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Will recession bring the end of free TV?
The Washington Times ^ | December 30, 2009 | Andrew Vanacore

Posted on 12/30/2009 3:37:51 AM PST by mmanager

NEW YORK | For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer.

The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks' programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming.

That shift will play out in living rooms across the country. The changes could mean higher cable- or satellite-TV bills, as the networks and local stations squeeze more fees from pay-TV providers such as Comcast and DirecTV for the right to show broadcast-TV channels in their lineups.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mediadeath; reporting; tv
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Title should read: "Will poor programming and reporting end free TV?"
1 posted on 12/30/2009 3:37:53 AM PST by mmanager
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To: mmanager

That would not be good. I don’t think that I am alone in saying that hubby and I have never watched a pay-per-view anything. I can watch most of what I want over the internet, too.

If the cost to me of TV goes up, it goes out. I won’t pay it.


2 posted on 12/30/2009 3:40:41 AM PST by Jemian (I believe there's a hell, but I didn't know it was down the street with a dome on it." Abe Lincoln)
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To: Jemian

Fox and Local Cable co, (Time Warner) are in battle right now - because Fox (so TWC claims) wants increase of 300% in payment from TWC for the privilege of carrying (certain) Fox Channels on local cable.

TWC says negotiations are ongoing but that if Fox doesn’t give in to a lesser charge for their services, then either the TWC charges will have to zoom upward or they will have to drop Fox.


3 posted on 12/30/2009 3:48:02 AM PST by Freedom'sWorthIt (Ronald Reagan: If we ever forget that we're one nation under God,then we'll be a nation gone under.")
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To: mmanager

Can’t see Congress critters sitting still while their constituents to have to pay for television access. Expect more federal mandates if this debate gains momentum.


4 posted on 12/30/2009 3:49:03 AM PST by Bratch
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To: mmanager

They’re losing business and their response is to raise costs? They sound like some state legislatures!


5 posted on 12/30/2009 3:52:10 AM PST by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it! www.FairTaxNation.com)
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To: Freedom'sWorthIt

Fox News is available over the internet and House is, as well.

As I said, if the cost to me goes up, I’ll cancel.

Today I just cancelled my cell phone because I didn’t think it was worth all the hidden charges and fees that Verizon sticks on. Too expensive for the product given.


6 posted on 12/30/2009 3:54:59 AM PST by Jemian (I believe there's a hell, but I didn't know it was down the street with a dome on it." Abe Lincoln)
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To: mmanager

I hope so. What with the Unions messing up programming I lost interest in many programs due to forced hiatus which lasted an entire season.

I understand the unions point of view and the company point of view but, they were both short sighted as to effect it would have on viewership.

I no longer watch most TV and now consider myself a drive by viewer.

They are competing with the internet and other important life things like well... paying attention to other people in the room.

So a positive social impact but they are paying for their avarice.


7 posted on 12/30/2009 3:57:56 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it.)
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To: mmanager

If broadcast TV dies, I can see Internet access fees skyrocketing as well. Since most television programs are available online for free, television producers will have to find a way to tap that, or block access.


8 posted on 12/30/2009 3:58:57 AM PST by FlyVet
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To: mmanager

The real problem is to many cable channels. The viewership has been divided up in to too many unsustainable networks.
Let the free market forces fall where they may.


9 posted on 12/30/2009 4:00:28 AM PST by 1776 Reborn
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To: Jemian

Should switch to Sprint. They have some of the best flat rate programs around.

I am on the all you can eat program for $99 a month. That’s calling and receiving calls from anyone in America, Surfing, texting, GPS, etc.

Whatever you can do on a Cell Phone I pay on fee.

Trust me. I use the heck out of it.


10 posted on 12/30/2009 4:00:58 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it.)
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To: Vendome

I will keep that in mind. Right now, I’m happy without the bother.


11 posted on 12/30/2009 4:09:02 AM PST by Jemian (I believe there's a hell, but I didn't know it was down the street with a dome on it." Abe Lincoln)
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To: Vendome
They are competing with the internet and other important life things like well... paying attention to other people in the room.

LOL

12 posted on 12/30/2009 4:12:11 AM PST by Claud
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To: Man50D; mmanager
My sister works in advertising, and the article is pretty correct.

Air TV is paid for by ads. But most people either are watching cable or the internet. The ad bus is dying a quick and messy death as a result.

No ads, no one paying for free TV. So for that service to exist, someone has to pay for it.

The internet is going the same way. The ad revenue is not near what it was for the old media, and many of the big news and entertainment companies are bleeding money all over the place. They are putting a lot of pressure on world governments to massively restrict free access to the internet.

In short, a lot of huge companies are in trouble, and they are looking for ways to increase cash flow. They also have the ear of the current government.

13 posted on 12/30/2009 4:17:54 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: mmanager
Oh no ... Big Brother Government please save me! Bad ol' economic competition is going to take away my 'free' television!

(As if the time I spent viewing commercials had zero value - which would mean my personal time has zero value.)

14 posted on 12/30/2009 4:26:09 AM PST by The Duke (Duncan Hunter = Ronald Reagan on steroids!)
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To: Bratch

***Expect more federal mandates if this debate gains momentum***

Exactly.

Zero will have federal $$$ available for his followers so they can keep their TVs...

how else can he communicate with them other than the MSM?


15 posted on 12/30/2009 4:32:12 AM PST by Mrs.Z
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To: redgolum
My sister works in advertising, and the article is pretty correct.

I'm not disputing the accuracy of the article. I'm referring to the laws of diminishing returns. There is a point at which the production of a given unit of a product or service realizes a decreasing profit margin. This principle is exacerbated with an unemployment rate over 10% as we have today. TV stations will be cutting their own financial throats if they raise the rates any higher.
16 posted on 12/30/2009 4:32:50 AM PST by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it! www.FairTaxNation.com)
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To: mmanager

Will recession bring the end of free TV?<

What recession?? I thought we were in a jobless recovery!


17 posted on 12/30/2009 4:36:02 AM PST by timetostand (And a Hap Hap Happy New year !)
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To: mmanager

The change to hi-def has already ended free tv. I ended up having to get cable after the poor power of antenna transmissions ended me getting tv reception even with the vaunted “converter” boxes.


18 posted on 12/30/2009 4:40:21 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Jemian

That is why I use a cell phone that I can add minutes to when I need them. Of course, I rarely use it, unlike those hundreds of people I see everyday who have it as an extention of their ear.


19 posted on 12/30/2009 4:42:55 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: GreyFriar

Sorry to hear that. I have two digital flat panel tv’s connected to an amplified antenna. Great picture and local channels free. So far I have been able to keep off of the cable.


20 posted on 12/30/2009 4:48:56 AM PST by pappyone (New to Freep, still working a tag line.)
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To: GreyFriar

That is another reason why I cancelled. I rarely use it.


21 posted on 12/30/2009 4:53:05 AM PST by Jemian (I believe there's a hell, but I didn't know it was down the street with a dome on it." Abe Lincoln)
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To: The Duke

Don’t forget that BIG MEDIA elected the present “socialist” regime and a large segment of the population still doesn’t know that this clown that we have as President is better described as a radical communist “want to be.”

The population is controlled by big media and it is a necessary part of the equation to complete the destruction of the United States as we know it.

Obama can’t let BIG MEDIA fail, he has to keep the propaganda going strong. Chavey in Venezuela taught Obama you have to control the media to be successful.


22 posted on 12/30/2009 4:54:46 AM PST by politicianslie
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To: timetostand

We are in a recession? Who knew? Since Jan of this year, all has been peachy, as well as keen. Unicorns and happiness abound.

I have no horse in this TV struggle. I’ve not had or allowed outside TV in my home for a few years now. While I do miss the football (or did, but they can take a leap too), I do not miss the lefty crap, the relativism, the immorality being praised as good. Nope, don’t miss it a bit.

Die NBCABCCBS, die.


23 posted on 12/30/2009 5:01:37 AM PST by RoadGumby (For God so loved the world)
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To: Jemian

I cancelled my Verizon cell phone years ago and got a GoPhone. Very reasonable for how I use it (convenience/emergency).


24 posted on 12/30/2009 5:12:47 AM PST by thethirddegree
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To: mmanager

They just recently up-ed the amount of advertising per hour.

Programs used to have about 42 minutes of content per hour. Several months ago, that was changed to about 39 minutes of content per hour.

[Check some of those old TV programs from the 70s on Hulu — they run about 48 minutes of content per hour.]

Less content = more advertising.

They still don’t understand that viewers consider content over advertising.


25 posted on 12/30/2009 5:19:58 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: mmanager

Probably the official government media looking to get a compliant Obama administration to force a TV tax on the populace, just like they do in the UK. They then hand the stolen tax money over to the BBC.


26 posted on 12/30/2009 5:24:08 AM PST by Bon mots
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To: Jemian
I just cancelled my cell phone because I didn’t think it was worth all the hidden charges and fees that Verizon sticks on. Too expensive for the product given.

I dropped my landline over a year ago for that same reason. I make few calls and even fewer long distance calls. My bill continually inched up every few months to over $25 per month.

I went with a no-contract pre-paid cellular [Tracfone]. It costs me an average of $8 per month. Unused minutes roll over.
27 posted on 12/30/2009 5:25:03 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: mmanager

DirecTV creeped the cost of our basic package up and up and up until they were billing us $70 a month - while sending ads that said the package was $29 for new customers. We called and fought with them and they refused to match their own price.

We cancelled and returned the equipment and they responded by taking $300+ out of my checking account, unauthorized for equipment “not returned.” I asked for the name of the person who authorized so I could add it to the police report. They told me “our mistake” over and over, refused to escalate the situation to a supervisor, and promised the money back in 8 weeks or so. I persisted and got nowhere until I contacted the CEO’s office to let them know I’d filed a consumer protection complaint over the unauthorized draft and would be putting the CEO’s name on a police report.

In the end, I got an email saying the money would be moved back in 2 days.

Now a couple months later, I’m getting “come back and we’ll give you a $29 monthly rate” letters addressed to us as former customers.

I have doubts that this model will win over free tv people - the scams and screwups and generate rate arrogance tell me the pay services aren’t growing through new subs, they’re growing through rate gouging and scams.

We’re over-the-air now with a pay once TIVO DVR and couldn’t be happier to not have to watch for the scheming of our satellite provider.


28 posted on 12/30/2009 5:26:02 AM PST by sbMKE
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To: TomGuy

Re: 41 minute shows - the ad model is more inventory to counter the lower ratings and per spot rates.

Protecting margins with diminishing audiences.


29 posted on 12/30/2009 5:29:50 AM PST by sbMKE
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British TV licenses on the horizon will be needed to pay for the coming nationalized media.


30 posted on 12/30/2009 5:32:52 AM PST by listenhillary (I believe AGW is real now. It was caused by scientists and greenies LYING!)
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To: 1776 Reborn

The real problem is that, with over a 100 different channels, there is less than 10 hours a week that I want to watch. And only a couple of those hours each week are on when I want to watch them...


31 posted on 12/30/2009 5:37:25 AM PST by Little Ray (Madame President sounds really good to me...)
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To: Freedom'sWorthIt

Fox is playing hard ball now. 24 and American Idol are both around the corner. Fox is expecting their viewers to demand capitulation.


32 posted on 12/30/2009 5:38:31 AM PST by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: mmanager

“Will poor programming and reporting end free TV?”


I got news for ya—the “programming” on Cable TV isn’t much better. The only thing I really watch on Cable anymore is Fox News, with a smathering of FX and the Comedy Channel. My daughter watches a lot of trashy MTV reality shows and my wife watches Animal Planet and the History channel, but that is it. If I ever have to really tighten my belt, cable is the first thing to go. I can use Netflix to just watch a TV series I like with it comes available on DVD.


33 posted on 12/30/2009 5:41:02 AM PST by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: sbMKE
I was an over 10 year customer of DirectTV and I had basically the same problem. Not only did their fees creep up, but they refused to upgrade my equipment without my paying exhorbitant fees. We told them to shove it and went with Dish Network. We, too, are now getting all the special "come back to us" offers, which I promptly throw in the recycle bin. Fortunately, this all happened at a time when I needed to change my credit card due to a fraudulent charge from another entity, so I was able to cut their access to my account. Dish Network has already upgraded us once free in the last year that we have been with them.
34 posted on 12/30/2009 5:49:28 AM PST by ravingnutter
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To: Jemian

Hey Jemian. What is the best program to use to watch online TV? The Fox/TWC thing is going to affect my college bowl football in a big way.

Thanks for your help in advance.


35 posted on 12/30/2009 5:52:58 AM PST by poobear
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To: The Duke
There never was such a thing as ‘free TC’. Someone was always paying fit and that someone was US. The networks charged the advertisers for broadcasting the ads which sold their products. We the people who bought those products actually covered the cost of the advertising by paying increased prices for those products whether or not we watched those TV ‘shows’ that the products were advertised on.

Those who never watched ‘free’ TV were still paying for it because the cost of whatever products they bought included additional money for the advertising.

Talk about involuntary slavery and extortion.

In some countries such as Britain, the cost of ‘free’ TV is covered by sales and usage taxes and the government alone decides what to put on TV. The people are still forced to pay for stuff they never watch via the various sales and use taxes.

In American we have at least a little control over what is broadcast, because if the show doesn't have enough viewers, it then gets dropped by the advertisers which means we the people are no longer paying fort it via the increased prices of the products we buy. Unfortunately, good shows are often dropped early when their ‘demographics’ start to suggest a declining audience, and we the people lose out anyway.

Ultimately, a ‘pay per view’ model with a REASONABLE cost structure is the fairest because no one is forced to pay excessive prices for the products which we buy simply to cover their increased advertising costs.

This itself is not altogether desirable because without advertising, we won't see new desirable products being invented and sold because no one will even know of their existence.

There is no simple answer to all the problems and it seems that a combination of both advertiser supported and pay per view will allow for the best programming and introduction of new products.

36 posted on 12/30/2009 6:12:45 AM PST by dglang
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To: Vendome
I no longer watch most TV and now consider myself a drive by viewer.

Ditto. Before the strike, I was a little more interested in the TV. Still followed a couple of shows - 24 was one that I'd go out of my way to watch.

Post-strike, nada. We actually lost cable for a week due to a storm just recently, and I didn't miss it a bit.

The kids don't care for anything but Sesame Street. Now, if I can get Mrs WBill thinking in the same direction, I'd be saving 60 bucks a month.

37 posted on 12/30/2009 6:20:59 AM PST by wbill
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To: poobear

http://www.tvpc.com/index.php

http://www.channelsurfing.net/


38 posted on 12/30/2009 6:29:01 AM PST by whatisthetruth
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To: redgolum

When cable came to our town, many years ago, it was advertised as “commercial free TV”.

Now, we pay an exorbitant price to watch MORE commercials on more stations, and they are timed so that if you channel switch, you watch another commercial.


39 posted on 12/30/2009 6:35:54 AM PST by wizr (Keep the Faith! Even when it gets tough! Nothing else will do.)
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To: TomGuy

...and they run the same commercial over and over again, like we are to become mind numbed robots.


40 posted on 12/30/2009 6:39:51 AM PST by wizr (Keep the Faith! Even when it gets tough! Nothing else will do.)
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To: whatisthetruth

Thank you. I am particularly looking for the Sugar Bowl televised by Fox January 1, 2010. Can’t tell if these two links are going to offer it.


41 posted on 12/30/2009 6:40:12 AM PST by poobear
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To: poobear

Check channelsurfing.net on Jan. 1 and scroll down to see if there’s a link. If you’re using Firefox with adblock, turn the adblock off.


42 posted on 12/30/2009 6:51:14 AM PST by Overtaxed
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To: mmanager

It costs almost nothing to broadcast TV signals.

So if “free TV” goes, it will be because the makers of content can’t bring themselves to price their product at a level which the advertising will cover.

No more million-dollar paychecks for 2nd-rate TV actors.


43 posted on 12/30/2009 6:54:00 AM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: mmanager

For all its faults, local broadcast TV still does things that cable can’t and won’t — like breaking out of regular programming to provide coverage of major storms bearing down on the area, tracking violent weather, and the like. When major storms are threatening, we always turn to one of the local stations, and they do that job well.

Ditto for local TV broadcast news. While some of it is puff pieces, some of it’s also valuable, including local crime reports, traffic problems, local politics, local sports, and as already mentioned, the local weather reports, etc. Usually in a metro area there’s at least one local broadcast channel that outperforms the other stations, and you can get a lot of information on what’s going on locally and regionally in a way that just doesn’t conveniently exist in any other way.

I do not watch the national news on CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. (though I do sometimes watch Fox News), but local news still has some value and isn’t always overly burdened with the liberal mindset of the national news. To have local broadcast go out of business would be a major loss. To have the national networks become extinct, except for Fox, wouldn’t be a major loss. There’d need to be some way to keep local stations and ensure their survival even if the national networks go the way of the dinosaur.


44 posted on 12/30/2009 7:07:22 AM PST by Jay W
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To: Overtaxed

Thanks, will do.


45 posted on 12/30/2009 7:12:01 AM PST by poobear
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To: mmanager

I think we just need a government-option TV station. That’ll solve everything. /s


46 posted on 12/30/2009 7:31:47 AM PST by Lou L
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To: poobear
If it's not on channelsurfing.net, try justin.tv.
47 posted on 12/30/2009 10:17:30 AM PST by Overtaxed
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To: Overtaxed

Thanks, I’ll check it out. The Fox/Time Warner Contract might not resolve itself before the 1st.


48 posted on 12/30/2009 10:35:54 AM PST by poobear
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To: mmanager
Title should read: "Will poor programming and reporting end free TV?"

I quit watching years ago. Nothing worth watching.

49 posted on 12/30/2009 12:20:49 PM PST by sionnsar (IranAzadi|5yst3m 0wn3d-it's N0t Y0ur5:SONY|Remember Neda Agha-Soltan|TV--it's NOT news you can trust)
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To: poobear
Sorry, it took me so long to reply. I am half-a-world away from you and slept. So, here I am now and I have some links that open in your browsers:

Having said that, you have to just search through the various "tv" applications. There is tvuplayer and watchtvrightnow (from watchtvrightnow.com), among others.

You are right to start early in setting it up because if you wait, you'll spend the entire game searching the 'net.

Good luck. The links work and then don't work and then work again. The main challenge is getting a fast enough baudrate in order to stream. I hope this helps.

50 posted on 12/30/2009 1:42:21 PM PST by Jemian (I believe there's a hell, but I didn't know it was down the street with a dome on it." Abe Lincoln)
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