[opendtv] Re: Opinion: Stations Need To Stream Their Signals Now

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2011 14:51:27 -0500

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> So essentially you are in agreement with Preston Padden that local
> stations are doomed. That they serve no real purpose for the networks
> anymore, except for the revenues they generate from their O&O
> stations...

There has to be something in it for the content owner. That article didn't 
suggest any "value added" by local stations, as far as I could tell, when it 
comes to streaming over the Internet.

When you say "except for revenues they generate from the O&Os," you should be 
wondering simultaneously, why is there a national cap anymore? That "except 
for" would become a lot less conditional if all local stations of a network 
could be run by the network or by a proxy -- another organization of the 
networks' choice alone.

> If this were permitted, how would this influence Padden's suggestions?
> That is, if I live in Florida, and want to stream an NBC show, should
> this come from a server run by the closest NBC transmission facility,
> or should it come from a single "NBC.com" server?

Fox (and others too) has already made up its mind. Quoting:


"As of August 15, 2011 customers of DISH Network will be the first to access 
new episodes of FOX shows online.  All other online viewers will be able to 
watch new episodes of FOX shows 8 days after the episode airs. This will be 
true wherever full episodes of FOX shows appear online. DISH Network is the 
first TV provider to launch with this feature but more are coming soon."

Conclusions: (1) The OTA medium retains its role, as the only way to receive 
the shows without subscription when they air, and (2) Fox feels perfectly 
capable of streaming their own content.

Tangentially, CBS has already had a policy of cutting down on its online full 
length episodes. And all of the networks have doubled and tripled the length of 
their online ad breaks. Used to be 30 seconds, now they often go to more than a 
minute (still a bargain, but the tea leaves are clear).

> Is there any real difference given that most media streaming is now
> distributed rather than centralized (for example Akamai). 

Which, btw, is something that involves ISPs rather than OTA transmission 
facilities. Ditto for any potential of multicasting live streams. Something 
that is not going to happen over "the Internet," but rather, over individual 
ISP networks. All of this online streaming stuff increases the role of ISPs, by 
necessity, but not the role of local OTA RF transmission facilities.

> And if everything is streamed, should NBC still pay the power bills for
> transmitters, or should NBC just use the Internet for delivery of their
> programming?

Exactly. For whatever set of reasons, many of the content owners are not ready 
to use the Internet as their sole distribution medium. They devalue open 
Internet delivery, e.g. with the time delay of a day or longer, they tie online 
streaming strictly to MVPD accounts, and some also do not provide all of their 
content online (e.g. CBS, from among OTA broadcast nets, and a whole host of 
others). On the other hand, there's no hint yet, at least, of a desire to 
eliminate their FOTA delivery.


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