[opendtv] Re: Internet pay-TV is coming. Will you care?

  • From: Albert Manfredi <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2014 19:02:24 -0500

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> Thanks Bert!
> You finally understand why the media congloms operate their business
> the way they do. You have argued time and again that the congloms
> can get rid of the middlemen and go direct to the viewer. This
> article rather convincingly argues that the congloms will benefit
> from MORE middlemen.

Wow, how do you keep getting this backwards? The article simply confirms what 
I've been saying forever. Which is, the congloms are NOT held to the MVPD model 
as you think they are, and will use Internet distribution in whatever way that 
will ultimately benefit THEM.

And why on earth would they want more middlemen? That only takes money away 
from the conglom. This is obvious, Craig. The only middlemen they will use are 
those that add value to their cause.

> Truth is, the viewers have never been "the customers" of the
> congloms; they are customers of middlemen who all offer essentially
> the same content. Walled garden subscribers are far more valuable
> to the congloms than services that only have one revenue stream
> from ads.

You're re-writing the article to fit your own storyline, Craig. As I've said 
countless times, Internet TV can be ad-supported or subscription-supported. It 
already is, in fact, and it needs no old-time MVPD for any of this. Once again, 
I watch pay-Internet TV from Amazon, not an MVPD. I watch FOTI TV from the 
congloms' own portals, or from third part portals like wwitv.com, not MVPDs, 
not even local broadcasters. (And I watch live TV from local broadcasters, not 

None of these are walled gardens, contrary to what you claim. Why? Because my 
ISP gives me access to any number of TV portals, free or for pay. This is 
nothing like the old model, where the TV distribution network hardware tied one 
to a specific choice of content and specific fee structure.

> All that matters is that the viewer must subscribe to a walled garden
> service in order to access the most valuable content,

Okay, let me repeat this:

This is nothing like the old model, where the TV distribution network hardware 
tied one to a specific choice of content and specific fee structure. The 
content owners aren't so stupid that they don't get this, Craig.

> The Net Neutrality story is still playing out. Nobody really knows
> what will happen. But the article you posted provides many
> significant clues. The obvious take away is that the content and
> MVPD/ISP oligopolies are not going to allow some upstart competitor
> to tear down the garden walls.

I agree only with the first sentence. We don't know yet where "net neutrality" 
is heading. However I know for a fact that my ISP is not preventing me from 
finding any upstart TV portal, or other content source on the Internet, as 
quickly as these upstarts show up.

HBO needs to compete against Netflix, Craig. They would be stubbornly-stupid if 
they attempted to do so by adding more middlemen than they needed. So, they had 
better break away from archaic distribution models, and compete with new 
technology. Yes, as you say, like Amazon has done wrt other retail models.

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