THE PRICE POINT

The Price Point | The Supreme Court Offers Station Groups Hope. The FCC Could Give More

Broadcasters would welcome reformation of the outdated newspaper-TV crossownership rule, but the Supreme Court’s decision to hear an appeal of the Third Circuit decision doesn’t solve all the industry’s COVID-induced woes. The FCC still needs to eliminate the Top 4 rule and online video distributors need to be classified as MVPDs.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Put Affils, Not Nets, In Control of vMVPD Dollars

Local broadcasters could use some regulatory help from the FCC by declaring that vMVPDs or “skinny bundles” must be treated like regular MVPDs and thus subject to retransmission consent obligations. Doing so would put the affiliates in a much stronger position to hang on to vMVPD fees than they are now.

ATVA: Retrans Is Market Competition Problem

The American Television Alliance told the FCC that the problems with a competitive communications marketplace are retrans blackouts, retrans fees and broadcast consolidation in spite of FCC rules that are supposed to limit it, consolidation that drives retrans fees higher and has driven some smaller MVPDs have been pushed out of that marketplace.

NAB’s Smith: No Blackouts During Pandemic

NAB President Gordon Smith said broadcasters don’t want to see any retransmission consent service disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has called for a retransmission consent quiet period to avoid TV station signals going off MVPDs.

FCC Approves MVPD Email Notifications

The FCC has voted to approve an order that allows MVPDs to transition some of their paper notifications to electronic delivery, or as the FCC put it, to update notification rules for the digital age.

THE PRICE POINT

The Price Point | Archaic STELAR Must Be Allowed To Sunset

Hank Price: “Allowing STELAR to finally die a natural death at the end of this year means the free market system would return, bringing fairness along for good measure. Sunsetting STELAR means DirecTV would no longer have the right to retransmit stations without their permission.

Pai: Streaming Is Strong Competition To MVPDs

In what could signal a big change in regulatory approach, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has plans a vote on an item that would set the precedent that streaming services qualify as “effective competition” to MVPDs sufficient to trigger basic rate deregulation of those MVPDs.

Study: Virtual Pay TV Services ‘Use’ Down

While individual subscription video services like Netflix generally continue to grow in subscribers and viewership, new virtual pay TV services — which provide access to traditional TV networks — are slipping, according to a recent TiVo research report.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Let’s Do Away With Anti-Retrans Quinquennials

Every five years, satellite operators ask Congress to renew the law that gives them the right to import network affiliated broadcast signals into “white areas” where subscribers cannot get local affiliates off air. And every five years, the operators and their cable allies try to dirty the bill with provisions that will make it more difficult for broadcasters to negotiate for retransmisson consent fees. NAB’s job is clear: Convince Congress to kill the renewal legislation or pass a “clean” bill and make it permanent.

TVN TECH

Cable Sizes Up ATSC 3.0 Challenges

The array of options for over-the-air 3.0 is dizzying. But with roughly 75% of TV households still subscribing to cable, satellite or telco services — and retransmission fees from providing their signals to such pay-TV operators making up a growing portion of broadcasters’ revenue — it’s clear that 3.0 needs to work with cable in order to be a long-term success.

AT&T’s SVoD Services Will Be Pay-TV Friendly

AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit will take direct aim at consumers with a coming set of OTT-delivered subscription VoD services, but pay-TV providers will also play an important role in their distribution.

COMMENTARY

Local Choice Is Poor Choice (One More Time)

The MVPDs are pushing the Local Choice alternative to retransmission consent in the pending STELAR home satellite renewal legislation as it did in 2014. So, TVNewsCheck is posting broadcast attorney Jack Goodman’s 1,564-word argument against the proposal as it did in 2014.

AT&T Hints At HBO-Turner-Warner Bundle

AT&T owns a significant SVOD product in HBO Now, with its $15-per-month price point and more than 5 million subscribers. But the company may be looking at bundling it with other direct-to-consumer products.

OTT Carves Out Bigger Slice of Pay-TV Pie

U.S.-based virtual multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) combined to add about 868,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018, expanding that total to 6.73 million, up 119% year-over-year, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics based on a blend of company figures and estimates.

2Q Pay TV Sub Losses Dropped To About 415,000

With virtual MVPDs continuing to take on new customers at a healthy clip, keeping customers in the pay TV ecosystem, cord cutting dropped significantly for the second straight quarter, according to Leichtman Research Group. Cable, satellite and telco TV operators reported collective losses of 416,962 customers in the second quarter, down from 655,000 in the second quarter of 2017.

New TiVo Platform Aims to Help MVPDs

TiVo is introducing a next-generation platform designed to allow mid-size pay-TV operators to embrace IPTV and offer customers a modern, app-based user experience across a range of devices. It’ll be on display next week at CES in Las Vegas.

STATION ADVISORY

Copyright Office Extends MVPD Comments

The Copyright Office is reviewing the reporting obligations of cable and satellite television systems related to the statutory license that permits those systems to carry the programming of local television stations. The Copyright Office has just announced that it is extending the comment period in the proceeding. Comments are now due March 16, with replies due on April 6, 2018.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Road To FCC 3.0 Order Could Be Bumpy

Cable and satellite operators want nothing to do with ATSC 3.0 and are staking out positions at the FCC squarely at odds with broadcasting’s 3.0 proponents.They want to regulate the transition to 3.0 and block broadcasters from using retrans to force them to carry 3.0 signals. But the broadcasters have strong counterarguments and an FCC chairman who is disinclined to regulate anything.

Total U.S. MVPD Revs Up, OTT Rising Faster

Total revenues for U.S. cable, satellite, and telco providers is estimated to inch up slowly in the next five years. BMO Capital Markets says there will be 1% revenue growth for U.S. MVPDs (multichannel video program distributors) to $116.8 billion in 2020, from $115.5 billion in 2015. Newer OTT TV services — those services packaging live, linear TV networks, like DirecTV Now, Sling TV and future efforts from YouTube TV and Hulu — will climb to $11.6 billion in 2020, from $4.2 billion.

Entertainment Studios Nets Adds 35 MVPDs

Entertainment Studios announced carriage expansion of its portfolio of cable networks to more independent distributors nationwide and throughout the Caribbean, now reaching nearly 80 million aggregate subscribers. The seven Entertainment Studios 24/7 HD cable networks are Cars.TV, Comedy.TV, ES.TV, JusticeCentral.TV, MyDestination.TV, Pets.TV and Recipe.TV. “We are thrilled to have additional independent operators on board,” said Janice […]

AMC: MVPD Reform To Boost Program Costs

AMC Networks warned the FCC that reclassifying certain over-the-top services as cable services, would raise programming costs and do little to help online video distributors. The cable network company, which offers pay TV services channels that include The Walking Dead and Humans in the programming lineup, is the latest company to weigh in on a proposal FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has promised to move this fall.

OTT Firms Push Back Against FCC Proposal

The nation’s biggest online video distributors would rather the FCC not do them any favors by regulating over-the-top services like it does cable. Representatives from Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, companies that haven’t been regulated by the FCC, have been increasing their face time at the FCC to keep the agency from advancing a proceeding that would regulate some OTT services like facilities-based multichannel video distributors.

NEWS ANALYSIS

MVPD Proceeding: FCC’s Next Divisive Issue

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to reclassify some online video providers as multichannel video programming distributors is going to be another divisive, partisan issue, an all-too familiar pattern at the agency.

Mobile Shapes Video, Wireless Evolution

AT&T is buying satellite TV provider DirecTV so it can offer packages that marry wireless and wired Internet access with traditional and online video. Verizon is buying AOL for technology to improve advertising on mobile devices. And Comcast tried — unsuccessfully — to get bigger, in part to compete better with online video services such as Netflix and Hulu. Here’s a look at what these three companies are doing.

TVN'S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Improve Your Retrans Revenue Management

It may seem like there’s a simple process of determining receivables from multichannel providers. But funny things can happen on the way to revenue recognition. Here are tips on dealing with some common challenges.

NAB 2015

Little Agreement On What Makes An MVPD

At a Monday NAB Show panel on how — and whether — to regulate online video, there was no consensus. Broadcasters are on different sides of the issue, with affiliates favoring reclassifying some online linear video as MVPDs and network owners opposing the move. And online video services also disagree about what the FCC should do.

MVPDs Are A Study In Consolidation

There are a relatively small number of companies that provide the vast bulk of MVPD service to American homes. According to a new study, only 13 companies control 95% of the total number of subscribers. Look a little bit closer, and the chart shows that just four companies control two thirds of the market.

NAB: Treat OVDs Same As Cable, Satellite

The trade group says the FCC should impose the same basic regulations on online video distributors as they do on MVPDs. Among other things, that would include retrans and must-carry obligations.