[opendtv] Stating What Is Now Obvious

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 10:18:52 -0800

With all the caterwauling on this list about "broadcasters abandoning OTA"
and "maintaining the NTSC franchise" and other such rot, and then endlessly
repeating it, it's funny how nobody has mentioned the major change in the
seas and winds.


Every three years, broadcasters and cable companies either renegotiate
"retransmission consent" for the cable firms to carry the broadcaster's
programming, or the broadcaster exercises "must carry."


The terns are for three years, and generally last for three years, and the
renewal date, which can vary a bit on retrans deals, occurs around this


So, a little bit of addition - for those who can accurately quote the title
of broadcast publications - leads one to deduce that the current round of
deals will not only cover the "NTSC franchise" but the "8-VSB" one.  That
is, the February, 2009 analog cut-off date will occur within the time period
of most retrans deals that are being announced now.


Oftimes, during these renewal periods, broadcasters feel that they are being
slighted and they consider going to court or the FCC to halt a cable firm
from dropping their channel(s).


IIRC, it's been more than a year since I've heard broadcasters doing such


Judging by media reports, the pendulum has swung.  All over the country,
CABLE firms have gone to court and the FCC in desperate attempts to keep
BROADCASTERS from removing their content from cable systems when retrans
negotiations break down.


One can read news reports about Sinclair (multiple markets) and
Hearst-Argyle in this context, among others.


It's as if cable firms have become desperate and broadcasters have become
self-assured of a peaceful world were cable firms not able to "steal"
programming without compensation.  I mean, it's not as if cable firms are
actually able to produce programming .


Could it be that broadcasters are "feeling their oats" about the 8-VSB world
and are "acting it out" on cable firms ?


Judging by news reports, the networks have been able to negotiate beneficial
agreements with cable firms in the markets where they own and operate
television stations.  It's the other media groups, ones that produce
local-centered programming, that, by the words or cable firms and their
pleadings to the FCC and court, are "squeezing" the cable firms.


I suspect that the "$50 vouchers" play into the broadcasters feeling their


John Willkie


P.S.  The above is "news analysis."  I literally didn't speak to any
broadcasters about this topic, and haven't mentioned the general issue to a
broadcaster in more than a year.




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