September 10, 2019 at 8:46 pm #26216
From Ars Technica:
Comcast sues Maine to stop law requiring sale of individual TV channels
Industry suit says Maine law violates First Amendment and Communications Act.
Comcast and several TV network owners have sued the state of Maine to stop a law that requires cable companies to offer à la carte access to TV channels. The complaint in US District Court in Maine was filed Friday by Comcast, Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal, A&E Television Networks, C-Span, CBS Corp., Discovery, Disney, Fox Cable Network Services, New England Sports Network, and Viacom.
The companies claim the Maine law—titled “An Act To Expand Options for Consumers of Cable Television in Purchasing Individual Channels and Programs”—is preempted by the First Amendment and federal law. The Maine law is scheduled to take effect on September 19 and says that “a cable system operator shall offer subscribers the option of purchasing access to cable channels, or programs on cable channels, individually.” The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.
“You can not operate in this room unless you believe that you are Superman, and whatever happens, you’re capable of solving the problem.” – Gene KranzSeptember 12, 2019 at 1:37 am #26217
Good Lord. The millenial generation is pretty much lost to these big cable companies, so they have a diminishing population of older customers who are willing pay for cable. Older people aren’t going to use streaming apps, and they also don’t want to pay $100 or more for TV a month. Comcast could use Maine as a testbed for à la carte channels and see how well it works, as an option to hang on to older viewers and possibly to entice younger viewers to sign up. Cable television, as it stands, is a dying industry – they need to stop stifling innovation and try whatever they can to put them on a decent course for the future. Otherwise, they’ll just accelerate the dropping of cable for internet streaming. Look how hard the music industry fought to keep people from getting access to the music they want (would you pay $18 for an album just to get one song from it in this day and age?), look how well they’re doing now.September 12, 2019 at 6:53 am #26219
As much as we like to blame the multi-channel providers (cable, satellite, other), the real culprits is the actual content providers. Outside of the premium channels, the most expensive channels on a per-subscriber basis is the $ports channels. (Think E$PN and the Regional $ports Networks). In the past, the negotiating tactics have included:
* If you want to carry popular channel A, you also must carry the not-so-popular channels B, C, D, and soon-to-be-launced E.
* The channels have to be on these tiers. Which means, for E$PN, it is on every level of service except for the most basic. Even if you don’t watch it.
This year has been particularly nasty for carriage disputes. Among them:
* DirecTV/AT&T vs Disney/E$PN/ABC-owned locals (about to happen)
* DirecTV/AT&T vs CBS Locals (lasted a month)
* Dish vs Fox Sports Channels (Ongoing)
* Dish/DirecTV/AT&T/Comcast vs Altitude Sports (started at beginning of month)
* Dish vs HBO (Ongoing)
* DirecTV vs Nexstar (concluded)
* DirecTV vs Sinclair (4 months and counting)
I gave up on DirecTV a long time ago because the cost/benefit ratio wasn’t there anymore. I only kept it for my mother, but cancelled it when I moved to Texas. I hoped my mother would be understanding of the expenses, and at least use Hulu and Netflix. Nope, she has to have her Hallmark fix, thus she is paying for streaming DirecTV Now/AT&T Now service.
“You can not operate in this room unless you believe that you are Superman, and whatever happens, you’re capable of solving the problem.” – Gene Kranz
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