For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19
PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470
Gregory G. Davis
July 2014 News
Primary Information Source: Newbay Media E-Newsletter “Next TV” – Media Industry Curated news and analysis;
Next TV eNewslettter signup link, http://www.b2bmediaportal.com/nbmedia/subscribe.aspx?b=MCN
Further Research and filtering by GGDavis:
Quote of the day 29 July 2014:
“Access to 54 million homes is going to be controlled by just a couple of
program executives in major cities. That’s what concerns us.”
– Patrick Gottsch, founder and chairman of Rural Media Group, which owns RFD-TV and FamilyNet
29 July 2014 News summaries
TWC's Marcus: Busy FCC may be delayed in finishing Comcast purchase approval
With the FCC oversubscribed to various other corporate mergers, not to mention reimagining its net neutrality rules, it could very well be delayed in reviewing Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), TWC CEO Rob Marcus said.
Marcus made this statement last week in a memo sent to TWC employees and obtained by Capital New York. In this missive, he indicated concern that the FCC's workload could push the merger's approval/rejection beyond the end of 2014. Marcus also pondered the cumulative impact of the other events on the Comcast/TWC deal.
"As you know, since we announced our deal, AT&T (NYSE: T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) announced their plan to merge and rumors continue to circulate about the possibility that Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) will attempt to combine," Marcus wrote. "At a minimum, these other deals in the telecom space may put a strain on the resources of the FCC, which is already busy with its proceedings on 'net neutrality' and the auction of additional wireless spectrum. In the meantime, recent speculation about mergers and acquisitions in the content world are adding more fuel to the public debate about whether consolidation is good or bad for consumers. While it's possible that all this noise could impact the review of our deal, we continue to work closely with Comcast on planning for a closing around year-end, understanding that it could take longer."
Marcus added that about 40 meetings between Comcast and TWC executives have taken place so far to plan the integration of the two companies, as well as orchestrate the associated joint venture with Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), SpinCo.
"We're also beginning the process of helping Comcast and Charter with the integration planning for the Comcast-Charter transactions that will occur following our merger," Marcus writes. "Christian Lee, senior VP of M&A, has ably played point in our integration efforts, coordinating with Comcast and, more recently, Charter, organizing meetings between our functional leaders and their Comcast and Charter counterparts (we're up to 40 meetings and counting) and coordinating the responses to countless (more than 2,000, last I checked) information requests. The joint Integration Steering Committee, consisting of senior executives from both TWC and Comcast meets monthly and the dialogue has been open and active. In particular, I've been impressed with Comcast's interest in and openness to our views and ideas about what works and what doesn't--while the decisions will ultimately be theirs, they've really demonstrated an interest in taking a 'best of breed' approach to the integration of our two companies. Overall, I'd say the process is going quite well despite the magnitude and complexity of what needs to get done."
FCC starts 180-day clock on Comcast-TWC merger review
July 10, 2014 | By Daniel Frankel
After nearly five months of sturm und drang in the run-up to the regulatory approval process, the FCC has finally started the 180-day clock on vetting the proposed merger between Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).
The formal process started Thursday, July 10, just several days after the Federal Communications Commission selected a fairly strident team to oversee the review process. Comments and petitions to deny the deal are due to the FCC by Aug. 25, with replies and oppositions to deny due Sept. 23 and final comments due Oct. 8
"With the FCC's Public Notice on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and related transactions, the next step in the formal review process begins," wrote Sena Fitzmaurice, VP of corporate communications - government & regulatory communications for Comcast, on the company's blog. "We look forward to a thorough, fact-and-data based comment and review process on questions that are specifically related to the issues raised by these transactions.
"Our filings have shown that considerable consumer benefits occur because of this transaction and there's no diminishment in competition," Fitzmaurice added. "Of course, we fully expect a robust debate, and that's what the FCC process is for. But we believe that once all the facts are in the record, it will show the significant advantages that bringing these companies together will bring."
Separately, Comcast has submitted several more pro-merger advertisements to the Securities and Exchange Commission for review. The latest one touts the combined company's net neutrality abidance.
California Lawmakers Ask FCC to End SportsNet LA Standoff
A number of Democrat members of Congress from California have asked the
FCC to step in and mediate the dispute between Time Warner Cable and various
distributors over carriage of SportsNet LA, the television home of the Los
Why This Matters: TWC signed a 25-year, $8.35 billion deal with the Dodgers in January 2013 to launch a new RSN home for the team. However, with exceedingly high carriage fees reportedly in the range of more than $4 per subscriber, and unable to provide pay-TV operators TV Everywhere rights due to constraints mandated by Major League Baseball, TWC has been unable to strike deals with DirecTV, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Verizon FiOS.
5 Takes: L.A. Times | MCN | Fierce Cable | Variety | RBR
C-SPAN Moving to Authenticated Streaming
On Monday, C-SPAN started to migrate the live online feeds of its TV
channels – C-SPAN 1, 2, 3 – to an authentication model, employing the TV
everywhere model of the MVPD's who support the public affairs channel.
Why This Matters: Those who want to stream the live feeds of the TV channels will be asked to enter their cable or satellite provider credentials to access that stream. For the transition period – until later in the summer – the channels will still be available even without that sign-in, but authenticated users will get a better bit rate during the transition.
3 Takes: B&C | Quartz | WSJ
TWC & TWX Brand Confusion: Some key points
a little WikiPedia digging by GGDavis:
Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), Not to be confused with Turner Broadcasting System, the cable channels division of Time Warner Inc.. formerly Warner Cable Communications and sometimes colloquially referred to as simply Time Warner, is an American cable telecommunications company that operates in 29 states and has 31 operating divisions. It is the second largest cable company in the U.S. behind only Comcast, which has agreed to acquire TWC pending regulatory approval. Its corporate headquarters are located in the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, with other corporate offices in Stamford, Connecticut; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Herndon, Virginia. Time Warner Cable serves customers in the following 29 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Originally controlled by Warner Communications, later Time Warner (the film and television production company and cable channel operator), that company spun out the cable operations in March 2009 as part of a larger restructuring. Since then, Time Warner Cable has been an entirely independent company, merely continuing to use the Time Warner brand under license from its former parent (it also previously used the "Road Runner" name for its Internet service). Time Warner Cable does own several local news and sports channels, but it no longer has any corporate affiliation with national cable channels such as CNN or HBO, which remain the property of the original Time Warner.
The Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger refers to the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast, first publicly announced on February 13, 2014. The acquisition is to take the form of a stock swap estimated at the time of announcement to be worth about $45.2 billion. Comcast began the regulatory review process of the deal by filing a public interest statement at the Federal Communications Commission on April 8, 2014, and is currently in the process of obtaining permission from both the FCC and United States Department of Justice to complete the acquisition.
Time Warner Inc. NYSE: TWX (formerly AOL Time Warner, stylized as TimeWarner) is an American multinational media corporation headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. It is the world's third largest broadcasting and cable company in terms of revenue (behind The Walt Disney Company and Comcast, respectively), as well as the world's largest media conglomerate.
The current Time Warner company consists of the assets of the original company formed after Warner Communications and Time, Inc. merged, along with the assets of Turner Broadcasting that were acquired via the companies' 1996 merger. Time Warner has major operations in film, television, and publishing. Among its subsidiaries are New Line Cinema, HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, The CW Television Network, Warner Bros., Kids' WB, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, CNN, DC Comics, Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network Studios, Hanna-Barbera, and Castle Rock Entertainment.
Time Warner previously owned AOL, Time Warner Cable, and Warner Music Group, but has spun them off into independent companies. On March 6, 2013, Time Warner announced that Time Inc. would be spun off as well. The spin-off took place on June 9, 2014, having been originally scheduled for late 2013.
In January 2014, Time Warner formally announced it was moving in 2019 to 30 Hudson Yards, also developed and owned by Related. Time Warner sold its stake in the Columbus Circle building for $1.3 billion to Related and two wealth funds.
Thank you and Credit to WikiPedia for this important background information. GGDavis 29 July 2014
Time Warner to Offer HBO Go to Cord Cutters
According to reports, Time Warner is looking to accelerate growth at HBO
by expanding access to broadband customers who don’t subscribe to a traditional
Why This Matters: The $49-a-month Internet Plus trial introduced last year with Comcast may be offered through additional cable and Internet providers. The package, which includes web access, a limited number of TV channels and the HBO premium cable network, is aimed at the 10 million U.S. broadband customers, many of them younger, who don’t buy traditional cable TV.
5 Takes: Bloomberg | Media Post | Fierce Cable | Ad Age | Re/code
Why HBO and Pay TV Still Aren’t Getting Divorced
July 28, 2014, 10:35 AM PDT
By Peter Kafka
· Reminder: You still can’t get HBO without paying for other TV channels, too.
But you can still get a cheapish package that includes HBO, some other TV channels and broadband Internet for $50 or less, per month, depending on where you live.
This public service announcement is prompted by a Bloomberg report noting that HBO is considering pushing more of the deals they debuted last fall, when they worked with Comcast to offer a “skinny bundle” of TV + broadband for $40 or $50 a month.
The broader gist of the report is that HBO is very important to Time Warner, and now to Rupert Murdoch, too, and that Time Warner wants to prove it can add more HBO subscribers. More on that in a second.
First, a reminder of what HBO offers today: Generally, pay TV companies market HBO as a premium service that’s only available if you’re already paying for a bunch of other TV channels. Which means you’re already shelling out more than $100 a month before you can qualify to binge on “Game of Thrones” and the rest.
But starting last fall, Comcast began offering packages which let you get Internet access, a couple dozen channels and HBO for $40 or $50 a month. The cable giant* has stopped pushing the offers. But it turns out it sells them — you just need to poke around a bit to find them.
The main thing you need to know about these deals is that they are all temporary. After a year at the $40 or $50 price, they will get much more expensive. Comcast’s $50 a month plan, for instance, will jump up to $70 a month.
So despite commentary that suggests otherwise, these really aren’t designed for people who just want broadband and a little bit of TV — they’re designed to move new customers into the TV Industrial Complex, so they can pay for a full package of broadband and TV, just like the rest of us.
OK. So what about future plans, which Bloomberg sort-of hints at, and that every single Internet user, ever, always says they want: HBO’s HBO Go service, sold Netflix-style, without a pay TV subscription, to anyone who wants it?
It could happen! But not anytime soon. If you’ve read any of these stories before, you can stop now — but in case this is a new idea: HBO always leaves the door open for this possibility, but then always makes it clear that it doesn’t want to do it.
That’s because HBO depends on the pay TV providers to market the service, and it figures that the loss of that help would hurt it much more than the ability to sell HBO to cord-cutters and cord-nevers. (Nor does parent company Time Warner, which has other pay TV-dependent businesses, want to endanger those.)
This could change, one day, if pay TV subscriptions fall far enough to convince HBO it’s time to make the leap.
But right now HBO is generating $1.8 billion in annual profit for Time Warner, and it’s supposedly the reason Rupert Murdoch wants to buy the entire company for all the gold in the Iron Bank. So it’s going to stay put a while longer.
*Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is a minority investor in Re/code.
Indie ISP to Netflix: Give it a rest about 'net neutrality' – and get your checkbook out. The side of the debate you don't often hear
A pioneering American community ISP is telling customers that Netflix should spend more time improving its technology, more money on its network – and less energy on lobbying in Washington DC.
BSD developer and author Brett Glass founded Lariat.net in Wyoming in 1992, making it one of the first ISPs in the world. He told The Register that he's fed up with Netflix hiding behind the "net neutrality" lobbying movement, and says it should invest in better infrastructure and better technology instead.
Glass said he believes the net neutrality debate is fundamentally misleading - with large corporations using deceptive language (does anyone actually want a “closed internet”?) and squabbling about lowering their costs. Netflix is an “over the top” (OTT) video service that generates enormous costs - but does demand that tiny community ISPs pay a hefty upfront fee, says Glass.
Glass told us:
Netflix generates huge amounts of wasteful, redundant traffic and then refuses to allow ISPs to correct this inefficiency via caching. It fails to provide adequate bandwidth for its traffic to ISPs' "front doors" and then blames their downstream networks when in fact they are more than adequate.
It exercises market power over ISPs - one of the first questions asked by every customer who calls us is, "How well do you stream Netflix?" - in an attempt to force them to host their servers for free and to build out network connections for which it should be footing the bill.
Netflix told us that, if we wanted to improve streaming performance, we should pay $10,000 per month for a dedicated link, spanning nearly 1,000 miles, to one of its "peering points" – just to serve it and no other streaming provider.) It then launches misleading PR campaigns against ISPs that dare to object to this behavior.
Part of the problem is that Netflix doesn’t make its content cacheable, even in encrypted form. It could save enormous costs and customer problems if it kept a cache of even the Top 10 shows at a server, argues Glass.
“Netflix asks large ISPs (but not small ones) to host its servers –they are not caches but servers – for free. Alas, not only are the servers power hogs, but Netflix pumps terabytes of data into each one every day, sapping huge amounts of bandwidth from the ISP," he says.
"We tell prospective customers that we provide a guaranteed amount of capacity for them to the nearest major Internet hub. However, because Netflix does not have a presence at that hub, has failed to invest in adequate infrastructure, will not build out to our ISP as it has to larger ones such as Comcast, and needlessly wastes network capacity, they may or may not get adequate performance.”
Everyone loves the idea of small community ISPs, but their needs seem to have been forgotten. We’ll watch out to see if any others follow suit.
Cable companies: We’re afraid Netflix will demand payment from ISPs
Industry tries to turn net neutrality debate on its head.
by Jon Brodkin - July 25 2014, 12:30pm EDT
Should Netflix CEO Reed Hastings insist on payments from Comcast and Verizon?
While the network neutrality debate has focused primarily on whether ISPs should be able to charge companies like Netflix for faster access to consumers, cable companies are now arguing that it's really Netflix who holds the market power to charge them.
This argument popped up in comments submitted to the FCC by Time Warner Cable and industry groups that represent cable companies. (National Journal writer Brendan Sasso pointed this out.)
Even if broadband providers had an incentive to degrade their customers’ online experience in some circumstances, they have no practical ability to act on such an incentive. Today’s Internet ecosystem is dominated by a number of “hyper-giants” with growing power over key aspects of the Internet experience—including Google in search, Netflix and Google (YouTube) in online video, Amazon and eBay in e-commerce, and Facebook in social media.
If a broadband provider were to approach one of these hyper-giants and threaten to block or degrade access to its site if it refused to pay a significant fee, such a strategy almost certainly would be self-defeating, in light of the immediately hostile reaction of consumers to such conduct. Indeed, it is more likely that these large edge providers would seek to extract payment from ISPs for delivery of video over last-mile networks.
ISPs making payments to online video companies would be similar to the payments cable TV providers make to programmers. But in practice it hasn't worked that way. Cable TV and Internet providers have less incentive to ensure that Netflix and YouTube work well on their networks because online video competes against their own video services and because the cable companies face little competition in each local market.
All talk of "fast lanes" has centered on ISPs potentially charging Web services for better access to consumers over the last mile of the network. The FCC's latest proposal would let ISPs charge for fast lanes as long as they provide a minimum level of service to all Internet users and Web services. Network neutrality proponents have urged the FCC to pass stronger rules that would ban such prioritization. Yet the issue is even more complicated than that because ISPs could still degrade bandwidth-heavy services like video by refusing to upgrade infrastructure that connects their networks to the rest of the Internet.
Netflix CEO: “We don’t charge them, they don’t charge us”
Nonetheless, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings noted in an earnings call this week that "the question comes up—should we over time be charging ISPs for the privilege of carrying our data to their customers, and charging for that?"
The answer, so far, is no. "I think the Internet really has this different, much more open architecture than classic cable, where we meet in the middle, we bring the bits to where they want, we don't charge them, they don't charge us," Hastings said. "Both sides innovate,. It's very open structure, and I think then you get more competitors for Netflix frankly, but what you get is this open vibrant system that the Internet has been so famous for, and that's really the tradition that we grew up in, and that we're trying to see carry forward, and I'm optimistic about it, frankly."
Further Reading Netflix pays Verizon for network connection to speed up video
Netflix confirms deal that's similar to agreement with Comcast.
In fact, Netflix has paid Comcast and Verizon for direct connections to their networks to improve quality, although not for a faster pipe over the last portions of the network that bring video directly to consumers.
Time Warner Cable's filing with the FCC makes an argument similar to the NCTA's. The concern about ISPs charging Web services for "fast lanes" is a "red herring," Time Warner wrote.
"To TWC’s knowledge, no broadband provider has expressed any intention of prioritizing one class of Internet traffic at the expense of another," the company wrote. "If anything, it is more likely that some content owners might well seek payment from broadband Internet access providers as a condition of delivering their content—paralleling the business model that already exists on MVPD [multichannel video programming distributor] platforms. The Commission should not turn a blind eye to actual marketplace dynamics in developing open Internet protections."
Verizon also complained about the power wielded by Google, Netflix, and Amazon, saying that the companies "have undeniable power to affect the consumer experience online and Internet openness, and the reach of these companies often dwarfs that of particular ISPs." For example, "Netflix has built its 'Open Connect' content delivery network to support its video service, and until recently it denied the highest quality video to end users whose broadband providers did not agree to host Netflix’s servers directly on their networks."
The ability of ISPs to offer special, paid arrangements to Web services "could prove crucial to help smaller companies" competing against Google, Amazon, and Netflix, which are big enough to build their own content delivery networks, Verizon wrote. Verizon asserts that it doesn't plan to offer paid prioritization but does want the ability to negotiate "individualized agreements beyond paid prioritization, such as sponsored data, two-sided pricing, or other benign arrangements."
The American Cable Association (ACA), which represents smaller cable companies (and opposes the AT&T/DirecTV and Comcast/TWC mergers) argued that the FCC's rules should apply to Web services as well. "If protecting and preserving Internet openness are the goals, the proposed rules are too narrow because they do not address the threats posed by Internet edge providers," the ACA wrote.
The concerns aren't hypothetical, the ACA said.
"For example, Internet edge providers who are also distributors of MVPD programming, have opted to selectively block access to otherwise freely accessible Internet content to all broadband Internet subscribers of an MVPDs to extract higher fees for its MVPD programming from the MVPD," the ACA wrote. "In 2009, Viacom threatened to block access to Time Warner Cable broadband subscribers from accessing its web-based content, including such popular sites as MTV.com and Nick.com. In 2010, News Corp. threatened to block access to Cablevision Internet users from accessing Fox websites, including Hulu.com, which News Corp. partially owned, as part of Fox’s on-going retransmission dispute with Cablevision… Similarly, in 2013, CBS elected to block Time Warner Cable and Bright House Network broadband subscribers in New York as part of their dispute over retransmission rights."
Although big and small cable providers have different concerns on many issues, the ACA and NCTA ultimately make roughly the same argument on net neutrality. Each said the FCC should continue a "light touch regulatory approach" and that broadband providers should not be reclassified as common carriers, a move that would open them up to stricter, utility-style regulation.
Amazon to Spend $100 Million on
Original Content in Q3 Amazon is planning significant growth in its original content
spend, increasing its investment in Prime Instant Video productions to more
than $100 million in Q3.
Why This Matters: Amazon has been chasing Netflix' original programming strategy to keep its Prime Instant Video service competitive. Netflix execs last fall said the company would double spending on original content in 2014. But CFO David Wells said at the time, its investments in original content will represent less than 10% of overall global content spending.
5 Takes: Variety | Home Media | Tubefilter | Fierce Online Video | Cnet
Details Michelle Clancy | 23 July 2014
By 2017 there will be 204 million connected TV devices linked to the Internet and able to deliver apps to viewers, more than double the projected number of US Internet households.
That's the word from the NPD Connected Intelligence Connected Home
Forecast, which said that ownership of devices like video game consoles,
streaming media players, Blu-ray disc players and smart TVs continue to capture
consumer imagination. Connected TV devices are expected to grow 100% by 2017.
Two driving forces in the market are pushing the adoption and use of connected TV devices, the firm said: streaming media players and TVs themselves. These devices are expected to represent the majority of the growth in installed and Internet connected units over the next three years.
As more of these connected devices are installed, the rate at which consumers connect Internet-capable TV devices is expected to increase from 60% in 2014 to 76% of installed units by 2017. The increased connectivity will be bolstered by hardware upgrades that prompt consumers to connect, increased app programming from TV networks, and improvements to user interfaces.
"The evolution of hardware and digital content distribution is constantly changing the TV viewing experience," said John Buffone, executive director, at NPD Connected Intelligence. "Over the coming years, the consumer's preferred device for apps on TV will be shaped by the next generation of video game consoles, smart TVs, and a new wave of streaming media players."
By 2018 the connected TV device market will begin to reach saturation. The average US home has three TVs, and by 2018 a majority of homes that want apps on their TV will have a connected device on their primary and secondary displays. A large portion of the connected TV device market will move from being for first-time connected TV households to consumers entering a device upgrade cycle.
"Due to the rapid growth of connected TV devices, now is the time to establish consumer loyalty," said Buffone. "Millions of viewers are trying new devices and apps, deciding which, if any, will become an indispensable part of their TV time."
Read more: Connected TV device market to skyrocket in US | Online Video | News | Rapid TV News http://www.rapidtvnews.com/2014072334612/connected-tv-device-market-to-skyrocket-in-us.html#ixzz38VHDUTf7
23 July 2014
Netflix Passes 50 Million Subscribers
In its earnings call yesterday, Netflix revealed that it had signed up an additional
1.69 million subscribers during the second quarter, extending its total to
50.05 million. The company also added 1.12 million international streaming
subs, giving it a total of 13.8 million in that category.
Why This Matters: Looking ahead, the company expects to add 3.69 million subs worldwide in the third quarter, including 2.36 million in its international markets – enough to push its subscriber base past 53.74 million.
5 Takes: MCN | L.A. Times | WSJ | Video Ink | The Wrap
Verizon CFO: Younger Demo Prefers Broadband Video to Bundled Channels
22 Jul, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Younger consumers prefer to pay for high-speed Internet and not so much for bundled TV channels, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told analysts. Speaking July 22 during the telecom’s fiscal call, the executive appeared to underscore the obvious about a college-age or 30-something consumer transfixed by over-the-top video.
“Within this younger generation, a year ago we tested the ability to have them select whether they wanted large TV bundles and lower Internet speeds or high Internet speeds and lower TV bundles, and what we saw is the majority of the this segment selected the highest speed that they could get and didn't really care about how many TV stations they got because most of them are consuming their video via the Internet,” Shammo said.
Yet, terms such as “cord-cutting” and “cord nevers” remain routinely dismissed by senior executives from media companies, multichannel video distributors and even OTT video providers as inconsequential hype. Indeed, most research reports contend that at most less than 10% of U.S. broadband homes have opted out of pay-TV service.
“The data shows that there’s zero cord-cutting. We’re at a 100 million [cable households] and [it] goes down a little bit every year as students move, but it’s the same as [it was] last year,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in an earnings call last year.
While Hastings continues to position Netflix and OTT video as complementary (versus adversarial) to the pay-TV ecosystem, Verizon isn’t taking any chances. It has aggressively sought out apartment complexes and other multiple-unit dwellings (MDU) in metropolitan areas testing broadband-centric subscription packages.
Shammo said the MDU market remains a work in progress, due in part to the transitory nature of the residents.
“Part of the strategy is to accumulate the new residents coming in to continue to use FiOS,” he said.
Indeed, Verizon added 100,000 FiOS video subscribers in the second quarter (ended June 30), which was down nearly 29% from 140,000 net additions in the previous-year period. It ended the quarter with 5.4 million video subs. Verizon upped broadband subscriptions 1.5% to top 9 million for the first time.
Mediacom Urges FCC to Unbundlehttp://www.broadcastingcable.com/users/jeggerton
Petitions for rulemaking aimed at packaged programming deals
By: John Eggerton 7/21/2014 03:03:00 PM Eastern
Mediacom Monday asked the FCC to adopt new rules that would prevent volume-based discounts in program carriage deals, insure access to content online, and require the disclosure of rates.
That came in a petition for expedited rulemaking filed by the cable operator. The FCC is under no obligation to act on the petition, but it puts Mediacom's asks on the table.
Mediacom said the relationship between programmers and distributors is broken, that the marketplace as it has evolved thanks to Washington is anti-competitive and anti-consumer, and that Washington needs to fix it. It even co-opts some network neutrality language usually used by content providers towards ISPs, saying one thing the FCC needs to do is prevent programmers from blocking or restricting access to online content.
Mediacom wants the FCC to unbundle deals dominated by six "media giants" who control more than 125 cable nets, including must-have programming. Mediacom even added the recent talk of a possible News Corp./Time Warner merger to make its point that big companies are getting bigger, adding that broadcast groups are heavying up, too.
Mediacom says that FCC policies have radically transformed the marketplace from one in which cable dominated to one in which programmers, broadband and cable, have the "upper hand," which it suggests they use to wield a club in the form of forced wholesale and retail packaging of content.
Tier placement, minimum penetration requirements, volume discounts, and access to online content are all in the bundler's arsenal, says Mediacom, and the FCC needs to disarm.
Mediacom is seeking the following new rule regime:
1. Give MVPDs an a la carte option for new channels or the most expensive.
2. Give MVPDs an unbundling option, with information about other offers and bundles
3. Prohibit the blocking or restricting of Internet access to programming as a negotiating tactic in agreements
4. Only allow volume discounts if they can be justified through waivers.
"Programmers that control must-have programming (both broadcast and non-broadcast) have both the incentive and ability to use volume discounting and bundling practices in ways that distort fair competition and harm consumers," said Mediacom, which adds that they can be expected to exercise that power in trying to stop the petition.
"Without doubt, the programmers will do everything in their power to smother this Petition for Rulemaking in its crib. They will do so, among other things, by arguing loudly and strenuously that the Commission lacks the authority to adopt the rules proposed herein."
"The Commission's authority to adopt the proposed rules is clear from the face of several relevant statutory provisions, from the Commission's own decisions, and from the decisions of the courts," said Mediacom.
17 July 2014
“The reality of American media is that it is controlled by a handful of
companies formed through two decades of consolidation. These companies own the
television networks, the production studios and almost all of the scripted
content that is available on television and in movie theaters. The cable
companies that distribute this content are even more concentrated.”
– Shawn Ryan, on behalf of the Writers Guild of America, West, testifying before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation
How pay-TV industry fails to connect with customers
By Robert C. Kenny - 07/14/14 07:54 PM EDT
Right now, pay-TV’s lobbyists are swarming Washington in a cynical campaign to convince Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to reform the nation’s video marketplace. Their goal is narrow and self-serving: to eliminate the free market retransmission consent system that allows local broadcasting to remain competitive with pay-TV behemoths.
To hear the pay-TV lobbyists tell it, retransmission consent is “broken,” leading to programming disputes that result in scores of broadcast TV “blackouts” for America’s cable and satellite TV subscribers.
The facts, however, tell a very different story.
In the first six months of 2014, the number of actual programming disruptions involving broadcast TV stations total five, and four of those have been resolved.
Meanwhile, in that same time period, pay-TV and Internet service outages caused by lousy service or a passing thunderstorm totaled ... wait for it ... more than 3,000! That’s right — failed network reliability, poor customer service and bad weather have caused 600 times more pay-TV service disruptions than retransmission consent disputes. And that’s only for the top five pay-TV companies. There are likely thousands more service failures to date this year if you were to include all cable and satellite TV companies in the calculation of the prevalence of network disruptions.
Need proof? Check out the website Downdetector.com, which documents the service failures of more than 250 companies operating in the U.S. and catalogs the frustration that pay-TV subscribers endure on a daily basis.
So let’s do a quick recap: 3,000 service failures caused by bad weather or other incidents, versus five blackouts involving broadcast TV programming disputes. And the cable and satellite TV industry is claiming that it is retransmission consent that needs to be fixed? The pay-TV industry should examine its poor network performance and stop throwing stones at others when they live in a glass house full of customer service horrors.
Today, the average U.S. consumer pays upwards of $130 per month for a bundled pay-TV/broadband service package, while suffering from outages and service degradation with no explanation nor refunds on monthly bills. Consumer frustration over pay-TV service is reaching a boiling point as providers continue to rake in billions of dollars in annual profits.
All the while, cable and satellite TV lobbyists play “hide the ball,” and try desperately to distract policymakers’ attention away from legitimate questions regarding service reliability.
We at TVfreedom.org agree that reforming our country’s video marketplace would benefit consumers, but we differ with the pay-TV lobbyists on how best to modernize regulations governing the U.S. video marketplace.
We seek holistic reform based on a broader congressional examination of the copyright and communications laws impacted by recent advances in technology, rather than a narrowly focused, pay-TV-driven inquiry into retransmission consent. This regime has functioned appropriately and effectively for years, while ensuring that local TV broadcasters receive fair compensation for their popular and most-watched programming. Now, pay-TV is looking to make “reforms” that would increase their skyrocketing profits and bring no economic relief to consumers.
The starting point for any reforms should be an examination of pay-TV’s truth in billing practices and shoddy customer service. This will help to guide new laws and regulations aimed at holding cable and satellite TV service providers accountable for reliability and high fees charged for pay-TV services.
Last month Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), chairwoman of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, announced that she will push for a new federal law aimed at bringing transparency and fairness to cable and satellite TV billing practices.
We support McCaskill’s efforts and agree that consumers need protections from the confusing and deceptive billing practices of cable and satellite TV companies. This should be the true starting point for meaningful consumer-friendly reforms in the U.S. video marketplace.
Kenny is the director of public affairs for TVfreedom.org, a coalition of local broadcasters, community advocates, network TV affiliate associations and other independent organizations. He formerly served as press secretary at the FCC.
Netflix Calls for Title II
Reclassification of ISPs in FCC Comments Netflix came out swinging in its
submission to the FCC over proposed internet “fast lanes,” arguing Wednesday
that this would be a bad idea and that the agency should instead focus on
forcing broadband providers to deliver the speeds they promise to their
Why This Matters: In a 28-page filing, Netflix called for Title II classification of ISPs, and reiterated its accusations that Comcast and Verizon are intentionally letting interconnection gates become congested, resulting in "nearly VHS quality" of Netflix video streams, unless, of course, Netflix pays an interconnection fee.
5 Takes: Gigaom | Variety | The Hill | DSL Reports | Quartz
Copyright Office Rejects Aereo’s
Request to Be Classified as a Cable Company Aereo's bid to be considered a
cable system met with a chilly reaction from the U.S. Copyright Office, which
says it won't process the company's application for a compulsory license to
broadcast television shows, because it does not believe the company qualifies
Why This Matters: Aereo, citing the Supreme Court's finding that it was similar to a cable system, filed for the compulsory license that would allow it to carry TV station signals, arguing that like cable, it was eligible for that license.
5 Takes: Deadline | Media Post | Variety | B&C | Home Media
NBA Wants to Double Licensing Fees
According to reports, the NBA is looking to double the TV-rights fees it
receives from Walt Disney’s ESPN and Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting as the
league finalizes deals for nationally televised games.
Why This Matters: Such an increase could have a major impact on pay TV providers and their relationship with their subscribers. Currently, ESPN is commanding average carriage fees of $5.54 per subscriber. TNT was listed as the second most expensive channel at $1.33 per subscriber.
4 Takes: Reuters | Bloomberg | Fierce Cable | THR
Time Warner Rebuffs $80 Billion Offer
from Fox Time Warner’s stock shot up nearly 20% this morning on news that its
board of directors recently rejected an $80 billion takeover proposal from
Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
Why This Matters: The bid could put Time Warner in play. Fox COO Chase Carey met with Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes in early June offering $85 a share – 40% of it in cash – 25% premium at the time.
5 Takes: MCN | Bloomberg | NYT | Reuters | Deadline
14 July 2014
Nathanson principal analyst Michael Nathanson"… Smaller cable
network groups have been hit the hardest as investors have been forced to think
about four negative factors: 1) Like broadcast, cable nets are now facing a
zero-sum ratings game; 2) Weak scatter and lighter volume in the upfronts point
to a continuing slow cable ad market; 3) The fiercer battle for audiences are
driving programming costs higher; and 4) The consolidation of distribution
muscle will drive affiliate fee growth down into the future."
FCC Launches Comcast/TWC Review On
Thursday the FCC issued a public notice kicking off the official review of the
Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, starting an informal 180-day clock on vetting
Why This Matters: The agency is asking for comments about the proposed $45 billion transaction (including Comcast’s spin-off deal with Charter Communications). Initial comments are due Aug. 25, with final comments due Oct. 8.
5 Takes: B&C | Re/code | L.A. Times | Deadline | Variety
Verizon Points Finger at Netflix
Verizon has fired another salvo in its ongoing conflict with Netflix. The telco
said that it has conducted technical tests that reveal that Netflix is to blame
for the congestion its broadband customers experience when watching the online
Why This Matters: The companies have been locked in a war of words since Netflix issued a notice to its customers, telling them Verizon was to blame for buffering issues. Verizon promptly issued a cease-and-desist notice.
5 Takes: MCN | Fierce Cable | Home Media | Bloomberg | DTVE
Netflix has hits, Emmys and subscribers. But can it survive its fight with cable?
By Cecilia Kang , Published July 10, 2014 by The Washington Post:
Already this year, Netflix has grudgingly cut deals with Comcast and Verizon to guarantee faster streaming.
The world of television is dominated by big, entrenched players: broadcasters such as ABC and CBS, and cable companies such as Comcast that run the piping of the Internet and hope to get even bigger.
Standing in the middle is Netflix, which has begun to flex its muscles in Washington, challenging the same cable companies that control those pipes that the company needs to survive, waging a high-stakes bet on government regulators to act as a referee over the fast-evolving tech and telecom industries.
Whether Netflix can survive will help determine how consumers watch television for years to come. Do they continue to pay Comcast for a big package of channels? Or do they abandon the bundle and subscribe to a mix of streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, streamed through their Apple TV or Google’s Android TV?
Already, Netflix’s drumbeat of complaints to Washington has sparked a recent federal probe into how Internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon charge Netflix and other Web firms for more direct — and therefore faster — delivery of their sites to users. Netflix has also urged regulators to reject Comcast’s proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, saying the combined company would have too much power with more than 40 percent of all U.S. high-speed Internet subscriptions.
“We think the right principle is that they shouldn’t be impeding, favoring or charging for data,” Hastings said. The Comcast merger is troubling, he added, because “the idea that one company, if the merger goes through, will control half of U.S. residential broadband, not including DSL, isn’t in the interest of the Internet, public and our society.”
Today Netflix has 1,300 employees, with a staff of more than 300 in Beverly Hills creating original shows and forming exclusive licensing deals.
Netflix sees this kind of original content — and its technology — as its competitive edge. An army of engineers uses deep data analysis and experimentation on users to make sure at least five good recommended videos are served up each time a user opens Netflix apps.
The heart of that effort takes place in a comfy corner of Netflix’s Mediterranean-style corporate campus. There, product innovation vice president Chris Jaffe is sunk into a tan sofa in front of three huge 4K television screens positioned exactly 10 feet away. With a red area rug, floor lamps and maple coffee table, the space is designed to look like a typical living room for watching TV.
Jaffe is constantly testing changes to its recommendation engine, menus and widgets on the users. Successful tweaks to the app are measured by how many subscribers keep coming back for more videos, click on recommendations and actually finish films.
The challenge is to pay for all the new content without having to increase prices too much. The company raised streaming subscription rates by $1, to $8.99, for new customers this year and didn’t lose many subscribers.
But costs for Netflix could quickly skyrocket as it tries to secure faster service for its content from the cable companies. Last February, Netflix agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to directly connect its servers to Comcast’s network into American homes. Netflix reached a similar deal with Verizon in April.
These deals may have hurt Netflix’s credibility in an increasingly heated lobbying dispute over fees to direct traffic over the Internet.
Netflix believes it should be able to connect directly to the Internet networks for free, pointing to a long tradition of the free exchange of traffic between the many companies that deliver data over the Web. The company has complained to the Federal Communications Commission that new charges for the delivery of Web traffic is anticompetitive and could harm consumers and small businesses that aren’t able to pay tolls on the Internet.
Cable and phone companies argue that a company gobbling up as much as one-third of all Internet bandwidth should bear some of the costs to delivery content.
Regulators are divided on how to handle the issue, which is separate from the review of “net neutrality” rules now under way. Net neutrality deals with the last mile of Internet pipe before content reaches consumers; Netflix’s issue goes beyond that to other stretches of Internet connection earlier in the chain.
How the government handles these questions, experts say, will help determine how consumers experience media in the future.
Some regulators note that Netflix has led a charge to online video that benefits consumers.
“Services like Netflix not only make us want more broadband, they make our broadband connections more personal — by giving us the power to watch what we want, when we want it, where we want it,” said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.
In the absence of rulemaking by the government, Netflix has tried to educate users on how their broadband service works by holding the companies accountable on speeds and performance — so that if and when a video doesn’t stream smoothly, customers are more likely to blame their Internet service provider.
In June, some Verizon Internet customers saw an error message when trying to load Netflix videos: “The Verizon network is crowded right now.”
Verizon responded with a cease-and-desist demand that Netflix take down its message to subscribers. It called the maneuver a “PR stunt.”
“As Netflix knows, there are many different factors that can affect traffic on the Internet,” Randal Milch, Verizon’s head of public policy, wrote in a cease-and-desist letter to Netflix. He said such factors include “choices by Netflix in how to connect to its customers and deliver content to them, interconnection between multiple networks, and consumer in-home issues such as in-home wiring, Wi-Fi, and device settings and capabilities.”
Netflix, which has two full-time lobbyists, has poured more money into bulking up its political influence, spending $1.2 million in 2013 on lobbying, more than double its total three years earlier.
The money spent on lobbying Congress and the FCC still pales in comparison to cable firms; Comcast, for instance, spent $18.8 million last year on lobbyists who include high-level former staffers from the FCC.
“We are arguing for everyone that no one gets charged,” Hastings said. “That will help Amazon, Hulu and others.”
But Netflix’s founder is careful with how he characterizes his bigger industry bedfellows. And he concedes that the status quo could be difficult to dislodge.
“The cable television bundle is very powerful,” Hastings said. “People have speculated on breaking the bundle for decades and when it’s speculated that much and the number of subscribers hasn’t really gone down, you know its a pretty stable business model.”
McAdams On: Aereo’s Hail Mary
Deborah D. McAdams /
From the Department of Stuff You Cannot Make Up
THIMBLERIG— Now that the highest court in the United States has
determined that Aereo is breaking the law, it is countering with the clever
strategy of claiming that it’s not breaking the law because the Supreme
Court said it resembles a cable system. By extension, Aereo says it’s therefore
eligible to negotiate for the carriage of TV signals. That was the upshot of
its response to the district court judge whose denial of an injunction against
Aereo was overturned by the Supreme Court last month.
“If Aereo is a ‘cable system’ as that term is defined in the Copyright Act, it is eligible for a statutory license, and its transmissions may not be enjoined,” Bruce P. Keller of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP wrote in a joint letter with the plaintiffs to Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The high court basically told Judge Nathan to issue the injunction. Aereo basically told Judge Nathan not to issue the injunction because it really isn’t what it said it was back when she denied the injunction.
Because, you see, Aereo is the mayor on HBO’s “True Blood.”
“The Supreme Court has announced a new and different rule governing Aereo’s operations.” Keller wrote for Aereo. “Under the Second Circuit’s precedents, Aereo was a provider of technology and equipment with respect to the near-live transmissions at issue in the preliminary injunction appeal. After the Supreme Court’s decision, Aereo is a cable system with respect to those transmissions.”
The broadcast plaintiffs in the case responded with words to the effect of, “what are these guys smoking?”
“It is astonishing for Aereo to contend that the Supreme Court’s decision automatically transformed Aereo into a ‘cable system,’” Keller wrote for the plaintiffs.
Aereo says it’s eligible to carry TV signals pursuant to the Copyright Act, Title 17, wavy sign 111, which defines the “limitations on exclusive rights: Secondary transmissions of broadcast programming by cable,” and serves as a natural alternative to Sominex.
However, Copyright Act, Title 17, wavy sign 111 says secondary transmission is “permissible under the rules, regulations or authorizations of the Federal Communications Commission.” And the FCC says in 47 Code of Federal Regulations wavy sign 76.64(a) that “no multichannel video programming distributor shall retransmit the signal of any commercial broadcasting station without the express authority of the originating station,” emphasis mine. Exceptions include must-carry and distant signals for unserved households, which do not apply to Aereo.
And so, to the first point: Did the Supreme Court define Aereo as a cable system, or is this a classic case of language filtering. It was a short-lived relationship, after all. Here’s what the ruling said, emphasis also mine:
“Because Aereo’s activities are substantially similar to those of the [community antenna TV] companies that Congress amended the [Copyright] Act to reach, Aereo is not simply an equipment provider.”
This does not appear to be a classification. Jim Burger, a media and intellectual property attorney with Thomson Coburn LLC, said in fact that the court did not formally define Aereo as a cable system, per se. Had it done so, Aereo and everything like it would have become the FCC’s headache. However, the opinion leaves much to be desired, according to Gus Horowitz, a telecom attorney at the University of Nebraska College of Law.
“Even though it reaches the correct outcome, the Supreme Court’s Aereo opinion is staggeringly, and confusingly, bad. The court’s ‘looks like cable’ analysis fails to address the difficult questions about the meaning of the Copyright Act; rather, it has added to existing confusion,” he wrote for Tech Policy Daily.
Even if Judge Nathan accepts that the high court defined Aereo as a cable system, there’s that pesky sticky wicket of “express authority,” something the FCC recently reiterated with a $2.25 million fine against a Texas cable operator. Media attorney R. Scott Flick with Pillsbury in D.C.:
“The Supreme Court clearly did not rule that Aereo was a cable system for purposes of applying the compulsory license, and even if it had, it still wouldn't circumvent the need to get retrans consent from the broadcasters Aereo wants to carry. More importantly, Aereo’s copyright infringement up to this point carries potential damages awards to broadcasters in the multi-billions of dollars, making any rescue effort by Aereo too little, too late.
This goes to what the Mr. Keller wrote for broadcasters in the aforementioned joint letter:
“Have these guys stepped off a curb and hit their head?”
Or rather, whether or not the court entertains the cable definition defense, the injunction should be imposed “given the court’s ruling that Aereo has been violating plaintiff’s exclusive rights to publicly perform their works for over two years, during which time plaintiffs, as the court held, have suffered irreparable harm.”
And “irreparable harm,” ladies and gentleman, is a core component of the justification for an injunction. “Irreparable” in that it can’t be measured in the way the judges in the Fox-Dish Hopper stand-off suggest is possible. (See the superbly crafted piece, “Fox v. Dish Hopper: Court Skeptical of ‘Irreparable Damages.”) The Aereo damage is arguably irreparable because the TV stations in the 13 markets where it launched have no way to measure its impact on ratings, the universal currency of ad revenue.
Finally, Aereo argues that even if the court grants an injunction for “near-simultaneous” playback, it should not cover recording under the precedent set in Cablevision. This conveniently ignores “express authority.” Aereo’s plea to the district court amounts to a Hail Mary in overtime, or as Mr. Flick writes: “Aereo is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic not as it sinks, but as it sits on the bottom of the ocean.”
One more point peripheral to Aereo is the implication of the Supreme Court’s ruling, made by Mr. Burger.
“Under this ruling, Google comes up with a local OTT package,” he said. “They could go to the broadcasters with a check.”
It seems the fun has just begun.
- See more at: http://www.tvtechnology.com/mcadams-on/0117/mcadams-on-aereos-hail-mary-/271251#sthash.KSkXQmbC.dpuf
10 July 2014
Rupert Murdoch Reportedly Interested in Buying Time Warner. Rupert Murdoch, who already controls one of
the world's biggest media conglomerates, has expressed interest in buying Time
Warner. The gossip in Sun Valley, Idaho, this week is that he is eyeing an
acquisition of Time Warner, parent company of Warner Bros. and Turner
Broadcasting, which includes CNN and HBO.
Why This Matters: Perhaps the biggest benefit of a combined company is the increased negotiating power that the entity would have with distribution partners such as Comcast and Dish.
5 Takes: Politico | Huffington Post | CNN | Seeking Alpha | THR
American Community Television Joins TVFreedom.org . TVFreedom.org
announced Tuesday that American Community Television, (ACT) has become a member
of the coalition, which includes network affiliate associations, the National
Association of Broadcasters and others pushing back against calls for retrans
Why This Matters: ACT, which has been battling cable ops over PEG channel placement, is the 28th organization to join TVFreedom.org, and will work with coalition members to help push for legislation and policies that will preserve localism, while protecting affordable access to broadcast TV programming and PEG channels on cable TV systems for millions of low-income households, seniors, and minority communities across the nation.
2 Takes: B&C | RBR
ACT Takes Stand for TVFreedom
Joins with broadcasters in fighting retrans reforms pushed by cable ops7/08/2014 12:57:00 PM Eastern
By: John Eggerton
American Community Television, which has been battling cable ops over PEG channel placement, has joined broadcasters in battling them over retrans reforms.
TVFreedom.org said Tuesday that ACT had become a member of the coalition, which includes network affiliate associations, the National Association of Broadcasters and others pushing back against calls for retrans reforms.
"Local broadcast TV stations and PEG channels often work together to deliver vital public service, educational and religious programming to viewers in their communities and cannot be replicated by pay-TV or broadband service providers," said ACT executive director Bunnie Riedel.
Broadcasters are fighting cable efforts to include a prohibition on basic-tier status for retrans stations in must-pass satellite television legislation.
For its part, ACT is pushing a bill that would preserve PEG access on cable basic tiers and expanded use of PEG funding for ongoing operations. TVFreedom says it supports that legislation.
Broadcast-only households jump 4%, Nielsen stats show
July 8, 2014 | By Samantha Bookman
Despite reports to the contrary, the broadcast television audience may be keeping over-the-air viewing alive and well, a study from Nielsen suggests. Broadcast-only households grew 4 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2014.
"The number of broadcast-only households in the US has hovered between 11 and 11.2 million for the last three years. However, the first quarter of 2014 showed a big change. The number increased to over 11.6 million, an increase of 3% over Q4 2013 and 4% over Q1 2013," analyst Colin Dixon of nScreen Media wrote in a post reporting the results.
Broadband households seem to be influencing the growth in OTA viewing, Dixon noted.
"The number of homes that are broadcast only but also have broadband access is also on the increase. In Q1 2013, there were 5.3M. This number has grown 12%, to 5.9M," he said.
Q1 2014 (in 000's) Household Statistics
Television Distribution Signal Sources:
OTA Broadcast Only 11,617
Wired Cable (no Telco) 54,951
Broadband Only 1,627
CABLE/Satellite Homes With Broadband Access:
Cable/Satellite BST + Broadband 5,923
Cable/Satellite BST Only -no Broadband 6,404
Cable-Plus /Satellite + Broadband 79,941
Cable-Plus /Satellite Only -no broadband 20,732
Nielsen began tracking broadband-only homes in the fourth quarter of 2013.
(And, the NAB version of the same - ggd)
NAB report says over-the-air is gaining on pay TV
19.3 percent of U.S. households said to get their TV from broadcast signals
June 22, 2013 | By Jim Barthold
Broadcasters, who are in an ongoing struggle to remain relevant, have found a reason to be hopeful thanks to a study compiled by GfK Media and Entertainment for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
The survey, which either discounted or dismissed the international growth of IPTV and Internet-based television altogether, determined that over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV is holding its own and may even be gaining on the pay competition.
According to GfK Media & Entertainment's 2013 Ownership Survey and Tend Report, developed for the broadcasters, 19.3 percent of U.S. households rely on OTA to watch TV programming. This represents a 1.5 percent increase over last year and is evidence that "over-the-air households continue to grow, making up an increasing sizeable portion of television viewers," said David Tice, GfK's senior vice president.
The research firm estimated that 22.4 million households--or about 59.7 million consumers--only watch over-the-air television.
"Our research reveals that over-the-air broadcasting remains an important distribution platform of TV programming (and) this year's results confirm the statistically significant growth in the number of broadcast-only TV households in the U.S.," Tice added.
Less impressive, statistics-wise, was the added note that 5.9 percent of TV households cut the cord in 2013, generally for cost-cutting reasons or, as the report put it, because of a lack of perceived value for the pay TV service.
The research broke down the types of consumers who are living with OTA TV and concluded that minorities (41 percent) were the biggest percentage of OTA-only households and that 28 percent of homes led by someone 18 to 34 years old were big OTA followers while only 17 percent of those run by someone 50 or older preferred the OTA route.
Again, without stating whether IP-connected video services such as Netflix were coming into the equation, the report noted that "two out of 10 younger over-the-air households have never purchased a pay TV service."
The report did seem to conclude that pay TV services--not surprisingly--are more popular with people who can afford them.
"Lower-income households also trend towards broadcast-only television, with 30 percent of homes having an annual income under $30,000 receiving TV signals solely over-the-air (up from 22 percent in 2010)," the NAB press release stated. "In comparison, 11 percent of homes with incomes $75,000 or greater currently rely exclusively on broadcast signals, a proportion that has changed little since 2010."
(GGD analyis: Tallies of the "Households" counted must include cross population count mixing. ie.. Satellite + OTA or Internet only + OTA probably co-exist in the homes count surveys - which now indicates an estimated total market of 126 million homes. Cable Packages still dominate, but the lure of home-owner controlled reception via personal antennas is gaining market share. Cable enjoyed up to 83% market share within the past 20 years, but has declined to 63% as the overall market size has grown. Declines in the total numbers of cable subscribers is now in progress. Claims of OTA market share ranges between 9 to 18% - depending on who is paying for the survey.)
Over-The-Air Broadcast Homes 11.6 million (22.4 per the NAB count)
Satellite Broadcast Homes 34.8 million
Cable Package Homes 79.9 million
TV package via Telco Delivery 12.1 million
Internet Only Homes 1.6 million
8 July 2014
Fox Cites Aereo Precedent in AutoHop Appeal.An attorney for Fox
presented his case against Dish’s AutoHop DVR to a trio of federal judges of
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, Calif. yesterday, arguing that
the district court was wrong and abused its discretion in denying an
Why This Matters: Fox used broadcasters' recent Supreme Court victory in the Aereo case to buttress its argument, pointing out that Dish had argued that it was merely an equipment provider, an Aereo argument that the Supreme Court rejected. It also pointed out the Court had rejected Aereo's argument that a performance was not public under the Copyright Act if each subscriber watches a unique stream.
5 Takes: B&C | TVT | Fierce Cable | Variety | The Motley Fool
FCC Names 'Merger Hawks' to Review Pay-TV Mega-MergersThe Federal
Communications Commission announced the members of the panel that will review
two proposed mega-mergers – Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV.
Why This Matters: In a story headlined, "These are the merger hawks who will decide your cable future," the Washington Post noted, "From the looks of it, the companies will face a tough review."
4 Takes: Washington Post | Fierce Cable | CED | TVT
YouTube’s 2013 Revenue Estimated at $3.5 Billion. According to a report from The
Information, YouTube generated $3.5 billion in revenue for Google in 2013,
well below analyst estimates, which put YouTube’s 2013 revenue anywhere from $5
billion to $5.6 billion.
Why This Matters: These figures show that new CEO Susan Wojcicki has plenty of work ahead of her. When Wojcicki replaced Salar Kamangar in February, it was seen as a move geared toward increasing ad revenues, since Wojcicki came from Google’s ad department.
4 Takes: Tube Filter | Gigaom | Media Post | Mashable
Media Moguls Converge on Sun
Valley. Media moguls will descend on
Sun Valley, Idaho at the annual Allen & Co. conference beginning Tuesday,
with all eyes focusing on who or what could be the target for the next big a
Why This Matters: Allen & Co., has held the annual week-long retreat since the 1980s, where moguls can mix a day of golfing, hiking, kayaking and fishing along with deal-making. Some legendary deals have come out of the conference, including Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal and Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post for $250 million last year.
3 Takes: MCN | Business Insider | Variety
YouTube Publically Shaming ISPs for
Slow Video. YouTube has started
publicly shaming internet providers for slow video, with a link to a page that
displays the current service quality for the viewer’s internet provider as well
as other media providers in the area.
Why This Matters: YouTube’s notification is similar to one Netflix recently displayed to customers, which pointed the finger at the customer’s ISP when video playback was slow. Verizon called the message “deliberately misleading” and threatened legal action. Netflix stopped doing it last month.
4 Takes: Quartz | Re/code | Fierce Cable | Venture Beat
Netflix Maintains Lead over Amazon for
Top Movies, TV Shows. Netflix continues
to outpace Amazon.com’s subscription-video service in terms of
content-licensing, delivering substantially more of the top 50 movies and top
75 TV shows from the last few years, according to an analysis by Piper Jaffray
Why This Matters: The report also suggested that online subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus are retreating from licensing movie content, but loading up on TV show rights.
3 Takes: Variety | Deadline | Fierce Cable