Hank Price: There is no question ATSC 3.0 will be a great quality advance for television stations. The picture alone makes the upgrade a must have, but it too will be challenged by a wireless competitor: 5G. 5G will empower two-way 3.0 services, but it will also function as a direct competitor, offering far more services than 3.0 alone is capable of.
For now, most station groups continue to use representation, indicating a desire to make the system work, but no one can ignore the dramatic change in landscape. Unless the reps learn to serve the new marketplace, their days are numbered.
Netflix’s major Q2 shortfall on new subscribers signals that OTT services are beginning to learn what broadcasters have long known: not everything will be a hit, and even the best programming has a shelf life.
With the financial pressure on system operators, pitted against need for broadcasters to eventually achieve parity with the most-watched cable networks, retrans fights and blackouts are bound to sometimes happen. The sad reality is that in the short term everyone loses. Viewers lose their favorite programs, stations lose news viewers, DirecTV loses subscribers and station general managers lose their minds.
As legislation is being proposed to regulate Big Tech, broadcasters should realize that any regulation involving use of the internet by business will eventually affect television stations, particularly any encroachment on the First Amendment. This is a genuine concern because one of the bubbling issues is who can post what information.
Hank Price: “The commitment of local broadcasters and their owners to the communities they serve is legendary. No corporation is perfect, nor is every policy. Employees have the right to disagree and should do so when they believe something is wrong, though hopefully not on a public forum.”
Is the loss of newspapers also the loss of basic information, deep reporting, investigations, even democracy its self? I don’t think so. Leading television stations are the natural candidates to become the trusted source, and many will.
There is every reason to believe advertising will continue to be the lifeblood of television, but the continuing growth of retransmission consent should remind us that future opportunities are unlimited.
The sooner we get to a fully measured consumer experience the better for everyone — stations, advertisers and consumers. Nielsen is the leading candidate to do that, but, make no mistake, someone will make it happen.
Hank Price: The relationship between Viacom and CBS is a long and complicated one.