I’m outraged and so you should be.
We work hard. We want the biggest selection of TV networks and on demand content that we can get. Preferably in beautiful high def. to enjoy on our new or planned HDTV. We pay our bills. We watch TV.
We watch it alone. We watch it with friends. We watch it on our schedule on our DVR. We watch it when scheduled so we can talk about it with our friends while we watch or after we watch. Why ? Because we know they are watching to. We don’t want to go through the hassle of searching through millions of different options when we can sit back and with a single hand, while we are on the couch, often with our favorite beverage in our non remote control hand, surf the entire universe of hundreds of channels offering thousands of hours. With one hand. When challenged we can talk on the phone, check a website and eat pizza, all with the other hand.
Those of us who enjoy this matter of life should be completely outraged that there are those who are leeching off the money we pay to enjoy tv. Our check goes to pay our bill. The money then goes to pay for the tv network, which in turn goes to pay for the content. Its a system that works.
Like any good system, there are those that want to have their cake and eat it to. The content we pay for ? They want it for free. We pay for it, they want it for free.
How is that fair ? Where is the justice ?
We pay for the content. We should be able to get it where we want it, and when we want it. Those who want it for free ? They should pay too.
Call your cable/telco/satellite video provider and tell them you don’t think its fair that the content we pay for is available for free !
Content Payers Unite !
67 thoughts on “Calling All Cable & Satellite & Telco TV Subs”
All of these posts I’ve read talk about dropping cable TV because they can watch everything on hulu. Well, that’s great, but I prefer watching all of my entertainment (Mavs, Cowboys, Rangers, etc.) on my 60 inch Sony HD screen. Trying to watch the same content on a regular screen is awful and I just can’t stand it. So I’ll pay $75 a month to Time Warner for it forever. I actually think its a pretty good deal.
Comment by Scott in Dallas -
I am so glad that i got an old school C-band BIG DISH,because most people don’t have them anymore,most games are broadcast through the big ugly dish!
I live in Houston and I get to watch the Mavericks from a Dallas station!
I must warn you,this is not a satellite I recommend for the impatient,you must update the satellites once a year and you have to wait for the satellite to move:)
Comment by m72 -
The entire communications industry is going through growing pains as they try to find a way to co-exist and get their share of advertising revenue.
Back in the days of early cable, it was touted to my grandfather as a way to enjoy movies and shows without commercials. So all the governments and public were lied to and convinced to allow cable, and they bought it with great expectations and hope. Now we get as many, if not more, commercials on cable and 200 channels with nothing to watch. They still can’t seem to make enough money to charge a low, reasonable fee for everyone to have access.
Comment by Jenna -
I can’t agree with you more. I only watch maybe 15 channels out of the 200+ that I have. Of course, not my choice to have since it comes in a “basic package”, but its costing me mucho money every month. I’ve heard many people complain about this issue, since I work with a large Telecommunications company, (no names, but you can probably guess)…
Comment by Melissa -
I found a pretty good review on a satellite tv for your pc. It’s actually a pretty good review. Hope it helps. http://pcsattelevisionlive.blogspot.com/
Comment by Jon -
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I don’t care who gets what money or who pays what. I just download the TV shows and movies I want to watch, for free, because they are there. Outrage? Really? *shrug* I couldn’t give a rip…
If the sucker next door is going to pay $100 / month for his TV and movies, that’s his foolishness (especially in this economy).
The stuff is out there, free and clear, if you’re smart enough to operate a computer. I’m not saying I wouldn’t pay for the stuff I like. But the TV and movie industry just needs to wake up and figure out how to give me exactly what I want for the right price — and not charge me for 99% of what’s being produced, which is stupid CRAP.
It’s a long tail entertainment world. Maybe when all these fat, 60-year old execs die off, the next generation of TV and movie producers will figure out how to keep making money in the 1990’s. (That’s not a typo, that’s sarcasm.)
Long live free content.
Comment by Smart Media Consumer -
“…there is no doubt that Hulu, if it doesn’t already, will have…monetizable traffic and greater revenues…”
“…the more traffic Hulu generates, the more money it makes.”
Aside from the fact (actually more my opinion based on astute observation) that the majority of television based “free content” is made available by major networks, which has and always will be “free,” if Hulu is generating revenue SOMEONE is paying for it. Just because the end user isn’t bearing the cost doesn’t mean it’s free
Comment by Edward -
Before the Tivo/DVR existed, during the beginnings of digital cable, I thought it would be great if a “Primetime” station existed, solely for showing all the shows that were new during the week, at all hours of the day/night. Recording a show was nearly impossible with a VCR and a cable box, and this would let you record only one channel, and get the shows you missed. I think I got off work right as friends started, and continually missed the first 15 minutes.
Hulu is not much different, and has the potential to cure the problem (from what I can see). The bandwidth/lack of being able to store the episodes is a real problem, however. I would gladly pay a monthly fee to be able to record the shows I want to see, so that I can watch them on my schedule. I pay over $100 a month right now and if I had to average (it’s not a high estimate – we watch too much TV), probably watch at least 100hrs a month — or $1 for every CSI or Heroes episode, and $2 for every Meredith Baxter-Birney movie my wife watches on lifetime. Does that sound like a profitable model? Recording limitations, buffering programming skirts make it harder to see the content – isn’t that the end goal of any content owner? How is saving 100 hrs a month on a PC (or media server) any different than on a DVR or a pile of VCR tapes? If I record a new episode of Heroes, and burn a copy for my friend who missed it, how is that any different than inviting him over to watch it?
I would suggest a solution to pay for content. If a subscription website offered the all (or most) of the content, much like a cable company, and easily interfaced with a media server, or PC DVR, I would subscribe in a heartbeat. It could easily record most content when I was fast asleep, using unused bandwidth and only stream, if it were something that needed to be watched live (or close to live – sporting events, American Idol, etc).
I’ll see if I can wing together a suitable business plan for the MC Stimulus package, and we can get this beauty rolling.
Comment by Al -
Are you trying to rally people for something that is worthwhile for them or you?
Comment by Raphael Terrigino -
Marc, I agree with most of your points, but there is one thing I don’t understand. Paying for cable is NOT enough to pay for what you watch on TV. Commercials (advertising) and reaching the people who watch is important for companies who will pay to pitch their products.
In this sense, using your DVR to watch “on your schedule” and presumably skipping the commercials, is no different than someone paying for cable who decides to download a show and watch it on their computer.
In this example, I don’t see how this DVR fits in to your argument. Of course I am assuming that using a DVR also equals skipping commercials. In this case, I don’t see the difference between using a DVR and downloading (provided that I also pay for cable).
Comment by bigray -
Like Rich Barton Says if it can be free it will be free… i think you are talking about HULU like programming right?
or do I not understand any of this? Doesn’t hulu receive payment from the ads? or are you saying that is not enough… or are you talking about Over the air HD?
Comment by Jon -
It’s great to finally see someone that cares. Many people out there hate this and turn to the Gov to help. There haven’t been any breakthroughs and we lose out.
Comment by Suits -
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Personally, I want quality content. And I’m sorry to say, but I’m yet to see any viable business model based on just ads. The ad based freebie sites don’t add nothing to the mix. They won’t be able to finance their own business long term, and moreover they won’t be able to pay the content producers to provide quality. My forecast is that any online distributor of content that has no base in traditional business models will die a horrible death.
The same goes for websites run by traditional papers. They move from financing their business by adds and subscriptions to just adds… sorry, don’t see that working long term either. Add to that the resources they put into developing the tech behind it – to me, it just seems nuts from a business perspective.
I want to choose between two;
1. Flat rate: all online/broadcast content for $100 per month or whatever it might be. Broadband access, cable tv, papers. All-in-one.
2. A la carte: pay for what I want when I want it.
Provide me with a package and I’m all in.
Comment by Markus -
Come on blogMaverick, boxees are much better than CATV briefs.
It’s not just a matter of paying, it is paying too much for crap I will never want to watch.
You want the consumer to subsidize your business model and then act suprised when they find another venue.
How about some cheese with your wine?
Me, I’m gonna get a beer and enjoy my DVDs or video streaming services.
Comment by P. Lee -
I have a question for those people who have given up their cable/sat tv service. How have your consumption habits changed? Do you spend less time watching stuff? Do you find yourself more productive or happier? Do you find watching more enjoyable?
The reason I ask is because it seems like a lot of people just always have the tv on, like it’s providing ambiance or something while they are doing other things. It seems like if you actively seek out a specific tv program and make the choice to watch it, you might be more emotionally connected and enjoy it more…like going to the movies.
Comment by Kevin -
The only reason i have cable right now is for nickelodeon and disney channel. If it wasnt for the kids all my favorite shows are on the internet for free and i like it that way. Theres a reason HDTVs have VGA and HDMI inputs, so i can plug my laptop in and watch the shows full screen.
after reading that post another time around with a more sarcastic tone in mind i believe that you are satiring anybody who might be outraged that people are getting for free what they are paying for. Meh, if its free and legal why would anyone pay for it?
Comment by Brent Schenk -
This brings up a concept that I’ve had for a while.
If I knew how to get funding, I would want try to run an “a-la-carte” TV service. Deliver only the content people want. Charge them a fair price and let them run with it. I know that content providers want to charge a premium for 200+ channels, but really, how many do people watch?
I’d fell good if I could make a profit by giving people what they want. If they want to order a new channel, have an easy web form or opt-in through the TV remote.
It’s time for a change…the old model won’t last too much longer. New methods (or needs?) for content delivery have emerged and customers need something better than what’s available.
Just my 2 cents.
Comment by Nick -
Mark of course this is coming. TV Everywhere will require people to subscribe to cable/satellite to get to watch Hulu. Or rather said another way, HULU is going to be a service you get from the cable providers etc.
Comment by Morgan Warstler -
When I WAS paying for cable, there was still commercials and infomercials, so the cable providers aren’t solely making money off my subscription. Yet my cable bill kept getting bigger to the point I just said not interested.
Most of what I want to watch is either already on DVD, so I can just add it to my Netflix queue, or I can catch it on Hulu.
The content online has commercials, so it’s not commercial free just like most of cable isn’t commercial free.
This content will get out there even if Comedy Central, Fox, etc didn’t put it online. At least this way they can pretend to have some control over it.
Comment by Thomas M -
We’re not fools — we know that advertisers pay for the networks’ abilities to broadcast content. Nobody wants to pay for content that is already financed through sponsors and advertisers.
I don’t pay for content. I watch OTA TV (in beautiful HD, I might add), which has been free since its inception. I’m not alone, by a long shot. The free content you’re talking about is likely not the kind that is paid for by subscribers’ checks. It’s already free over the air to anyone with a receiver and always has been. Content provided online for free from cable networks, like MTv, is financed by heavy doses of advertisements at broadcast time. Any time slot for a show typically dedicates 30% of that time to commercials. And they insert commercials into the online versions too.
The premise of this post, that some people are getting free content while subscribers pay for it, is 100% false.
If you’re talking about theft of ripped programming via peer networks, don’t lump us, the people who view Hulu.com and TV.com and networks’ web sites for their content, together with pirates. We’re playing by the rules and adhering to a revenue model that works for networks and content producers. And don’t forget that we’re also paying Internet providers for access to the content. In the case that you’re paying for mobile and home Internet access, multiple access providers are being paid per person.
Comment by Chris W -
Hulu and youtube is still better. I catch the evening news on the web too. TV is mostly irrelevant. I might catch it when I’m on a treadmill at the gym. On a another point, maybe I’m missing something but when I had TV it was the advertisers that paid for content, like radio. If I’m being asked to pay for the actual content I’ll find something else to do. Cable/sat TV guys need to embrace the future or go the way of paid satellite radio (XM/Sirius). Mark, save your money and start a new bank. America could use people like you to jump start this economy.
Comment by Joe -
Make DVRs better. Everyone who has a DVR eventually runs into this problem. the DVR is full. if i tape 2 nba games that can be 7 + hours, as i watch a game, it would be nice to delete for instance the first half after i watch it. also if we have to tape extra time for a show for someone that may be delayed due to a preceeding sporting event, i can’t easily clip the show after recorded. the utmost BASIC video editing.
2nd problem for a shared DVR in a home, it only remembers the pointer [place stopped] on one program [last viewed] instead of creating a temporary pointer for each program viewed until deleted.
Comment by Anthony -
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I am happy with my COX HD dvr most of the time. I am not happy when a sports event runs over an I record cold case instead of “The unit”. If Cox has a way to download the program that I missed that would be great. If not, bittorrent. I paid for it right?
Bittorrent doesn’t have subtitles. It is in no way close to the quality of HD. Knowing the problem with sports and “the unit” I will try to record enough so that I get to see my show. That guy at Time Warner has a good idea if they don’t break it with DRM and requiring a newer PC or Mac to make it work.
Comment by AllenC -
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Seeking Green Companies to Fund: 2 – 10 million private raise and IPO to AMEX or Nasdaq
Comment by Christopher Martinez -
The successful content providers have been profiting off commercials, not cable subscriptions for years. If paying a cable bill was what paid for content, then any cable only channel should be commercial free.
OTA is still free, better quality, and has the programming most of America watches. No one one is getting “pay” content for “free”, some of us have just been tricked into paying for free content.
An innovative cable company could realise that instead of losing completely my 180 a month cable bill, they could hold on to 40 or 50 by offering me a way to get only the channels I actually want.
And by the way, with cable/sat, you still don’t get everything, that’s a big part of the issue.
Comment by Randall -
So I was going to say what everyone else just did!!!?!
Instead, I’ll say this. I pay through the nose for a Comcast connection (~$200/mo including internet) and get an ever dwindling array of HD on Demand. I finally dropped HBO because they dropped off of the HD On Demand. What are my other options? Direct TV? Same problems. Basically I believe in paying for my Intellectual Property, but this is out of control.
I can’t even begin to tell you how wrong you are!
Comment by Ben -
“We watch it alone. We watch it with friends. We watch it on our schedule on our DVR. We watch it when scheduled so we can talk about it with our friends while we watch or after we watch. Why ? Because we know they are watching to.”
With the exception of sporting events, who invites friends over to watch TV? Who under the age of 40 watches TV when it is scheduled? With the rare exception of call in shows, does anyone adhere to appointment television? It really reminds me of a time when people would invite their friends over to listen to records. For better or worse the the world changed.
At best I can see someone inviting over to watch a show that has been DVR’d. DVR’d to skip the commercials. The very same commercials that are used to pay for the program. Damn freeloaders are everywhere.
You’re getting terrific customer feedback here: offer us a better alternative than the usury fees of cable or satellite to pay for your content and you’ll be at the front of the pack. That better alternative might not exist right now for you, the content provider, but the consumer is going to find an alternative whether you are on board or not.
Comment by Anthony -
I’m paying for satellite right now and I can honestly say, for my $100/month, I am not getting all that much (and its not because I live in Canada either).
I am being gouged. For example, there are two channels basically that I watch hockey on – TSN and Sportsnet. I like to watch these channels in HD (on my plasma). But in order for me to watch these games in HD, I must purchase the two theme packs which have these channels at $8/each. Then I have to purchase the HD pack at $10. Then I have to purchase these channels in HD at $5/each because they are in different theme packs. Yes, I have to purchase these channels in SD and HD. Same content – different format.
I will be getting an illegal dish and receiver as soon as a hack is out. $1200/year for tv is a rip off. There are only so many hours in a week where I can watch tv. Paying that kind of money is stupid.
Comment by Todd Bush -
I cut out cable two years ago. Got feed up with paying for the channels I never watch,($3.60 a month for ESPN a joke) most people only watch 15 out of 500. As for me being a free loader, most of what I watch is free over the air content, 20+ million people get their TV that way, it not any different from watching the same content on Hulu etc.
Why should I have to support every channel I do not want to watch, I would rather pay a fee per channel that I do want.
Comment by Gadge -
I don’t really see the problem with it, because naturally you could just do the same thing and not pay for it either.
Comment by Goodfella -
If they offered better OnDemand viewing, I’d be happy to be outraged. I don’t agree with a la carte models, as I enjoy the channel surfing at times. But I do wish I didn’t have to record everything I want to watch. It would be nice to have entire seasons available OnDemand after they’ve been aired, it would be nice to seem a much better OnDemand section (throw in Hulu-esque ads I don’t care) then it would piss me off that these free services are out there.
Just because someone on the internet has a better content delivery model (how to view, not the mode in which the content is delivered), doesn’t mean we should be upset about it. Just like the big music labels, cable, sat., and telco providers need to adapt to the current user’s desires and they already have the means in place…they just don’t use it! That’s what makes me mad!
Comment by Trae -
This is the most ridiculous post you have ever posted. What are you smoking? Can I have some?
Comment by Bill -
Hilarious post this time so congrats on that. By the way…
“Because we know they are watching to.”
You forgot an extra letter on “too.”
Comment by Chris -
Here’s what’s not fair. Customers pay for access to channels AND companies pay for ads on those same channels. That’s BS. I got rid of satellite when we moved. Now I’m enjoying HD OTA for free and Netflix for my entertainment. Oh, and my family doesn’t have to watch male enhanced Smiling Bob and those other stupid commercials as a bonus.
Comment by Josh -
If a business wants to succeed it should learn from consumer behavior, and not try to control it. If you watch what works for coaching or parenting or even managing people, those who are successful meet the style of their audience with their own. Those who try to control the style of their audience ultimately fail. That’s why our democracy, such as it is has lasted longer than any other goverment in history. It is constantly evolving, however imperfectly to match the style of the country. Sure it’s not perfect, but life isn’t perfect. Even the best shooters miss shots.
Comment by SuperT -
All entertainment will be free to the consumer in the future.
Comment by Shaun -
I can pay the cable company to deliver TV type content. Unfortunately, their pricing is objectionably high and always getting higher and they force me to get dozens of extra channels I have no interest in. At the same time I can pay the cable company for access to the Internet where I can access the same TV type content that is ad supported or I can pay for ala carte. Plus with the Internet I receive access to a lot more for much less than my television cable fees. The picture quality might not be as wonderful, but I am more than willing to make that trade off because of the convenience and cost savings. Similar to how MP3’s sound crappy compared to physical CD’s, but the convenience and ability to avoid all of those filler tracks make MP3’s a better purchasing choice.
Comment by Anthony -
I have a HD TV, cant afford to get the service and new box from Direct TV though.
Comment by terrelltxdp -
I agree with your position here. In the UK we have a great system for both public and pay TV “on demand” viewing. If you are a SKY (UK cable) you are automatically registered to “SKY Player” which you can access from any device you wish. This can be used for live sports (nothing like watching one football/”soccer” match on the way to another!). Likewise they have a constant back-catalogue where the latest shows are available for a month whereas repeats are stored permenantly.
The system automatically allows or denies access to content based on the level of your subscription. It is a great system.
Similarly our “public access” / terrestrial TV stations have “one demand” services which are free to use online and either stream or “time expire download” content from the previous week / fortnight.
I would really suggest looking at these services as a viable model for what you seem to be after – I know that I’m thrilled with it.
Comment by James Tabor -
seems most people aren’t happy
Comment by Jason Sares -
I pay for all the premium channels which have maybe 5 movies a month I watch, I watch a lot of expanded basic cable and am stuck paying for dozens upon dozens of sports, music, and hispanic channels I will never watch. I use bitorrents to download whatever I want on demand. I especially like this so I don’t have to wait a year to see a new show that airs in the UK.
When I want to watch TV passively or a broadcast event I use cable. When I want to watch something specific I use bitorrent. Current content can be downloaded in minutes and watched anywhere on anything commercial free in any language/subtitle combo imaginable, unlike Hulu and the network/studio sites.
My cable/internet bill is $200 a month so the way I look at it that’s $200 a month that I am giving directly to the media/entertainment industry. You can keep your ala carte as the consumers have provided it for me and I still put $200 a month into the industry. I’ve been doing this for 15 years.
I’d keep putting that money into the industry even if they gutted all the channels I never watch just so I wouldn’t have to see them in my channel guide. If I could replace them with channels of content I would watch or better yet content on demand I’d be ecstatic.
Comment by Jake -
At last, a compelling argument for ala carte TV. Wait, my sarcasm detector is going off!
Mark, on a serious nature – you often argue that ala carte could be wonderful for the internet. And you have, in the past, argued that a-la-carte for programming could be horrible. I believe the quote was “If a la carte happens, everybody loses”, though that was some time ago. Not sure if it still applicable.
Is it worthwhile to put up a post about how ala carte internet has the potential to be wonderful (only use what you pay for) but not ala carte cable packages (pay for CourtTV because it’s in the tier).
These seem to be incompatible. For example:
Ala-carte internet is good, so that only the heaviest users pay for what they want. The impact on low end users is that they can’t access higher end content as easily, so we may see a decrease in content as not as many people are getting paid.
Current internet pricing is good because price is evenly distributed. This means while some people won’t go as fast as they want (say, limited bandwith on a cable node), more people can access more content.
Ala-carte/full on-demand TV is good, so that only the heaviest TV viewers pay for what they want. Lower end users may not be able to see higher end content, and we may see a decrease in content overall since not as many people are getting paid.
Current cable is good, because pricing is spread out. This means while some people won’t be able to see what they want right away (non-DVR), many more people can access content.
I fully believe in ala-carte for both options is the best, and a truly competitive environment we would see this. I understand when people use the current model for both.
However, I cannot rationalize when people want one, and not the other. The only advantage seems to be when one person exists in one space and not the other. Say, a cable company or internet content company. At which point, the arguments they are making become disconnected from logic and only exist in profit seeking. Is there something I’m missing?
Comment by Dave -
I’m with the people that are guessing you’re either intoxicated, or your site has been hacked, because this makes no sense at all.
I agree that ala carte is a dead end, because any kind of serial entertainment franchise is no stronger than the weakest episodes. I *loved* Battlestar Galactica, but if I had paid for some of the episodes I would have felt ripped off (especially the one with the boxing matches and the flashbacks). And I doubt enough people would have coughed up for a season ticket after the second season to have financed a third.
They weren’t horrible shows, in fact looking back at the series as a whole I can see what function they filled and I’m glad I watched them. But if I had made an active purchase decision, I would have been disappointed.
But that doesn’t mean that the future is more of the same. I don’t pay for HBO to watch a particular movie, or with the expectation that I’ll check the schedule for the night and go with a movie, I pay for HBO as a means of feeding my DVR with movies that look like they might be worth watching. I delete at least half because they’ve been on there for weeks without my having felt the need to start them up, but that doesn’t mean that half the money I paid for HBO was wasted.
Channels, supported by subscription fees in various forms, obviously have a future even in a future where the last mile has infinite bandwidth and everything can be on-demand, because what most people want from their TV is not a buying decision, but an assurance that when they’re bored, there will be something to watch.
But Hulu, or any other form of turning paid content into “free” content, doesn’t challenge that or rob those that originally paid for it. Do “Sex In The City” re-runs rip off people who subscribed to HBO from 1998 to 2004? Does my rental of a blu-ray disc to watch in a home theater with 7.1 THX equivalent sound “rob” those that paid $8.50 a head plus popcorn, just because I’m getting an equal (and easily arguable, better) experience for a much lower unit cost?
Then what are you smoking?
Comment by Dave Rickey -
When I started watching the amazing “look pictures” television about 55 years ago, that’s what it was, these amazing moving pictures and an announcer who thanked us for tuning to their station and it was all free (except for the antenna and the tv) provided by companies willing to take a chance and sponsor a program of entertainment for us. This is how it should be. Television paid for by the companies vying for our dollar. Imagine all the stupid jobs that could be eliminated say 100,000,000 subscribers no longer having to write cheques or having automatic withdrawals, that would take out thousands of bean counters and technerds and make them available for the two most important sectors of mankind the intelligent carrying and rearing of children and the comfort and stimulation of the elderly.
Thanx, now get started Mark
Comment by edd chursinoff -
I’m lost Mark. In your last post, you asked: “Why are DVR sales continuing to climb ? if the internet is a better solution, why buy, lease or even use a DVR ? Shouldn’t DVRs be immediately obsolete ?”
Here’s my viewing habits. I have a DVR and record 10-20 hours of shows per week. I also have Apple TV and spend $40ish per month on shows and music. Some shows that I DVR (with commercials) I actually buy the day they become available on iTunes. A few of my favorites that I record and buy are Terminator, Dollhouse, BSG, and South Park. I’ve even bought a few Dan Rather reports and HDNet Reports. HDNet could use more presence on iTunes. I have a 1 TB external hard drive dedicated to my content library, and it should last me another year before it fills up. I’ll probably invest in a couple 2 TB drives and mirror them next.
So here’s what I don’t get. You’re the guy who a few years ago was talking about simultaneous release of films in theatre and on DVD. You recognized that different people liked to experience media in different ways, and wanted to reach people who didn’t have time to or didn’t like the experience of going to the theater. Why not try to find as many channels for your content as you can rather than lining up pro cable and anti Internet? In the end, cable will be a large niche which works well in some contexts and badly in others. Just like the Internet.
Comment by BoscoH -
And those libraries too! People have gotten off freeloading books for far too long!
Comment by Eric B -
Why should we give the distribution network (cable, sat, tv) the power to decide what content is available/funded?
We can have a distribution network (internet) that allows content to be shared without the gatekeeper of media companies.
Comment by Joe -
Dammit, Edgar Bronfman, Jr.! You give Mark his blog back right now!
Comment by Dave -
I have to disagree with you. I am an American living in the United Arab Emirates. Free access (I pay extremely high prices to a monopoly for bandwidth) to shows is my savior here in the desert. Aside from the constant ER (year 1 and 2), CSI Miami (year 2 and 3), and Simpsons re-runs – we get nothing decent or consistent on our TV here.
Knowing this, I’ve resorted to bittorrent, online tv content providers, and various other ways to obtain good content. I am not opposed to paying, but content providers provide NO SOLUTION for those outside the U.S. In fact, because of licensing restrictions I often have to pass my traffic through a U.S. based server just to watch. Why? Because people like you want to protect your content in every single way possible.
As for sports, this is nearly impossible. At the local pub a few weeks ago, I saw a Lakers/Spurs game on the tube and started to do the “what time are they playing in America?” equation – about noon. Weird. A west coast game at noon? Until I realized the broadcast was many years old because David Robinson went in for a slam dunk.
Why did I take the time to write? Because you, more than anybody, knows the value of media and content delivery systems. The narrow foresight by content providers is only enhanced by someone as respected as you commenting on it. Rather than say “We pay for it, they want it for free.”, say “We pay for it, how do offer a solution for them to pay for it too?”
Comment by Mike -
Most TV programming is junk, and unfortunately, the cable/telco TV providers force you to pay for mostly junk in order to get what you want. Many folks figure they “need” it, so they fork over their cash.
I wish everyone would get enraged at the arrogance and idiocy of these corporations and cancel their subscriptions until they smartened up and provided pay-for-only-what-you-want.
Technology-wise, it is not hard to do. But of course, fiscally, it would kill them in their current form.
I choose not to buy the junk, and miss the good content. Life has many other good things to offer anyhow.
Comment by Jerry -
The big promise of a la carte TV-via-PC funding has yet to materialize, for either side. What ever happened to being able to set up some sort of profile and be served only ads which are relevant to me? It’ll never be perfect, but advertisers should see higher returns and thus pay more per impression, and viewers should see ads as something actually worth watching, not something to skip.
This, among many other things, could be vastly improved with an open identification system, where we act as the gatekeepers to our own personal store of information, and let others in as appropriate. Generic ads could be allowed only a subset of relevant data, but for shows we like, there should be the option of opening up more data, so we can further encourage development of similar shows and allow the creators to better know their audience. Of course, the show is what we come for, but there’s no reason the ads couldn’t contribute to the whole experience, while also funding production of the content.
Comment by Jason -
Btw, for the few programs I’ve watched on cable,satellite, and telco tv subs, it’s been 10 minutes of content to 5-6 minutes of commercial. Why don’t you start your argument why I’m paying so much money for so little content and so many commercials. Then we can get to your “outrage”.
Btw, I remember when pay tv’s promise was content and no advertising back when it was starting. That lasted for about 5 minutes.
Comment by Mad Hemingway -
Have you forgotten about that whole FREE content distribution system that’s existed for the past 5 decades called “broadcast TV”? It also offers HDTV, and a fairly extensive lineup (if you live in a major city).
Now I can watch the shows for free online that I used to watch for free via broadcast, what a concept. Now why should I be paying for something again?
Comment by Brian -
Just give us more On-Demand programming. A lot more. Most of us are willing to pay for it.
The difference is that the internet gives it to us and the Cable Companies don’t. Its easy to choose when there is only one option.
I want to watch a live Bruce Springsteen concert tonight. Let me check my cable box….. nope. Ahhh there it is on the trusty internet in DVD quality and I have three options: Dublin, Barcelona, or NY. The torrent will take an hour to download but that’s my only available option.
Damn it, the Cable Company is taking our money but still turning us into pirates.
Long live the pirates! Force the Cable Companies to offer a better product.
Comment by Jeff in Dallas -
Mark, you seem to think that we “content payers” think of our cable or satellite companies like we might think of a utility like gas or electric–neutral or no opinion. But that’s where you’re wrong. You’ve clearly never called Comcast’s know-nothing support line, or waited all day for an installer to arrive, only to have the wrong equipment or lack the “authorization” to put an additional jack in, or been told by DirecTV that if you’re moving you’ll have to sign an 18-month contract with them to renew service.
No, our monthly payments to these companies aren’t like paying the water bill, they’re like alimony checks to your ex who’s screwing your best friend. I won’t cut the cable any time soon because I have a job and a family and simply don’t have time to fiddle with all of that stuff. But the idea of sticking it to the cable/sat companies is, frankly, rather delicious. Or maybe the word I’m thinking of is COMCASTIC.
Comment by Keir -
“I’m outraged and so you should be.”
I’m not and I won’t be. It’s the same argument as the music cd. 1- 2 good songs and the rest are crap. Certainly not worth paying for the entire cd.
Comment by Mad Hemingway -
How about we let the market decide what content is worth then? Ala carte is the perfect way to do that. I’ll pay for something if I think it’s worth the price, just as I do with every other product I consume. Why is that so freakin’ terrible?
The more I think about it, the more I like the ala carte idea, and as a producer of quality content, you should too. All of the crappy competition that exists will disappear, and the cream will rise to the top, just like it does in the real world. A traditional business model will replace what we have now, and efficiency and creativity will be rewarded, just like it is in the real world.
Instead of accepting the changes in the business environment and altering your business to address those changes, you want to fight it, just like the record companies did. A real entrepreneur would see the opportunities in these changes, not just the threats.
You’re right, content shouldn’t be free, but people feel like they are being held hostage by the entities that distribute that content and are rebelling.
Fix the system and you’ll get your justice. All people really want is what’s fair.
Comment by Kevin -
The train has left the station. No amount of whining from ‘Content Payers’ is going to change the course. If nothing else large cable and satellite companies have proven that once they have your money, they stop listening.
They are on the other hand trying to figure out how to get into (or back into) the pockets of everyone else.
Hence the ‘ad revenue’ model, with delayed availability, that we have today.
So, embrace the present, contribute to the future, but stop whining about the past.
You of all people must know what step to take next.
Comment by BillFitz -
As a straight-up economic decision by a rational actor, why would I pay for that same content to be delivered over the same wires (the cable company and the internet company are the same company in my neck of the woods), just to a different machine? I may get fewer shows than I want to watch, and I lose the “ease of browsing” that comes with regular TV viewing, and it may not be the highest quality. But for me, getting my shows over the internet is the right mix of cost ($ and ad-time) and convenience (many of the shows I like, relatively on demand).
This is a market failure, not people failing to “pay their dues”.
If one content distribution system feels that they are subsidizing other content distribution systems, that’s negotiating leverage for the “subsidizer”. If cable companies don’t like the arrangement, they need to negotiate with the content providers to access that content at a lower price or exclusively (contract for no internet distribution). If the content people don’t want to do that, then the cable companies need to make those content people “put up or shut up”…don’t distribute their content and don’t pay them for it and see how long they last trying to make money off of pre-roll ads before they come back looking for a cable contract.
Comment by Andy L -
Still trying to figure out if this is meant to be ironic or not. I’ll just assume it is.
I don’t get anything for free as long as there are ads. You get to show me ads in exchange for the content. Hulu isn’t “free”. We exchange my attention watching ads for access to the content. Advertising supported content is a system that works and has worked for a long time.
However if you want me to pay money for the content, package it in such a way that makes it worth while. For my cable package I pay $70 a month for around 50 channels not including music stations. So I’m paying $70 /30/50/24 or $0.0018 per hour of programming. I’d gladly pay double that for alacarte programming.
Comment by William -
What about the content that we don’t watch that we’re forced to pay for?
Comment by Chris -
I don’t pay for cable because most of the shows I like I can get for free on hulu or otherwise the next day. It rocks. Content freeloaders unite!
Comment by Patrick -
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