32 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for December 19, 2013
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Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:08:32 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Aereo Armageddon Ahead? Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> By Kevin Goldberg, FHH CommLawBlog, December 18, 2013 | Warring parties agree on one thing: the Supreme Court should | intervene ASAP -- but will the Supremes agree to take the case | now? | | The Aereo War rages on, fought (like most wars) on several | fronts, but always with an eye toward that epic battle | destined to change the face of the conflict entirely. | Yorktown. Waterloo. Gettysburg. Normandy. | | Possibly soon to be added to that list: Washington, likely | site of the Aereo Armageddon. More specifically, One First | Street, N.E. -- where the U.S. Supreme Court sits. | | And it could happen sooner than many expected. That's because | the major broadcast networks, having lost their bids to shut | Aereo down in New York and Boston, have sought Supreme Court | review of the New York decision. And, in an interesting | gambit, Aereo has taken the unusual step of agreeing with its | adversaries. Aereo says that the Supreme Court should take the | case. While that is no guarantee that the Court will agree | that the issues are now ripe for resolution at the highest | level, such unanimity among the parties certainly doesn't | hurt. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/khpt3sq Goldberg will be a participant in a Bloomberg BNA webinar about Aereo on January 16 titled "Will Aereo Case Force a Rewrite of Communications and Copyright Laws?" According to the FHH website: | ...the [webinar] is billed as a webinar for folks who advise | communications and broadcasting companies, professionals | involved in media ownership and regulation and intellectual | property practitioners. It may even qualify for continuing | legal education in some jurisdictions. Such a deal! The 90- | minute affair, which is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m., is | sponsored by Bloomberg BNA. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/mactj8g It's also expensive: $224 if you're not a Bloomberg BNA subscriber. I won't be watching. Neal McLain
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2013 14:21:31 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Virtual MVPD concept generates more hype -- but it isn't feasible Message-ID: <email@example.com> By Steve Donohue, FierceCable, December 13, 2013 | While executives at major programmers like Viacom and Walt | Disney Co. have predicted in recent weeks that a virtual | multichannel programming distributor could soon emerge, I'm | beginning to wonder if the concept is little more than hype. | | The last straw for me came yesterday, after spending more than | four hours listening to DirecTV's Investor Day webcast. On | Wednesday, a top Wall Street analyst predicted that DirecTV | would announce plans to stream its entire programming lineup. | I waited patiently for the announcement, listening to DirecTV | executives spend more than two hours discussing the company's | Latin America division. | | CEO Mike White finally responded to a question about a | virtual DirecTV service at the end of the conference, telling | attendees that rights issues remain an obstacle. | | "I am optimistic that over the next 12 months we'll have more | to say about [over-the-top video]. But we think it is an | opportunity," White said. "What we are looking at is niche | ideas--if we get the rights," White added. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/k7468v8 MVPD = Multichannel video programming distributor, the FCC's lump-sum term for cable TV, DBS (Dish, DirecTV), MATV and SMATV systems. "...if we get the rights...." That statement points directly to the underlying problem: the "basic tier." EVERYBODY wants to be on basic. As I've noted before here, full-power and some LPTV broadcasters have a legal right to have their signals carried on basic (and commercial stations can even charge for it). Local franchising authorities have the right to require basic-tier carriage for PEG (public, educational, and government access) channels. Advertising supported non-broadcast programmers write basic-carriage requirements into their affiliation agreements. There's no such thing as "basic tier" for signals carried over the internet, but it seems to me that it's possible to create one. DirecTV does essentially the same thing right now with its "Watch movies and shows anywhere, on your laptop, tablet, or cell phone" option. The only difference would be the source of the signals: if DirecTV offered such a package as an OTT service, signals would come directly from DirecTV rather than from the subscriber's home receiver. Unless I'm missing something here. Neal McLain
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