Broadcasters' woes could spell trouble for free TV

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by John Picard, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Two outta three of those groups don't even have to pretend to care about poor people and the other group pretends but doesn't. ;)

    This is the wrong forum for Star Trek so it doesn't get discussed much here. But networks have been migrating for years to mass-market entertainment - CSI, reality shows - while the niche/genre stuff has migrated to basic and premium cable. Sci fi just doesn't qualify as mass entertainment anymore, because the "mass" has become uh "massier," which isn't a bad thing, when niche entertainment can prosper on basic cable.

    ENT
    was cancelled for having 4M viewers but shows like Mad Men and Dexter survive just fine with 2-3M, so why not just put Star Trek in an environment where reaching a niche audience is not a problem?

    The difference is, on cable, each of those 2-3M eyeballs are more valuable, because of subscription fees, and therefore can be more profitable than 4M on wholly ad-based network TV. Don't try to get more people to watch Star Trek by blanding it down and ruining it so that you end up appealing to no one; put Star Trek where the viewers are more valuable and can support production.

    I'd love to see how that would work out. :D But it would never work out. Out of a population of 308M, the biggest hit shows get under 30M. That means every show is not watched by 90% of the population, so why should Americans vote for anything to be made by their tax dollars when most of them are indifferent to everything currently on the air?
     
  2. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    I saved a lot of money by getting a DVR. DVDs used to be a much bigger expense for me.
     
  3. Hunter X

    Hunter X Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    See, I work in CTV Calgary Master Control (which controls all of Alberta and Saskatchewan), so we've been inundated with propaganda on the network's side.

    The way they say it is that cable and satellite companies pay a fee to channels such as HBO, Bravo, Space, etc to run their content, so why don't they pay Canadian networks for their signal too? Especially since Canadian networks are a main generator of local Canadian content...as mentioned, something very protected by Canadian government. The CRTC ruled that the cable companies had to pay the networks, and rather than foot the cost, they shoved it into consumers. So it's not a TV tax, as stated in the ads put out by Shaw and other companies, but rather something that cable companies were supposed to pay, but are now making their customers pay for them.

    That said, I'm not exactly supportive of the networks in this mess either. For one thing, CTV, for example, is owned by Bell Globe Media, which also owns Bell mobility...which is one of the satellite companies CTV is "fighting" against. Same with CityTV...a small local network, actually owned by Rogers, which is also a cable provider. So the idea that this is a battle between networks and cable/satellite companies is quite disingenuous. It's a money grab by the big companies, who are putting the consumers in the cross-fire, getting their sympathies for local content on one side, and their money on the other.

    Lastly, it's not like CTV, Global or CityTV are bastions of Canadian content. Most content requirements are met by running the same episodes of Degrassi, Sue FBEye and Twice in a Lifetime (on CTV at least) over and over in the daytime, while running the big American shows (Law and Order, CSI, Grey's Anatomy) during primetime. Right now they're sloughing off the last of their yearly primetime requirements by playing a two hour CTV movie, two episodes of a Hills rip-off set in whistler, Corner Gas and Degrassi every night for the week between Christmas and New Years. They're not going to get big ratings then anyways. Canadian content is such a joke, treated with very thinly veiled cynicism by networks. The only one I see as being truly "Canadian" is the CBC.
     
  4. Dar70

    Dar70 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Im sure cable bills will really skyrocket now.(no matter what the outcome of this is) Im getting pretty tired of my constantly increasing bill. I paid over $70 last year for basic cable and internet. Im sure it will be close to $80 this coming year. Im at the point where I may give up cable altogether and if broadcast goes pay per view, I will not miss it, there are only a few new programs I watch nowadays anyhow. I usually only watch TCM and TVland.(AMC when Mad Men and Breaking Bad are on) I have almost every old show I like on dvd and there are many more that are $10 a season that I can stock up on. I will just make my own tv schedule. Besides to much tv is bad.
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If I wasn't such a baseball fanatic, I wouldn't have cable.

    The only shows I watch regularly on network TV are the three L&O shows, and I can get those from iTunes. Unfortunately, to see a baseball game, I have to have cable (MLB.TV is unreliable at best). iTunes doesn't offer a season pass for my favorite team like it does for TV shows.
     
  6. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    ^Yeah. My dad hardly watches any TV. (Instead, he devours historical non-fiction like there's no tomorrow.) But he finally succumbed and subscribed to cable once they stopped showing regular Arizona Diamondbacks games on free TV. Beyond that, I don't think he watches much cable and most of what he does watch is reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Monk, & NCIS.

    And while the stadiums may be publicly owned, I think the teams are the ones who get all the revenue from the advertising within the facility.

    I do want to applaud the good people of San Francisco. IIRC, Pac Bell Park is the 1st wholly privately funded sports stadium in a long time.

    Often the funding for the stadiums are included as unconstitutional riders on otherwise popular ballot propositions. Take University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, for example. During the campaign, all I heard about the proposition was all of the funding it included for public youth sports programs. After the campaign, all I heard about was the big new stadium for the Arizona Cardinals. The funding for the youth sports was rarely mentioned again. Furthermore, the Arizona constitution makes it clear that ballot propositions can only address one issue at a time. So combining the youth sports with the pro stadium funding was a clear constitutional violation.

    Well, yeah. Although, I thought that was common knowledge, particularly considering the only space opera series on the air for the last few years have all been on the Sci-Fi Channel anyway. I don't see how the collapse of broadcast TV would make that any more clear.

    Furthermore, if broadcast TV collapsed and mass entertainment like CSI & so forth had nowhere else to go but cable, might that squeeze out some of the niche programming that survives on cable now?

    Well, I'm also addicted to pretty DVD packaging. I'm a collector at heart. I own way more DVDs than I watch.
     
  7. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes i've noticed that certain programs that had a fairly limited production run such as SueFBEye have a very high play rotation (not watched but seen listed when channel surfing).

    Canada isn't like Australia which is isolated to does need to pump in a chunk of money for local production but much of that is local production companies and they frequently then sell over seas (though Australia should apologies for inflicting Neighbours and Home & Away on the world).

    Maybe a better approach would be to encourage U.S productions to film in Canada or where Canadian actors can work in the U.S (I can imagine that produciton of BSG in Vancourver probably provide a fair bit of work for local production companies - set construction, catering etc).

    [/quote]

    Still an improvement on the situation in Australia where the stadiums are frequently owned by private bodies. Adelaide Oval which I mentioned above is wholly owned by the South Australian Cricket Association.

    Not necessarily.

    There are plenty of channels and there's 24 hours a day - we could see much less repeats and more new programming.

    Forgot to mention that the Australian FTA networks played hardball with the dominate paytv carrier. Foxtel was only allowed to rebroadcast the FTA networks over the cable (it used by satellite and HFC) and when it wanted to move to digital and rebroadcast the FTA networks digital signals it had to fork out a packet of money.

    We were watching the same signal as on FTA such as the Adelaide ch9 feed, saw all the local ads but Foxtel had to pay yet it was to the FTA broadcaster advantage - they were included in the foxtel package when meant that people in poor reception areas could actually watch the FTA networks.
     
  8. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree. I tend to watch most of my TV online nowadays anyway. But if there was a way to subscribe to specific channels -- or better yet, specific shows (either online or through cable/satellite), then I think you'd find that you'd get a much better revenue stream. At the very least, you'd be able to cut out all the guesswork of who DVRs a show vs. who watches online vs. who watches a realtime broadcast.

    Oh, and don't forget the DVD sales for a full season.
     
  9. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I think sports are a huge reason people still pay for cable. Between things like Hulu, Netflix, and other stuff like that, sports and news are really the only things you can't get without cable.
     
  10. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Seriously? Now that is absolute & total bullshit! You guys need to set up some sort of people's army and eminent domain their asses right now!
     
  11. John Picard

    John Picard Vice Admiral Admiral

    I'm one of those who, A) receives TV over the air, and B) opted not to get a coupon for a converter box because the cheaper boxes (according to reviews) were all utter shit. It didn't make sense to me to spend over $100 for a quality box when, for a just a bit more, I could get a new TV.

    Netflix has been my lifeline. I've watched a lot of TV series I never would have seen before and caught up on tons of movies. I don't watch that much TV anyway, so this has worked out. Many people ask why I don't get satellite, but I don't see why I should pay a ridiculous amount of money for a package that consists of a ton of sports channels when I could care less for them. The cable companies claim it would be difficult for consumers, but I think a-la carte program would be best and not that difficult to implement.

    I can see the free model that the US uses going away. It sucks that newer programs lose so much time because of commercials. Naturally, the "it will hurt the poor" card is played, which is quite comical considering what it means to be poor in the US. It is a far cry different than much of the rest of the world.
     
  12. Peach Wookiee

    Peach Wookiee Cuddly Mod of Doom Moderator

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    ^Still, that's the argument that will probably give free TV a bailout. It's the concept of bread and circuses. The people must have their entertainment. Furthermore, folks, not everyone is tied to watching their TV on the Net. There are still lots more people who watch broadcast and cable rather than online.
     
  13. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    I read about this yesterday and I had a question. What's the sports angle of this, specifically for the NFL. Other than a few shows (Glee, Survivor, 24, and The Amazing Race for starters), the only TV I really watch other than DVD is sports. Would hate to have to see something like the NFL go the route of Pay Per View or something like that. Thank god for NFL Redzone if that happens which is on cable.
     
  14. John Picard

    John Picard Vice Admiral Admiral

    Many of you here are too young to remember the days of just three, or even four channels, and your favorite show being pre-empted by some damned sports game. To this day, I love pissing off sports fans by telling them that shit belongs on cable -- specifically PAY TV. Fuck that noise. You want to watch your precious mindless bullshit sports then you should have to pay for it. Not everyone gives two shits about that crap.
     
  15. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I could see there being a police-procedural specialty channel for the CSI's and L&O's - and there's already a reality-TV channel. Since there's apparently no limit to the number of cable/satellite channels, there's room for anything that has an audience. The real limitation is in the audience's attention - you don't have to hunt thru 500 channels to find CBS and ABC. When you do have to hunt for CSI, how many of its viewers will really bother? Police procedurals could end up being just another niche taste.

    The former already happens via tax credits (American states also do that to lure production away from Hollywood). Canadian actors of course will move to Hollywood if they think they can make it in the big time - actors from around the world have always done that.

    But what does "Hollywood" mean when TV and movies are filmed all over the place, even when those places are wrong. One of my pet peeves is seeing a show that's supposed to be set in, say, New York or Kansas and it's obviously not being filmed there.

    A story isn't just the characters and the plot, it's also the place. I like stories that have a strong sense of place and use it effectively (Invasion's use of Florida locations is a good example of this; Jericho's mountainous Kansas is an example of what not to do. At the very least, they can point the cameras away from the mountains, how lazy can you get? :rommie:)

    I might just move all my viewing to Netflix, too, except for TrekBBS! It's fun being able to yak about shows right after they air. :D The cable companies should give TrekBBS some of their revenues because otherwise, I would have bailed by now.
     
  16. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    What you just described is no different than the stuff you probably watch. :rolleyes:
     
  17. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Isn't there already a cable channel like that called Sleuth? IIRC, there's a Sleuth special counting down the 10 greatest TV detectives of all time included on the Law & Order Season 5 bonus features.
     
  18. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    might be mysterytv you're thinking off.
     
  19. Serial thread killer

    Serial thread killer Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the UK the UK Drama channel renamed it self Alibi.
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "Alibi"? That's even worse than SyFy, which at least *sounds* like Sci-Fi. ;)
     

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