[opendtv] Re: STB hunting

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 09:54:57 -0500

At 3:42 PM -0500 1/24/06, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>Craig Birkmaier wrote:
>>  First, the number of DBS subscribers in the U.S. is now
>>  in excess of 27 million, or nearly 25% of all U.S. homes.
>And the latest poll quoted by Mark Schubin said something
>around 22 percent for OTA households. So *roughly* the
>same. And even when DBS was below 20 percent, no one was
>dismissing it as being insignificant.

I am sick and tired of these "polls" stating how many OTA households 
there are. If a household has 5 TVs, and only one of them uses an 
antenna on occasion to watch an OTA broadcast, it is called an OTA 
household in most of these studies. 22% does not reflect reality, as 
many of these homes subscribe to cable or DBS.

The OTA audience is NOT insignificant, although the demographics are 
considerably different than those of cable and DBS homes. Some may 
call them "bottom feeders," although this term certainly does not 
apply to Bert. Many are simply not able to afford a subscription 
service, and many other simply don't care, choosing NOT to watch TV 
at all.

What DOES matter is the trend line for the OTA audience. Bert loves 
to use this form of analysis when it suits his purposes, as he just 
did trying to explain why there are so many more models of monitors 
than integrated receivers. For some reason, however, when the trends 
suggest something that runs counter to his "belief system," they are 
to be ignored.

The trend for the OTA audience is downward - it has been for two 
decades. Less than 15% of U.S. homes rely exclusively on OTA TV 
service (this is confirmed by the FCC and multiple studies). A 
significant number of studies forecast that the OTA audience will be 
below 10% by the end of this decade. AND NONE OF THIS takes into 
account other trends, like the rise of the Internet as a video 
distribution platform.

Once again, I will remind Bert that I have been working aggressively 
for more than a decade to HELP broadcasters create a survivable 
business model for terrestrial television broadcasting. The current 
ATSC business model is NOT SURVIVABLE!

>>   1. The number of U.S.  homes that still rely exclusively
>>  on the NTSC service is unknown, or at least the numbers
>>  that are quoted from different studies are conflicting.
>Yes, but the conflicts go from a low of 15 percent to 19
>percent (NAB poll of some time back) to 22 percent. And
>that percentage is *not* going down, as far as we have seen
>in the past 5 years or so.

Not true. There has been a steady decline, although the rate of 
decline has been decreasing for the past few years. Bert is caught up 
in the numbers games played by special interest groups like the NAB. 
I've been looking for years for a well constructed study with a 
statistically valid sampling technique. None exist, or at least, none 
that have been released to the public.

>So again, I'm baffled by the apparent urge to dramatize.
>If DTT is as straightforward to receive as it can be, e.g.
>my example, I see no reason to assume that NTSC households
>would want to get sucked in by anyone else.

Perhaps you are right Bert. You can't suck blood from a stone. 
Perhaps we have reached the bottom of the barrel; perhaps we have 
reached the limit of a new Shannon's Law:

Perhaps there is a finite limit on the number of people who will pay 
for their TV fix.

Then again, perhaps the broadcasters realize that they can make more 
money by focusing their attention on the `85% of U.S. homes that DO 
pay for TV, than pandering to the other 15%.

>Just the facts, Craig, no excessive conjecturing or wishful

Perhaps we are both guilty of a bit of conjecture; but Bert wins 
hands down when it comes to wishful thinking.

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