remember what. (ESPN?)

Does anyone know if any of the major network O&O's ask for must carry anywhere these days?

- Tom
post #15 of 22
Quote:
How about "HD must" carry: any 720P or 1080I signal of sufficient quality (bandwidth?) must be passed through without further compression.
Heck, right now I would settle for a "May Carry" provision. Let any cable network elect to carry any digital broadcast if they already have permission to carry the analog version, without further negotiations or fees. And if the local station is not carrying the network HD then let the cable or satellite company show that too.

- Tom
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by rlsmith
How about "HD must" carry: any 720P or 1080I signal of sufficient quality (bandwidth?) must be passed through without further compression.
Any digital-only station can assert must-carry rights ...
post #17 of 22
> Heck, right now I would settle for a "May Carry" provision. Let any cable network elect to carry any digital broadcast if they already have permission to carry the analog version, without further negotiations or fees.

Under those circumstances, the cable system should be required to carry the entire free digital stream -- without any further compression, and without deleting anything that is available for free off the air.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Under those circumstances, the cable system should be required to carry the entire free digital stream -- without any further compression, and without deleting anything that is available for free off the air.
Maybe, but under those conditions I'd apply it to only the video & audio stream, and only one sub-channel at a time. There is no reason to force cable to carry a shopping sub-channel just to get a main HDTV stream.

- Tom
post #19 of 22
I recall reading something from the FCC that a under the must carry rules for digital broadcasts, the cable company is only required to carry the primary signal. The broadcaster designates the primary signal. For this reason alone I don't see sub-channels ever making it. Cable companies will be right there to snatch up any profits that might come from sub-channel ventures.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by trbarry
Heck, right now I would settle for a "May Carry" provision. Let any cable network elect to carry any digital broadcast if they already have permission to carry the analog version, without further negotiations or fees. And if the local station is not carrying the network HD then let the cable or satellite company show that too.

- Tom
This needs to go under the NBC multistream thread, but since you asked here:

In the current issue of TelevisionWeek (Monday Nov 17), NBC outlines its plans for multicasting and one of the given reasons is:

"The network said in its presentation (to the FCC) that the new channel space wouls eliminate the need for affiliate pre-emptions of network programming, leading to improved affiliate/network relations and the creation of new national networks that include programing by local affiliates."

NBC says that all this is mostly conditional on the FCC approving multicasting, but this may address some of your questions here.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by RaymondR
I recall reading something from the FCC that a under the must carry rules for digital broadcasts, the cable company is only required to carry the primary signal. The broadcaster designates the primary signal. For this reason alone I don't see sub-channels ever making it. Cable companies will be right there to snatch up any profits that might come from sub-channel ventures.
There is no MUST CARRY for digital signals. The current ruling is that a station must signify EITHER the analog or digital signal as the must carry. Broadcasters want the rule changed to say that cable must carry ALL streams and the compromise is the free OTA digital stream.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng
This needs to go under the NBC multistream thread, but since you asked here
Yes, sorry for starting this as a new thread. Seems like there should be a single 'Multicasting' thread ... which is different from dual must carry ... so I started a new thread ... but anyway ...

My understanding of the current FCC must carry guidelines is a little different from the above:
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/digital.html

Notably:
- A station broadcasting analog and digital is elgible for must-carry for its analog signal only. Its digital signal is not elgible for must-carry and the station can not choose between digital and analog for must-carry status.
- A digital-only station is elgible for must-carry. As noted above, the station can choose a single "primary video" stream. Multicasting is not protected under (current) must-carry.

HOWEVER ... also as noted above ...
There seems to be alot of indication that the FCC is considering (or being asked to consider) multicasting must-carry ...
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