12.07.2010 03:05 PM
Broadcast Nets Top List of Must-See TV Programming
MustSeeTVNEW YORK: Give us the Big Four before we cut the cord, 300 people told Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin.

“Please list which TV channels you must have available online for you to turn off your TV subscription.” That was the question posed to the group of multichannel subscribers pinged by Martin in October. CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC were the top four, in that order.

“We found that if folks listed one broadcaster, they generally listed them all,” Martin wrote. “They think of the four broadcasters as a monolith. This may be because they have no idea which networks their favorite shows are on.”

However, the fact that CBS was at the top and is also the No. 1 rated network somewhat belies that. NBC, which lags in the rating among broadcast nets, tied in necessity with ESPN, the top cable network folks had to have access to before canceling their pay TV subscriptions,
aka “cord cutting.” Next was Discovery, followed by History and HBO.

Martin said the HBO response was surprising, given that it’s limited subscriber numbers would translate to a rating equal to the broadcast nets when considering equal audience size. The revelation may reveal something behind Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes’s
reported intention to turn HBO into an a la carte network.

The Needham surveyed were also asked how much they would pay for per month for their favorite 20 channels. More than half said less than $20. However, for nets like Comedy Central, a necessity for 10 percent, people said they’d pay nothing because they can get the programming online.

The phenomenon played into Needham’s value analysis of four primary network types. I.e., cable networks that rely on reruns will have difficulty taking that content online without paying additional copyright fees. Cable nets full of original content like cooking shows, bike races, music and dance contests are not well-positioned to charge for it on the Internet.

“Sports is a unique animal,” they said. “Ratings are up strongly in 4Q10. . . but sports has no library value because the leagues own the copyrights. Monopoly Rents theory says that the strongest leagues will try to negotiate for every dollar of value created over time.”

Needham analysts concluded that content with the highest “real-option” value appeared to be successful series on broadcast networks that could be sold internationally and into multiple syndication cycles.

“This analysis of shifting risk profiles among content companies makes us like the successful broadcasters that air many dramas--dramas travel better offshore than comedies--and who own the copyrights and all distribution rights on all platforms.”

Deborah D. McAdams

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Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Wed, 12-08-2010 06:46 PM Report Comment
You would think that in the year 2010 there wlould be enough bandwidth to be able to watch any broadcast channel anywhere from anywhere. I know this is not a populat idea with the Fifth Estate due to skewing the book one way or another, but it has happened in radio. You can stream practically any station now. Another thing I can't understand is why when we went to DTV there wasn't something down that would allow TV on the move like it was with analog transmission. I used to be able to travel the I-95 Northeast corridor and get a decent signal. No can't even move without losing signal. Progress? Don't think so! I agree with the poster above. Best HD signal is Over The Air. The days of cable, DirecTV and Dish network are surely numbered unless they adopt an ala carte option and quick.
Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Thu, 12-09-2010 04:23 PM Report Comment
Clearly there isn't enough room in the surviving OTA spectrum to replicate all those cable channels. But there would be enough to aggregate the top rated cable shows into a few "Cream of Cable" channels. Just give me "Ice Road Truckers" and "Divine Design".... Of course it ain't gonna happen, because if there was anybody alive capable of putting together the necessary deals, they would have already talked bin Laden out of terrorism, and given us world peace.
Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Wed, 12-08-2010 02:55 PM Report Comment
I agree the best TV choices are available OTA via antenna. I cut the cord last year and haven't missed it. My antenna comes with no monthlly fees and I get 22 channels with better HD!
Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Wed, 12-08-2010 03:01 PM Report Comment
How many of the people who answered the survey know that, with an antenna, they can get the networks, plus a lot more digital subchannels for free? Add a Tivo and they have most of the programming that they want, anytime they want, in full HD.
Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Wed, 12-15-2010 10:21 AM Report Comment
I still want, and use my new attic antenna for FREE over the air local stations, and the video is 4x as good as the compressed, artifact-ridden junk from my cable supplier. Isn't there supposed to be a separate HD-4 per-se that would be ONLY for MOBILE OTA HDTV, rather than try to gather the whole HDTV signal on the move? Also, what is to prevent the (VHF) HDTV stations from broadcasting ANALOG AUDIO ONLY on a different polarization, so the AM/FM/TV radios would still work?

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