[opendtv] Re: Fewer than 2 Million have OTA DTV in US

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 12:17:13 -0800

I believe I answered this in advance.  Local-into-local in 1999 "unleashed"
the DBS business; access to local channels provides much of the draw for

We will, apparently, get a couple of chances in the near future to see what
happens to a cable system or systems without local channels.  If I've read
news reports accurately, on January 6, 2007, MediaCom loses access to
Sinclair stations in multiple markets.

MediaCom has replaced local channels in some markets with not-so-local
stations with the same networks.  Maybe those 'distant' stations will change
to include coverage of the distant markets; most likely they won't.

So, MediaCom cable subscribers who can't get the signals over the air or
don't want to try, will have the option of satellite local-into-local or
distant stations.  It will be interesting to watch.

Also, Tom, you've minimized the "economy of scale" argument.  Local stations
that affiliate with networks have the same benefit of that economy of scale.
Imagine a station in Tulsa trying to produce something as well-produced and
popular as "Desparate Housewives."

The economy of scale argument for the networks works TWO ways; national
exposure for their advertisers, and the tie-ins with their owned and
operated stations.

John Willkie

> -----Original Message-----
> From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
> On Behalf Of Tom Barry
> Sent: Sunday, December 24, 2006 6:32 AM
> To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [opendtv] Re: Fewer than 2 Million have OTA DTV in US
> The numbers I'd like to know have more to do with what is the value
> added of a local channel?  Do people really want local channels because
> they are local?  Or do they just associate the more popular local
> channels with the network channels?
> The national network content obviously has a vastly greater economy of
> scale and basically can have a lot more money invested in it based upon
> the expected number of viewers.
> But if people were to estimate a cable bill reduction based upon losing
> some single channel, would they prefer to lose a local unaffiliated
> channel or (assuming they had one) a national network channel from one
> of the big 4.  How much new discount would they likely expect from each?
> I sometimes wonder if there is really marginal demand for local content
> and it is just the more costly national content they might want.
> Have there been any studies on this?  For instance, what percentage of
> non-network local channels negotiate retransmission consent instead of
> using must carry?  Are those figures available anywhere?
> - Tom

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