At 8:51 PM -0500 11/15/04, Tom Barry wrote: >While local content is needed I have never understood why it is needed >by every single channel. In many ways it would make more sense to have >a few national channels that make no pretense of being local and let >people switch to a local channel when they really want local. Then we >can find out which one really gets watched most of the time. I realize >there are politics involved but it might be a useful experiment. In a sense, this is already starting to happen, thanks to the tenuous relationships between the networks and their affiliates. As examples, we now have KRON in San Francisco and WJXT in Jacksonville, both of which were network affiliates that are now essentially focusing on local programming opportunities (mostly news). They still fill out the schedules with syndicated programming, but localism is what they are selling. From a historical perspective, the need for local content comes back to the deal between the government and the licensees for "free" use of the spectrum. Specifically the Public Interest obligations of broadcasters. This has been given additional credence by the NAB, which regularly points out the economic value of the public services that are provided. The reality, however, is that few stations are making money with local programming, other than news; and now, many stations are not making money with news. It is just too easy to make money with syndicated programming that will draw a larger audience. The other major problem is that licensees need to program the station 7 days a week. This is very difficult with local content, although 24/7 local news channels on cable seem to be able to do this. Ironically, the area where local content does breakthru is when someone comes to a station and buys a block of time for their own programming. local Church services are a good example. There might be other opportunities for local content producers to develop programming, but it is difficult to buy time from local broadcasters at rates that are commensurate with the audience that might be attracted. > >An interesting but impossible twist on this might be a single national >channel that carried ALL the big 4-6 networks in SDTV. With a modern >codec that could probably be done very nicely on a single ATSC or COFDM >or satellite channel. And if your car had a PVR with a cheap 250 GB >hard drive in it you could constantly cache the entire most recent 24 >hours of ALL national network channels (in SDTV) plus a few saved shows. > Of course to do this would likely be illegal, immoral, and impossible >to negotiate for various reasons. But the technology is probably not >what's stopping it. This is an interesting idea that I have given much consideration to. I have often wondered if it would now be possible to create a national ANALOG television service in the VHF spectrum. This would "kill two birds with one stone." First, there would be no need to turn off analog until nobody is watching anymore. No subsidies for digital set-top boxes...just a handful of channels that everyone could receive with existing TVs. Second, We could give these channels to the networks and let them ride down the "analog" ship. The concept I have been tossing around would be to use the UHF spectrum for the Spectrum utility I have been promoting. This would become a market driven DTV service WITHOUT individual station licensees. Anyone would be able to buy time on the utility to deliver their content, including existing local broadcasters and the national networks (both broadcast and cable). At some point in the future the CHFG spectrum could be recovered, or used for some other NATIONAL digital service. Any Thoughts? Regards Craig ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.