[opendtv] Re: 20041220 Mark's Monday Memo

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 09:17:34 -0500

At 6:31 PM -0500 12/23/04, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>(If most markets out there have no more than
>six local OTA stations, wouldn't carriage of
>the entire DTT multiplex only constitute a
>total of 3 6-MHz cable channels (256-QAM)? It
>is difficult to believe that there isn't room.)

Space is not the issue. Control of your own property is.

Carriage of broadcast signals is but one possible source of content 
for cable systems. And it comes with some baggage, like 
retransmission consent payments, or in-kind "payments" such as the 
preferred carriage of non-broadcast networks. Alternative sources of 
content often come with additional income for the cable system. Each 
program from a broadcast multiplex may take up as much room as 
another service that can generate revenue for the cable system, such 
a delivery of a pay-per-view event.

So the issue is NOT that cable systems do not have enough room. The 
issue is that they have no economic incentive to continue helping 
broadcasters build their business. As you noted  earlier in this 
post, the real test SHOULD BE consumer demand for the content. But 
with this "test" the broadcast networks do not get the benefit of 
forcing content on the cable system and demanding payment for it. The 
NCTA notes that the primary programs from more than 450 DTV stations 
are now being carried by cable systems, and that many PBS multiplexes 
are being carried. ALL of this is based on voluntary carriage based 
on the marketplace, rather than FCC regulations; and most of these 
stations are ALSO being carried on the analog tiers.

I "agree" with Bert, that the marketplace should decide.

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