Here's one possible model for first-run TV shows that might do what makes sense. For ad-supported material, the ad revenues go directly to the content creators. And it's based on total viewership. The content creators decide how to distribute this material. They use any combination of their own OTA facilities, affiliated OTA stations, cable, DBS, IPTV telcos. Content providers pay the media they do not own for distributing their material. So the content creators are rewarded if they efficiently use the media they have access to. For example, general interest content might use all media available, but more special interest content might be sent over subscription services, or over premium tiers, as one would naturally do with specialized material. Leaving room for maximum viewership of the general interest stuff. Subscription services are also permitted to insert even more ads, for more income. That's entirely up to them. More ads might start to erode viewership, of course. The content creators can negotiate rates with these independent distribution services. The independent distribution service needs only "guarantee" the viewership they claim exists. For content not supported by ads, the content creators derive their income from the viewership. So, either they scramble the content on their OTA network, and charge viewers for the decryption service (a la Marquee OTA service that predated cable TV for uninterrupted movies), or they get compensated by the umbillical service providers, based on viewership. With such a scheme, seems to me that network-owned and affiliated broadcasters would have an incentive to promote their OTA service, it being part of the total distribution system. The larger the total viewership, the more they can charge advertizers. And for every eyeball that leaves a subsription service, there's an incentive to get those eyes on the OTA network. This should work fine without having to invent an "OTA distribution utlity." For content providers who do not own stations, or do not have a network of affiliates, independent or net-affiliated stations can also create outlets for them. Here too, the ad revenue would go to the content creator, if this is to be ad supported, and this content provider negotiates carriage with the station(s). Here too, the station may try to fit in even more ads, if it thinks this won't erode viewership. I think that with this scheme, affiliated OTA broadcasters would not be satisfied to just rely on the umbillical media and must-carry for distributing their programs. Because affilated broadcasters' income is only derived from what they themselves distribute, negtiated with the content provider only. So how far is this removed from current realities? Bert _________________________________________________________________ Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today - it's FREE! http://messenger.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200471ave/direct/01/ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.