[opendtv] Re: Is 'Fair Use' in Peril?

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 09:11:29 -0500

At 11:18 AM -0500 12/2/04, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>Exactly! Which is why Congress should consider
>allowing fast forward in recording devices, even
>if it decides to ban the outright skipping function.
>As a matter of fact, I would suggest that FF makes
>the viewer pay *more* attention to the ad, because
>he has to concentrate until the program begins
>again. As opposed to just reading the paper during
>the ads. And ads can be designed to work well when
>watched in FF mode.

I seriously doubt that any law passed by Congress that REQUIRES 
viewing content as it is presented (sequenced), could hold up to a 
court challenge. Outlawing FF and Rewind is not feasible.

>  > I find it interesting that the migration to DVD
>>  is now beginning to threaten the traditional
>>  distribution channel of advertiser supported TV
>>  programming. Millions of people are buying DVDs
>>  with complete series of TV programs, all without
>>  commercials. And the content owners are making
>>  even more money selling their content directly to
>>  consumers.
>This is simply a different business model. This is
>more like Hollywood selling movies on DVD or VHS.

No, it is simply another step in the evolution of the business model 
for distribution of content. I have often written about the TV food 
chain, as a kind of waterfall, where content moves from  high profit 
PAID distribution to advertiser supported "free" distribution over 

Remember the good old days when the Networks captured HUGE ratings 
with the "World Television Premiere" of Hollywood movies? Now the 
networks rarely even show theatrical movies,   and when they do, they 
have already been through the paid viewing window and packaged media 
release.  Bottom line, the media conglomerates now take in better 
than $15 billion in packaged media sales, and additional millions 
(billions?) through the PPV/HBO/Starz/Showtime windows.

Yesterday Bert was concerned about how content will be paid for if 
commercials become ineffective. I would suggest that they have been 
growing less and less effective for two decades, and that viewers 
have established an economic preference for direct payment for 
content when they want to be entertained WITHOUT interruptions.

The move to direct release (on DVD) of episodic television is simply 
a "rerun" of what has already happened  on theatrical features. This 
approach deals with ad skipping quite effectively, not to mention 
driving more revenue to the bottom line for the media conglomerates.

>I also find the concept interesting, but it
>doesn't invalidate the broadcast TV model. I will
>bet that those DVD sets would not sell nearly as
>well if the content were not also being broadcast
>and talked about by the office crowd. Besides,
>only some shows are available on DVD.

Broadcast TV is filled with old movies; and old TV programs. These 
programs do not capture the huge audiences of "The Golden Age of TV," 
but they do generate niche audiences that are profitable for 
broadcasters - especially independent broadcasters that do not have 
prime time programming from a network.

In essence, advertiser supported TV is now at the bottom of the 
waterfall - i.e. next to last on the food chain. Last place is 
reserved for those tapes on the shelves, filled with old movies and 
sporting events that will never watch again.

>Ads are important. "Targeted ads" are only
>slightly less likely to be zapped than other ads.
>So a good answer is needed regardless.

Advertisers will always find a way to put messages in front of us. 
Consumers will continue to find ways to avoid ads that they do not 
want. Opting INTO ads is a VERY different approach. In essence, you 
are agreeing to view an advertiser message in return for the 
advertiser to spend a bit more to pay for your content. I like to 
think of this as a marketplace where advertisers BID for your 
attention. The viewer will be able to review these bids and choose 
what is of interest, and equally important, choose the best deals in 
terms of what they receive in return for opting in.

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