[opendtv] Re: Another CES report

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 07:37:53 -0500

At 6:53 PM -0500 1/13/08, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
on't think anyone interested in the survival of FOTA TV should saddle
it with the huge burden of emphasizing "local content."

FOTA TV is not about localism. It is simply the cheapest and most
efficient way to get huge bit rates out to mass audiences. Possibly, in
the future, as ISP hetworks continue to improve, the Internet will
become a practical, viable alternative to OTA TV, and will give
umbillical, walled garden systems a run for their money.

It's not about local content versus mass appeal content. It's about ownership of the content versus being a middleman.

Local content has its place. I disagree with Bert about the role of localism with FOTA. It is a critical part of the overall content offered by a station, ESPECIALLY during times of local "emergencies."But it is not enough to sustain a station. Loooks like KRON is for sale again - it's tough to survive as a local News station, even in a market as large as San Francisco.

The problem is that if broadcasters want to continue with their current business model of time slot oriented linear programming, they need to fill most of the slots with stuff that enough people will watch to deliver a salable audience to advertisers. Most local broadcasters know how to "lease" content to fill up the slots, but they seem incapable of creating it.

But there are some notable exceptions. The scale issue is just an easy out for broadcasters who don't think outside "their" walled garden. WGBH could be just another PBS member station. But they chose to put some of their resources into the development of content which is delivered primarily by PBS stations. Scripps Howard owned a bunch of TV stations and Newspapers. But they saw the opportunity to develop niche content for very targeted audiences (HGTV, Food Network, Fine Living), producing programs for a fraction of what the media conglomerates spend; it is now their most profitable business, albeit delivered by multi-channel services, not FTA.

If local broadcasters want to survive they will need to stop using regulatory morass to protect a dying business, and work as an industry to develop content.

I also believe they will need to move to a push mentality, delivering files that people want rather than filling up time slots. But that's another discussion.


Being a middleman

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