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Old 07-18-2012, 12:47 AM   #1
zowwie85
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Enough of the program provider vs. distributor stuff, PLEASE

http://www.change.org/petitions/us-c...sion-disputes#

Please read and consider signing my change.org petition aimed at BOTH content providers and signal distributors. Now that DirecTV and Viacom have polluted forums with banner ads, I posted a change.org petition.

I know full well it's not aimed at anyone by name - but that's the point. I'd like to see the industry in general find a new way to solve its disputes and stop raising prices year after year after year.
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:38 AM   #2
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:38 AM   #3
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Just for ease of reference, here are the points in the petition:
Quote:
(1) Consumers will not support an infinite 5% annual increase in multichannel video prices. One need only look at wage trends to see that it isn't sustainable.
(2) The phenomenon of cord-cutters is REAL. It is a response to these unsustainable price increases.
(3) The lasting effect of these disputes and public corporate pissing matches is bad PR for both of you. It only serves to drive your customers to "over-the-top" video services and increases piracy.
Unfortunately this petition, and complaining in forum threads, won't have any significant impact other than to (mistakenly) make the signers feel better. The only thing that will make providers and distributors pay attention is their bottom line. If the price increases are really "unsustainable", it will be proved only by so many people cutting the cord that it reduces their profit -- not by petitions and posts.

Surely you don't think these companies are dumb enough not to be aware of the cord-cuitting trend and to not have smart people on their staff trying to define what their best operating strategy should be. (??)

And hopefully you are not naive enough to think that if they do reduce cost growth, it automatically means you will get more of the programming you want for a reduced real cost. There is no guarantee of that. They are just as likely to cut or degrade the particular programs you like if they don't happen to be the most popular programs.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zowwie85 View Post
I'd like to see the industry in general find a new way to solve its disputes and stop raising prices year after year after year.
How can you have both?

How much is inflation? Shouldn't increases have to be at least the same as inflation? (which I think is lower than 5%, but you get the idea..)

BTW, I'm not saying I disagree with the idea in theory.. I think it's lame that they do things like this, though admittedly I think it's interesting that DISH took a stand.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:26 AM   #5
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How can you have both?

How much is inflation? Shouldn't increases have to be at least the same as inflation? (which I think is lower than 5%, but you get the idea..)

BTW, I'm not saying I disagree with the idea in theory.. I think it's lame that they do things like this, though admittedly I think it's interesting that DISH took a stand.
The price increases exceed inflation.

When my multichannel video/internet bill is higher than my electric bill, month after month, that's got my undivided attention. Viacom and DirecTV's bad behavior only serve to underline it.

I posted the petition in the hope that, maybe, just maybe - it would get some traction and a significant number of signers. That would fly in the face of the notion that the industry would have us believe: cord-cutters (and people on the edge of cutting, as I am) don't exist.
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:30 AM   #6
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You mean Viacom's bad behavior here, D* is trying to hold down costs because they see that this is unsustainable.

Whether you think the approach is a good one or not, I'm definitely on D*'s side with this - if they don't want to eat the increase or pass it on to the customer, what else do you propose they do? They can't keep showing the channels after the deal expires, so the only leverage they have is to cut them off and hope that Viacom feels the pain (and they have, ratings for Nick etc. are down 20% or more now and advertisers are wanting free time to compensate).
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:44 AM   #7
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Your movement needs a good slogan.

How about

"A la carte, or hasta la bye-bye"?
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by unitron View Post
Your movement needs a good slogan.

How about

"A la carte, or hasta la bye-bye"?
"movement"

Rallies? Meetings? Camping in parks?

The only movement that will make a difference is cutting the cord.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post
You mean Viacom's bad behavior here, D* is trying to hold down costs because they see that this is unsustainable.
There's likely blame to go around pretty equally. But you certainly can't expect 7-year-old prices to be sustained forever can you?

Prices for things generally go up except where there are technological changes/improvements that end up lowering costs. If you deliver more channels, deliver channels using more bandwidth, produce channels use improve technologies (SD vs HD), have to pay people to do things, have to pay people to produce programming, and those people have to live in the same world of increasing costs, prices have to go up to match/compensate, or services have to be cut back.

DirecTV has been rather disingenuous about that aspect of their claim to be "controlling costs."

I can certainly agree, though, that the aspect of leveraging the contract to gain carriage of Epix, a new-to-DirecTV channel, would easily fall under the claim of "controlling costs" when trying to prevent it's being bundled in with the other channels. But then, I also think DirecTV's $500 million cost claim for Epix is similarly disingenuous and probably represents the cost over the contract term, not an annual cost. And that makes the number rather dramatically overblown to not give it any sort of context.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:20 PM   #10
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........DirecTV has been rather disingenuous about that aspect of their claim to be "controlling costs."

........ I also think DirecTV's $500 million cost claim for Epix is similarly disingenuous and probably represents the cost over the contract term, not an annual cost. And that makes the number rather dramatically overblown to not give it any sort of context.
Yep, everbody "spins". Apparently it isn't in human nature to just tell the truth. Discussing any issue becomes a bargaining process. Each side starts out with an initial absurdly extreme bargaining position and who knows where it goes from there. Our "leaders" certainly don't set a good example. A budget "cut" that is described as saving $1 Trillion dollars actually doesn't involve lower spending, and the "savings" are spread over a ten year period, and mostly concentrated in the (mythical) out years.

Of course another view of this is the "spinners" are just doing what works. If the audience is too lazy or stupid to see through the spin, they get what they deserve. That's what explains how money (spent on nauseating, pointless, misleading TV ads) gets people elected.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:39 PM   #11
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I actually wasn't signing on the basis on price increases, but the part where it said "leave your customers out of it"; i.e., stop the insanity of temporarily dropping channels from the lineup as a hardball negotiating tactic. I thought that was the main point of the petition.
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I actually wasn't signing on the basis on price increases, but the part where it said "leave your customers out of it"; i.e., stop the insanity of temporarily dropping channels from the lineup as a hardball negotiating tactic. I thought that was the main point of the petition.
It's not a negotiating tactic; DirecTV bought the rights to retransmit those channels for 7 years. 7 years ended. They had no rights to show them anymore. At any price. Why should the provider be forced to accept payment at the expired rate; and they shouldn't be forced to pay the new asking rate either, unless they choose to agree to it.

I don't see how you come up with any sort of system that does this differently.
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:36 PM   #13
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I have a solution, but the problem is we can't get there from here:

All TV programming is on demand over IP - get rid of broadcast, give the bandwidth to the internet.

There are no more networks or distributors, or anything like them. TV programs are produced directly by the production companies and distributed over the internet.

You pay for individual shows whatever price the producers ask for (or you don't watch them).

Internet bandwidth is mandated by law to be content neutral, you pay for bandwidth and it comes with no strings (like certain programs only being accessible on certain networks).

Where do you get the money for this? Advertisers ad credit to your account when you watch their ads (which are probably all interactive so they can prove you are watching them). If you watch enough ads (or put your own money in your account) you can download the shows.

Everybody is happy (except the networks which no longer exists, but they don't really deserve to be happy).

Advertisers no longer can be accusued of sponsoring offensive shows since they now sponsor viewers directly.

TV viewers now no longer have to pay for 1000 channels of bilge they don't want in order to watch the 3 shows they do want.

You never miss a show because everything is on demand and you can watch when you want.
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:00 PM   #14
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It's not a negotiating tactic; DirecTV bought the rights to retransmit those channels for 7 years. 7 years ended. They had no rights to show them anymore. At any price. Why should the provider be forced to accept payment at the expired rate; and they shouldn't be forced to pay the new asking rate either, unless they choose to agree to it.

I don't see how you come up with any sort of system that does this differently.
+1 It hurts all parties but if the two contracting parties can't agree, there can be no contract. To imply they have some obligation to continue producing and carrying content just to please consumers is totally unreasonable. Of course government could take over and force them to do it -- choose that solution if you liked the standard of living in the Soviet Union. They could submit to arbitration but that requires consent of both parties and isn't likely to happen in a case like this.
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by tomhorsley View Post
I have a solution, but the problem is we can't get there from here:

All TV programming is on demand over IP - get rid of broadcast, give the bandwidth to the internet.

There are no more networks or distributors, or anything like them. TV programs are produced directly by the production companies and distributed over the internet.

You pay for individual shows whatever price the producers ask for (or you don't watch them).

Internet bandwidth is mandated by law to be content neutral, you pay for bandwidth and it comes with no strings (like certain programs only being accessible on certain networks).

Where do you get the money for this? Advertisers ad credit to your account when you watch their ads (which are probably all interactive so they can prove you are watching them). If you watch enough ads (or put your own money in your account) you can download the shows.

Everybody is happy (except the networks which no longer exists, but they don't really deserve to be happy).

Advertisers no longer can be accusued of sponsoring offensive shows since they now sponsor viewers directly.

TV viewers now no longer have to pay for 1000 channels of bilge they don't want in order to watch the 3 shows they do want.

You never miss a show because everything is on demand and you can watch when you want.
Don't feel like the lone stranger -- you're not the first person to propose this solution. I suspect most of those reading this forum want to see this.

We can and will get there (from here). It may take a while and some of the old system will hang on for a long time.

Not sure if I understand what you mean by:
Quote:
Internet bandwidth is mandated by law to be content neutral, you pay for bandwidth and it comes with no strings (like certain programs only being accessible on certain networks).
But if you mean that people can't control content you get depending on whether you pay for it, you are most definitely wrong. There are so many examples of this already it's not worth even listing them. The existing cable systems could even morph into IPTV systems with the same content packages and pricing, although I'm hoping it doesn't go that way (and doubt it will).
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:53 PM   #16
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Not sure if I understand what you mean by...
I just mean we need a law that says bandwidth is bandwidth and anyone who pays for bandwidth can use it for anything. I don't want to see comcast telling me I can't download program X because the program X producers don't have a bandwidth agreement with comcast, etc. Without a law making the internet content neutral, we'll wind up right back where we are now even if we do manage to get everything to be VOD.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:11 PM   #17
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I just mean we need a law that says bandwidth is bandwidth and anyone who pays for bandwidth can use it for anything. I don't want to see comcast telling me I can't download program X because the program X producers don't have a bandwidth agreement with comcast, etc. Without a law making the internet content neutral, we'll wind up right back where we are now even if we do manage to get everything to be VOD.
I agree with that. I can imagine several possible exceptions that might be promoted for political reasons but don't want to discuss them right now. So with this approach I would just be having issues with TWC as my only choice of internet provider but not issues as my only choice of cable content. (A definite improvement, I would think.)
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:27 AM   #18
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Why should the provider be forced to accept payment at the expired rate; and they shouldn't be forced to pay the new asking rate either, unless they choose to agree to it.

I don't see how you come up with any sort of system that does this differently.
I'm not talking about forcing, or a new system. I'm just asking these companies to get the sense to come to an agreement before the channels go dark next time. They're only hurting themselves (as well as us).

But yes, of course, it's also true that I would prefer to see a system more like tomhorsley's.
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:44 AM   #19
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They should be required to prorate the customers monthly bill when the channel is turned off.
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