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Fox, Univision May Go Subscription To Stop Aereo

timothy posted about a year ago | from the sounds-like-bluffing dept.

Media 306

GTRacer writes "In response to Aereo's recent win allowing per-user over-the-air antenna feeds to remote devices, Fox COO Chase Carey said, 'We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content. This is not an ideal path we look to pursue [...],' that path being a switch to a subscription model. Spanish-language stalwart Univison may join Fox, per CEO Haim Saban. Aereo replied, in part, 'When broadcasters asked Congress for a free license to digitally broadcast on the public's airwaves, they did so with the promise that they would broadcast in the public interest and convenience, and that they would remain free-to-air. Having a television antenna is every American's right.' A switch to a pay-TV subscription model would stymie Aereo but could hurt affiliate stations."

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306 comments

first post? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43401981)

hope I got in first lol

Re:first post? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402059)

hope I got in first lol

Awesome! Here's an upvote my man! Err... wait.

While you are at it (5, Interesting)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#43402027)

Can we switch ALL channels to a subscription model? I only watch 5 channels, and I would gladly pay $5 each for those channels and save myself hundreds of dollars per year.

Re:While you are at it (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43402057)

On cable that would be fine, but not over the air channels. If they try that, they should indeed lose their broadcast license.

Re:While you are at it (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year ago | (#43402377)

Or pay a subscription tax on top of their broadcast license.

Re:While you are at it (5, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#43402391)

The clock is ticking for local over the air affiliates anyway. In a few years expect all the big players like Viacom, NBCUniversal, Fox, Disney, etc... to focus on becoming "apps" with content stores or subscriber libraries. There are constant rumors of HBO GO waiving the cable subscriber requirement and becoming a Netflix or Hulu. Premium channels are not going to standby much longer and watch Amazon Prime and other services steal "their audience". They will get in the game and it will by the end of the status quo for cable tv.

Smaller local news affiliates will become an afterthought. They will need to figure out how to survive as the business model continues to shift to streaming.

Re:While you are at it (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#43402409)

footnote: Before anyone says it I know NBC and Fox are partners on Hulu. I'm just saying expect more of that.

Re:While you are at it (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#43402407)

"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to the public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."

Life-Line by Robert A. Heinlein, 1939

/If they want to take their ball and go home, I would encourage them to do so.
//NBC/CBS/ABC as well. Someone will fill your shoes, if for no other reason than the lucrative sports broadcast.

Fox Corporate Asshole (5, Insightful)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about a year ago | (#43402801)

+1 for appropriate Heinlein wisdom

This Fox COO is making dumb threats. As one with an inside-view of how broadcast TV is made available to viewers, I can tell you that this action if taken will result in no good for Fox.

Basically, there is in many areas at most a 15-20% marketshare for OTA broadcast TV, and the rest get their TV from cable or satellite. For Fox to be able to charge the "freeloaders" viewing by broadcast, they would have to implement some kind of scrambling of the broadcast signal.
Scrambling the signal would require hardware on both ends: 1 scrambler at the broadcast transmitter, and 1 descrambler at each viewer's house (many).

How many currently free viewers do you reckon are going to start paying Fox for hardware/subscription to view their 1 broadcast channel that they used to get for free? My bet is nearly none. So their 15-20% share would drop to ~ 2-5% costing them 10+% of their viewers. Look at that number, then think of the nation-wide ad revenue for the corporation it could represent, and plop that figure onto the table of the shareholders' meeting....

Re:While you are at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402127)

Or even better, let's get rid of channels all together and just serve up all content a la carte.

Re:While you are at it (2)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year ago | (#43402597)

I hate to break it to you, but under that kind of model you'd probably be watching four channels worth of serene blue nothing. Cable packages subsidize less-popular channels, which includes... Syfy, TLC, the History channel, not that they're huge losses at this point, and basically anything else that isn't driven by one of the major basic networks or popular premium channels like HBO. Even they'd be impacted, because while advertising is a huge source of income, contracts with cable providers provide steady baseline funding as well.

In a nutshell: A lot of the crap you don't watch is ultimately funding the stuff that you do.

Re:While you are at it (2)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43402849)

Why should less popular channels by subsidized? Why should anything ever be subsidized (as far as entertainment)? The more direct the funding for content, the less "why would anyone watch this" content there will be, and the more rational discussions of piracy will become.

I'd much rather see a model where I watched all TV by buying downloads of shows - of course they'd ruin it all with some DRM nonsense, but a man can dream.

Re:While you are at it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43402943)

Why should less popular channels by subsidized? Why should anything ever be subsidized (as far as entertainment)?

Spread around the costs, maximize profits.

Cable companies are against bundling because there's channels that only a small subset of viewers wants. They're not going to pay for those individually, so the strategy is to bundle, and if you want something that only comes in a bundle, you help pay for the other channels you don't want.

The cable companies want to make sure that the money losing stuff gets paid for by as many people as possible.

Basically they want to prop up an aging business model, and since they lost the court case about getting paid, they're looking for another way to do it.

Re:While you are at it (1)

lobos (88359) | about a year ago | (#43402889)

Can we switch ALL channels to a subscription model? I only watch 5 channels, and I would gladly pay $5 each for those channels and save myself hundreds of dollars per year.

The subscription model they talk about is not the à la carte model that you are talking about. When they say "subscription model", they mean convert to the current pay-TV system where they would receive a monthly affiliate fee from your cable provider on your behalf. Hence, you automatically become a subscriber and some of your cable bill will get diverted to them.

Re:While you are at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402959)

Can we switch ALL channels to a subscription model? I only watch 5 channels, and I would gladly pay $5 each for those channels and save myself hundreds of dollars per year.

Agreed. Right now I'm subsidizing Faux Gnus to the tune of ~$3.50/month because I'm stuck paying for a package deal to get the 1/2 dozen channels I actually watch. I'd gladly pay the channels of my choice $5/month each and not pay Faux (and other channels I don't care about) anything thus voting with my dollars. Or perhaps an inexpensive pay-per-view model e.g. $0.10/hour to support the specific shows that I have an interest in viewing.
And when something like the SciFi channel renames itself SyFy with a change in programming from science fiction to reality, wrestling, etc well I'd vote with my dollars to let them know I'm not a 'reality' TV fan. On the other hand, if they made a new season of e.g. The Middleman or Firefly they'd get some of my money.

What am I missing? (5, Insightful)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | about a year ago | (#43402065)

If they already provide a free over-the-air signal, in order to be available to the most viewers (and therefore to the most advertising targets), isn't another company extending that viewer base at no expense to Fox, Univision, CBS, NBC, ABC a *benefit* to them?

Re:What am I missing? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402209)

It's a benefit to the affiliate stations, however Fox wants your to watch your LA affiliate when in LA, not the NY affiliate. Especially for their "talent" shows.

Re:What am I missing? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402223)

SSssshh! They're going to take Fox off the air and we don't have to do anything

Re:What am I missing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402253)

SSssshh! They're going to take Fox off the air and we don't have to do anything

But Fox has some good shows.. oh, wait, they kill those before finishing even one season.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year ago | (#43402389)

SSssshh! They're going to take Fox off the air and we don't have to do anything

But Fox had some good shows.. oh, wait, they kill those before finishing even one season.

FTFY

Re:What am I missing? (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about a year ago | (#43402917)

Or let them turning into Propaganda or even worst shills for b-level musicians whose only talent is how to operate an auto tuner. Is there any good show on Fox anymore? Let them move to subscription, they will fail within the year.

Re:What am I missing? (3, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#43402555)

You apparently do not understand that Fox and Fox News are not the same thing. Fox News is not "on the air". It is a cable channel. Fox on the other hand is broadcast "over the air" in most markets.

Re:What am I missing? (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#43402241)

Of course not. They expect to be PAID to have their advertisers commercials shown to a larger audience.

Re:What am I missing? (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43402243)

Only if that extended viewer base is measured and reported in a manner that advertisers trust, and then only if increased viewer base means increased ad views.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43402453)

Sounds like they could buy that information from Aereo.

Re:What am I missing? (4, Insightful)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | about a year ago | (#43402245)

Yea I have no idea what they're complaining about. Instead of fighting Aereo maybe they could work with them instead? When you're broadcasting you have no idea who's watching what and what kind of exposure paying advertisers are getting. Aereo likely knows what channel you're watching and at what time, this seems like ENORMOUSLY valuable information to a broadcaster. If everybody setup a TV tuner in their apartment and streamed it to their device of choice then the broadcaster has no clue what kind of market penetration they're getting.

It's like cutting off your nose to spite the face.

Re:What am I missing? (3, Interesting)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43402887)

There are 2 downsides with that from the TV perspective –

First, time-shifted /place-shifted advertisements are worth less. People pay less attention to them. (Live sports, for example, can charge a premium because people don’t time-shifting watching those vents.)

Secondly, and more importantly, the TV stations would have to share their revenue with Aereo – and more importantly – Aereo would be in the driving seat in terms of negotiations. I think the TV stations would want to go into negotiations in a stronger position.

So I don’t think they are inherently against it – they just want a larger slice of the pie. (Not saying that we should give it them.).

Re:What am I missing? (1)

Jerslan (1088525) | about a year ago | (#43402933)

Agreed, and since Aereo isn't cutting out the ads, it gives you pretty solid numbers to feed to advertisers. If they made it true time-shifting (not allowing any fast-fwd through commercials) then it's even better for the networks than DVR numbers.

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402249)

Now that the broadcast networks receive retransmission fees from the cable and satellite operators for retransmitting their free, over the air signals which include all of their commercials, why wouldn't they try to extort a similar payment from Aereo?

Re:What am I missing? (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43402257)

Didn't you read "We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content."? Translation: "Someone else is getting some profit off of our stuff. That means we aren't extracting all the value out of it we can. That can't be tolerated." Witness Rupert Murdoch and his battles with google. Losing two dollars to claim a dollar in someone else's pocket seems to be an all-too-common approach to the internet. It will take a while before people realize it's counterproductive to do shit like this. When they see profits going up, they'll attribute it to that, without realizing that it's due to other factors. When their profits go down, they'll use that to further justify this.

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402783)

They are speaking as if the content causing them the trouble of compensation is the property of Fox. The contracts made with the other content providers is the problem, and the COO is now thinking that the licensed content is theirs. Sleazy pirate he is, he is.

Re:What am I missing? (2)

j-turkey (187775) | about a year ago | (#43402639)

I suspect that this is the same resistance to a third party pushing content that nearly every IP owner has shown over the years. It has nothing to do with being compensated. It is likely easy to grab viewer metrics from Aereo and renegotiate the value of those viewer impressions with advertisers. I'm guessing that Fox just wants that control - they want to roll their own service, the same way that all of the music publishers wanted to roll their own streaming/subscription service, the same way that the cable companies want to roll their own VoD service, and the same way that the film studios want to roll their own VoD service.

It's no secret that these groups have all failed. The music industry tried and failed over and over again, with Apple dominating that marketspace now (and the IP owners are still managing to be compensated for this). The cable companies and film studios have also failed to run their own VoD services that are competitive with Netflix, yet they are all compensated for their IP streaming. This is just the same repeat behavior.

I'm no expert, but it would seem to me that content producers might want to stick to their core competencies, and excellence in broadcasting (or lack thereof) is showing to be unequal to excellence in developing a digital distribution model. They've failed over and over, while the third parties have succeeded almost exclusively...and in spite of lack of cooperation from "legacy" media. I know that the legacy IP owners want to maximize their profits and control by running their own digital distribution networks, but this seems akin to having their cake and eating it too - and it has proven to be historically risky.

Two Reasons (1)

Comboman (895500) | about a year ago | (#43402655)

If they already provide a free over-the-air signal, in order to be available to the most viewers (and therefore to the most advertising targets), isn't another company extending that viewer base at no expense to Fox, Univision, CBS, NBC, ABC a *benefit* to them?

There's two things you're missing:

1) OTA networks get paid fees by cable & satellite providers for their content (disputes over these fees sometimes result in certain networks being dropped temporarily by cable & satellite providers). I'm sure Fox & friends would love to charge Aereo similar fees, but that would upset the incumbent providers who are threatened by internet providers like Aereo.

2) Networks are able to geographically limit their coverage (even on satellite providers) which allows them to sell local, regional and national advertising. If Aereo allows people living outside New York (or god forbid, outside the US) to view NYC OTA feeds, they wouldn't be extracting the maximum ad revenue possible.

Re:Two Reasons (1)

Yaur (1069446) | about a year ago | (#43402813)

In order to get NYC OTA feeds through Aero you need to have a NYC street/billing address.

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402737)

I'm not familiar with Aereo. Are they replacing the commercials with their own? If so, I can see the broadcast networks having a valid complaint.

Re:What am I missing? (3, Informative)

DJ Particle (1442247) | about a year ago | (#43402799)

No. What they do is give you an antenna in the cloud. Each customer has their own antenna powered by an array. You watch the same content that someone with a rooftop antenna does.

On facebook, I did a basic outline as to why this was ruled legal:

Why Aereo is legal in an easy side-by-side comparison between traditional and digital:

1) Just as you had a TV antenna on your roof that only you can access, you have your own antenna that only you can access. Each customer has their OWN antenna. Your service fee pays for maintenance of the array your specific antenna is powered by.

2) Just as you could split your roof antenna signal as many times as you wanted throughout your house to send the signal to all your TVs, you can access your Aereo antenna with any device you own via the Aereo app. Your service fee helps maintenance of the Aereo app and keeps it updated. To clarify...keep in mind you are not so much accessing CONTENT, as you are an ANTENNA! That's the key point of this right there. You're accessing an ANTENNA that is exclusively YOURS, and sending its signal to your video device. The internet is simply playing the role of the coaxial cable.

3) Just as you could use a VCR to record any signal that comes off your roof antenna to watch for later, your personal Aereo cloud storage can store recorded programs to access at a later date on any of your devices that run the Aereo app. Until 2008, this could have been illegal, but Cablevision won a decision that said they could store programs in the cloud for their customers' personal viewing. What Aereo does in this case is no different. Like the Cablevision situation, each customer has their OWN cloud storage. Your service fee helps the maintenance of the cloud storage.

4) The one limitation: Just as your roof antenna could only receive local stations that you had to live in the area to access, you need to prove you are in the right market for the service. This is why right now, only the NYC market is eligible for Aereo, despite its user being able to watch their programs over the internet. You have to live in the area to get its channels. This is due to FCC rules of exclusivity. Aereo is planning rollouts in numerous other cities (including my home area of Minneapolis) before the end of the year. Your service fees help Aereo to grow.

Hilarious misinterpretation of their license (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402081)

What part of "broadcast in the public interest and convenience" are they failing to understand? A significant portion of the country no longer owns televisions nor are interested in non-time-shifted content.

Re:Hilarious misinterpretation of their license (1)

quintus_horatius (1119995) | about a year ago | (#43402723)

A significant portion of the country no longer owns televisions nor are interested in non-time-shifted content.

Source, please? Your claim is rather extrordinary. Pretty much every person I know owns at least one television, and almost all of them have cable (as much as they complain about the cost).

Re:Hilarious misinterpretation of their license (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43402795)

And if any of your acquaintances didn't have a TV, you'd know about it [theonion.com] .

Re:Hilarious misinterpretation of their license (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43402967)

Pretty much every person I know owns at least one television, and almost all of them have cable (as much as they complain about the cost).

Pretty much every person I know has at least one big display/monitor, and almost none of them have cable, instead streaming or torrenting or whatever. I think it's the sports fans (which admittedly is most of the male public) who are still tied to "broadcast" - it's an expensive and awkward way to watch anything that's not realtime.

Re:Hilarious misinterpretation of their license (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402733)

You sir are projecting your personal bias and views on the rest of America. Most people have access to TVs much more so than smart phones or even the internet. Just because your peers prefer content on demand doesn't mean the rest of the county is at your side. DVRs time shift just fine and I know plenty of families who still use VCRs. Lets not even get into arguments over bandwidth limitations and how some people leave the TV on as background noise while they do other things.

Re:Hilarious misinterpretation of their license (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43402989)

I think at this point no broadcaster is doing anything in the public interest. The best thing we can do it takes all that spectrum and give it to firms who will set up affordable Internet acces. We can stream video from those who will make it with the overhead of the networks. I tell you some of the Netflix stuff is better than anything the networks have. Have you seen booth at the end?

Good. (4, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#43402087)

Instead of seeing it as a way to increase their viewing area to their advertisers they're alienating their customer base. I quit watching normal TV years ago, if enough stations do this we could reallocate all that useful TV bandwidth to something useful.

Re:Good. (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about a year ago | (#43402691)

Like CB radio :)

Re:Good. (1)

IwantToKeepAnon (411424) | about a year ago | (#43402883)

reallocate all that useful TV bandwidth to something useful.

But it is being used for something useful. ... Oh wait, you mean something useful=something YOU value. Ok, gotit.

What's fair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402095)

Fox COO Chase Carey said, "We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content...

I agree. The problem is Mr. Carey defines "fair" in a way that a lot of people define as "ridiculous."

antenna a right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402101)

yes, sure, great. everyone gets to set up pieces of metal to resonate at whatever frequencies they
want, and use whatever demodulation they choose

that doesn't really compel anyone to continue to produce 'everyone loves raymond' and transmit it

Awesome! (4, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#43402117)

Let's hope all the like companies do this, it would be great for the American public. Once they do this we can then take the considerable bandwidth that is being allocated on TV and use it for more useful things like next generation wireless devices. I for one must encourage this behavior and the removal of public TV from public airwaves. We also gain the benefit of removing decades old indecency standards from the days of the Model T.

How many people would sign a petition in support of this measure?

Re:Awesome! (5, Interesting)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#43402279)

Broadcast TV allows me to watch programming I enjoy, for free, without my stream lagging to hell whenever my ISP arbitrarily decides to throttle me.

And I would rather have my indecency standards set by a monolithic, slow-as-molasses bureaucracy than by the whims of a media company.

Until net neutrality is settled, I would ask that you not sign any petition doing away with public TV.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402433)

I'm pretty sure Fox does not qualify as public TV...

Re:Awesome! (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43402497)

Why not just abolish indecency standards?
I don't see any utility in them. If you find the program indecent, turn it off.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about a year ago | (#43402979)

If you find the program indecent, turn it off.

Except it isn't about them not seeing it, it's about them making sure that others cannot see it, conveniently wrapped up in the guise of making sure their precious little Bobby and Suzie cannot see it.

Unfortunately for them, technology has advanced to the point that they no longer require the government's assistance to block Bobby and Suzie from accessing certain channels/shows. Though now we have to wait for the slow-as-molasses bureaucracy to catch up.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402535)

Broadcast TV allows me to watch programming I enjoy, for free, without my stream lagging to hell whenever my ISP arbitrarily decides to throttle me.

And I would rather have my indecency standards set by a monolithic, slow-as-molasses bureaucracy than by the whims of a media company.

Until net neutrality is settled, I would ask that you not sign any petition doing away with public TV.

I've been visiting US a few times per year for many years (business travel) and each and every time I'm amazed how you can endure watching anything with the amount of advertising intruding on the shows.

Re:Awesome! (1)

frinkster (149158) | about a year ago | (#43402963)

Broadcast TV allows me to watch programming I enjoy, for free, without my stream lagging to hell whenever my ISP arbitrarily decides to throttle me.

And I would rather have my indecency standards set by a monolithic, slow-as-molasses bureaucracy than by the whims of a media company.

Until net neutrality is settled, I would ask that you not sign any petition doing away with public TV.

I've been visiting US a few times per year for many years (business travel) and each and every time I'm amazed how you can endure watching anything with the amount of advertising intruding on the shows.

Hmm, business travel in the United States. Large amounts of television commercials. Business travel in the United States. Large amounts of television commercials.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
-Upton Sinclair

Re:Awesome! (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about a year ago | (#43402973)

The way I see it, I am subsidizing your broadcast TV viewing and would rather not. The broadcast spectrum is a limited resource and it is currently being wasted (ie, given to) a small handful of broadcasters. I want every broadcaster shut down and the bandwidth repurposed for a nationwide wireless network. Any content production company could then offer a stream for free or for a fee, or use a VoD service like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc. Everybody wins.

Cancel it! (4, Insightful)

simonbp (412489) | about a year ago | (#43402123)

Fox is so good at canceling good shows that they thought they'd cancel themselves!

Re:Cancel it! (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about a year ago | (#43402769)

I wonder how many would be willing to pay extra for Fox?

Cut off the node to spite the face (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | about a year ago | (#43402133)

Going subsciption only would turn them from one of the 'Big 4' networks to just another cable channel, like TNT or Discovery. I can't believe that this would be good for their ratings or advertising revenue. I guess they could try to demand premium pricing, like ESPN, but they might not have as much luck with that as they think.

I fail to see why these companies don't have a problem blasting their signal free out into the ether for anyone to receive, but the instant you try to blast it free into the internet for anyone to see, suddenly all the executives start lawyering up.

Re:Cut off the node to spite the face (1)

orthancstone (665890) | about a year ago | (#43402871)

Going subsciption only would turn them from one of the 'Big 4' networks to just another cable channel, like TNT or Discovery.

Fox's network channel would get stomped in a cable lineup.

Re:Cut off the node to spite the face (1)

DJ Particle (1442247) | about a year ago | (#43402893)

"...but the instant you try to blast it free into the internet for anyone to see..."

Well, Aereo isn't really quite doing that...they're giving you an antenna (that is exclusively YOURS) that you can log in to and watch whatever that antenna is receiving. No one else can log into your antenna. This is why it was ruled legal, it's not a publicly-available centralized broadcast.

And by "May"... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402139)

And, of course, by "may go subscription" you really mean "are spouting entirely hollow threats because everyone knows they're not going to throw away their broadcast money just to spite one company."

Re:And by "May"... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43402427)

And, of course, by "may go subscription" you really mean "are spouting entirely hollow threats because everyone knows they're not going to throw away their broadcast money just to spite one company."

Not that this would ever happen, of course; but if somebody at the FCC had actual nerve they'd do a little perspective inversion at this point:

"Oh, so you now think that the economics of your use of some prime RF spectrum allocations are unsustainable? Good to know, we've got people who are substantially more optimistic about their ideas and would love to have access to it(any of the 'whitespace' networking technologies, for instance, would work substantially better, and be much easier to set up, if there were some dead channels that assured the existence of whitespace...)"

Goodbye Fox. (1)

Apharmd (2640859) | about a year ago | (#43402187)

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Aren't OTA TV stations compensated by ads? (3, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | about a year ago | (#43402191)

"We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content. " - Don't you sell advertisements to get paid? I never recall getting a bill for OTA TV .

Re:Aren't OTA TV stations compensated by ads? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about a year ago | (#43402225)

Exactly!

Re:Aren't OTA TV stations compensated by ads? (2)

crmarvin42 (652893) | about a year ago | (#43402635)

I could be wrong, but I believe that is their point. OTA TV is funded by commercials. Commercial rates are based on viewership, and the assumption that those viewers (or some percentage of them) are actually watching the commercials. I believe the objection comes from the ability to skip commercials via Aereo's restreaming technology. They get a different rate from cable companies, which I believe includes some compensation for the DVRs that the cable company rents out to customers. Since the courts have already determined that time shifting is legal, and they now have classified Aereo's approach as time shifting and not rebroadcasting, the broadcasters fear that they will lose money unless they find a way to neutralize OTA time shifting.

Not saying they are going about it the right way. Just my impression of their perspective.

Re:Aren't OTA TV stations compensated by ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402721)

So, I guess my TiVo should be illegal, too? It supports OTA channels.

Re:Aren't OTA TV stations compensated by ads? (1)

DJ Particle (1442247) | about a year ago | (#43402929)

Aereo also allows live viewing, and you can't really skip commercials in that.

Re:Aren't OTA TV stations compensated by ads? (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about a year ago | (#43402703)

Actually I think they get paid by the volume of viewer watching the ads (via price of advert)! In effect they should compensate Aereo for distributing to larger audience!

This was already decided back in 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402217)

Aereo is recording and transmitting free, OTA signals. This is the Betamax case [wikipedia.org] all over again.

He/they already are [compensated] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402263)

Fox COO Chase Carey said, "We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content.
This is not an ideal path we look to pursue [...]"

He/they already are -- it's called TV commercials.

By the time the signal leaves the antenna, that content is 100% paid for, with a significant
profit margin. Carey should talk with someone more knowledgeable about these inner workings
of the broadcast industry, it might seem a little overwhelming at first, but if he applies himself,
there's a fair chance he'll get it. It's a real eye-opener.

Ridicolous (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#43402269)

What a ridiculous, childish tantrum.

Their arguments, that format-shifting is depriving them of revenue -- make about as much sense as an angry, stompy blue-faced toddler.

I would say that this stupid, childish dummy spit is aimed purely at screwing money out of Aereo. That in itself is fine. What ISN'T fine, is these overfed elite con artists insulting everyones' intelligence in the process.

Right doesn't equal access (0)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#43402289)

Having a television antenna is every American's right.

Fox and Univision aren't quibbling with that part. You can have any antenna you want. They just don't have to grant you access through that antenna since they're the ones who have paid for access to the programs and then redistribute them to those who pay.

Re:Right doesn't equal access (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#43402435)

Having a television antenna is every American's right..

That's what I tried to tell the TSA when I brought my fully assembled Channel Master 2020 [wiredathome.com] in my carry on luggage. But they spouted some Patriot Act/FAA regulations bullshit at me.

Re:Right doesn't equal access (1)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#43402439)

Is there some maximum cable length law between one's TV and an antenna? Isn't this essentially a business that has a good location for reception and a long cable to TVs where the rabbit ears would get squat. People in rural areas have long used towers, long cables, and remote antenna rotators to get better signals (I can personally remember this from the late 70s and it surely predates my childhood memories) -- why can't city folk do the same thing by essentially renting an antenna with desireable placement and the wiring to bring in the signal?

Re:Right doesn't equal access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402571)

Because WAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH I'm going home to tell my Mommy!, that's why.

Re:Right doesn't equal access (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#43402851)

But they can.

To boost range the signal has to be digitized first. That's what Aero does. If you read how Aero works, it's crazy from a technical perspective to stay legal.

When you subscribe to Aero you're renting your very own antenna hooked up to your own rented (virtual) dvr.
Think about how stupid that is. They have thousands of antennas hooked up to thousands of TV tuners to record the same show thousands of times.
They are legally prevented from preforming file-level deduplication. (This was a key issue why they won the last court battle)

If you want your own Aero setup it's easy. Just hook a dvr up to an antenna, and connect it to a Slingbox. Be sure to take pictures and send it to all those companies that are suing Aero. We could use another laugh.

Re:Right doesn't equal access (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43402441)

Well, given that they just finished losing a lawsuit denying exactly that, they apparently do quibble with that part, they just didn't get their way...

Re:Right doesn't equal access (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43402541)

Please?
That spectrum can then be taken back by the FCC, right?

Re:Right doesn't equal access (1)

tipo159 (1151047) | about a year ago | (#43402663)

[Fox and Univision] just don't have to grant you access through that antenna since they're the ones who have paid for access to the programs and then redistribute them to those who pay.

Of course, they are free to not air their content over the public airwaves. They can choose not to distribute their content to their OTA affiliates and become (one of very many) cable-/satellite-only channels. And then what will their OTA affiliates air? Will they stop affiliating with local stations and lose that local presence? What happens when a local news story of national significance breaks and they no longer have affiliation with a local news source?

Broadcasters use the public airwaves for free and, in return, have public interest obligations. However, they have spent the last few decades eroding exactly what constitutes "public interest" to the point that the broadcasters' interests are the public interests. The right of the network to make money is in the public interest, right?

Re:Right doesn't equal access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402815)

There is NO "public" anything. All "commonly owned" property has been STOLEN from someone by the government in order to provide free shit to those people who are too stupid, lazy or retarded to earn their own shit.

VOTE Ron Paul 2016 to END this bullshit once and for all.

And the whole cable watching world said (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about a year ago | (#43402299)

Meh.

Re:And the whole cable watching world said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402445)

Well, DUH, this doesn't apply to cable.

And nothing of value was lost... (1)

uncle slacky (1125953) | about a year ago | (#43402333)

As title...

You can't protect rights you don't have (2)

Anita Coney (648748) | about a year ago | (#43402337)

They're complaining that the courts and government are not protecting their rights. Their copyrights.

But copyrights exist at the discretion of the government. If 17 USC 107 provides a fair use exception to copyright. And if time shifting is fair use. Then there are no rights to protect.

It's not the government's job to protect your IP rights. The government grants you a monopoly covering certain aspects of a work. If the government decides that time shifting is not a violation of copyrights, you don't have that right. Deal with it.

Cry me a fucking river... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43402373)

Broadcast TV sits right in the middle of some pretty nice spectrum. Any broadcaster who doesn't like the economics of broadcasting is more than welcome to step aside and let us find some more productive use of that spectrum. Not that I think Fox is serious; but I'd be delighted if they were.

Wait. What? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year ago | (#43402383)

A switch to a pay-TV subscription model would stymie Aereo but could hurt affiliate stations

Can they even do this? Don't affiliates have multi-year contracts, with exclusive territory agreements ? Who would agree to be a network affiliate if they could just pull the plug from you at any time?

Re:Wait. What? (1)

schlesinm (934723) | about a year ago | (#43402479)

Exactly. With the exception of the 27 (or so) stations actually owned by Fox, they have no ability to stop their affiliates from transmitting programs over the air.

Re:Wait. What? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43402569)

No, this is just an empty threat because they did not get their way. You see this behavior a lot in toddlers and people of that level of development.

BROADCAST is not just a word (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402411)

When a company is given a BROADCAST license, they have to agree to live up to certain requirements. The main one is that they BROADCAST as effectively as possible. Other agents that assist in ensuring the broadcasting is effective cannot be considered copyright infringers.

This is the same thing as choosing to sell software as a product versus as a service. Sell software as a product and the first sale doctrine ALWAYS applies. Sell software as a product (outright purchase, no pre-agreed termination date), and you do NOT get to apply service-like restrictions on your customers, regardless of the garbage you write into your so-called EULAs.

Nothing forces Rupert 'Goebbels' Murdoch to be a broadcaster. He does so because the competition will eat him alive if he withdraws from this market. However, the market is changing as a consequence of the Internet. Few governments have created a firm definition of broadcasting on the Internet. Clearly, if a company gives up its hard-won over-the-air broadcasting licences, anything it does online will NOT be considered as broadcasting in the legal sense, and other agents could not step in and 'enhance' the 'broadcasting'.

While Yanks may not know this, Murdoch is a cutting edge provider of TV services in other nations, especially the UK. He actually operates the best ISP in the UK in readiness for the day when most people get their TV content over the Internet. In the US, Murdoch famously spent a fortune to establish Fox as the 'fourth' network- he now asks himself daily whether the time has come to give this up. However, US broadcast TV has hardly failed or withered away. ABC, CBS and NBC still have massive output on their over-the-air services, even if audience figures are a tiny fraction of their historical peaks.The owners of these networks, like Fox, also operate basic cable and paid cable services.

The current US government would look most unhappily on any cynical removal from the current healthy broadcast market, and none know this better than Obama's propaganda master, Murdoch. In this light, Murdoch's moaning and threats are no different from when Microsoft throws temper tantrums over the consequence of choosing to sell software as products. Fox/Murdoch needs (at this time) to continue to be a broadcaster, and MS needs to continue to sell its software as products.

Another example of being out-innovated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402523)

“Organizations, by their very nature are designed to promote order and routine. They are inhospitable environments for innovation.” (T. Levitt).

“Most innovation fails, but companies that do not innovate fail”. (Unknown).

The problem with NewsCorp, TimeWarner, and all of these media conglomorates is that they want business as usual. For them to innovate anything, it costs money; money that they would rather have lining their pockets for their next shareholder meeting. When another business innovates, and creates a good product, at the expense of the conglomorates, they will lawyer up and try to sue, or aquire, said business. However, this makes the consumers irritated at said conglomorate, and that should, in turn, cause subscription rates or advertisement revenue to go down. Not like that matters though, since the conglomorates have more political and monetary power than the consumers and can just "bully" their way through.

Inevitable step (3, Insightful)

Average (648) | about a year ago | (#43402547)

This was an inevitable step once we went down the path of allowing OTA broadcasters to start demanding payments for retransmission on cable (originally "Community Antenna TV"). That was a stupid step to begin with... you're sending an unencrypted signal into my house... why do you care how I get it or if I let a middleman bring it to me? It is also inevitable once the broadcasters started getting bought by pay-TV companies (Disney, Comcast, etc).

For FOX, though, I don't think their #1 TV property (a little thing called the NFL) is going to be real happy at all with them becoming 'yet another cable station'.

Re:Inevitable step (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43402751)

It wasn't a stupid step. it was an example of that your Civic leaders are greedy asshats that will happily take a bribe to throw your rights under the bus. Blame your town mayor, and every elected representative you have. Your city or town has a "franchise" agreement with cable companies. It's a legal kickback of money for allowing them to strongarm customers and keep competition out.

Retransmission fees? (1)

Fencepost (107992) | about a year ago | (#43402573)

Interesting, so they figure if they go cable-only they can try to get more money than they otherwise might via retransmission fees.

I'm not so sure that the cable carriers would be heartbroken to see this happen. Right now I suspect they're mostly having to pay Fox for the "privilege" of carrying the over-the-air content, but a change like this might well mean that the network was paying to be carried instead.

Please? (1)

ATMosby (746034) | about a year ago | (#43402577)

I think that it is a great idea to make people pay for Fox News. Perhaps then fewer people will actually watch and parrot it!

Networks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402599)

Could care less if they go subscription. There are maybe 4 channels I watch on a regular basis on cable. Currently I am heading towards cancelling my cable, as it is just not cost effective to pay for hundreds of channels when I only want a few.

I would be happy to pay for only the channels I watch, plus have on-demand content when I want something more. The networks and cable companies need to change their models fast, they are losing thousands of subscriptions to Internet content like Netflix and Hulu.

Each american is entitled to an antenna he says! (1)

cristiroma (606375) | about a year ago | (#43402615)

"Having a television antenna is every American's right."
Can't every american get his very own antenna from Walmart [walmart.com] ?

Yes, it is a desperate attempt (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year ago | (#43402793)

It seems to me that Aereo is a centralized equivalent of a Slingbox, just, well, centralized.

So of that's the case, the complaint by broadcasters would be, what?

- Infinging on sales of any mobile app they have to enable place-shifting their programming?
- The age-old argument that time-shifting is wrong? We fought that fight and won I think.
- Opposing Aereo because they mess with various ratings and data collection? This, BTW, I believe would be enough to justify the fight by itself.
- Opposing Aereo because they don't want to have to buy the data *again*? See above.

Same fight going on with Dish and the Hopper. Lack of 'control', which in the current environment is really failing to reocgnize that fight is already lost. We can place-shift, time-shift, do both at once. We have multiple ways. If these channels expect to be able to get me to pay for content with my eyeballs (commercials), or a mobile app for convenience, and get more and more revenue for the same content, they have a challenge. I'm not far from focusing my interests on programming that is given to me cheaply, be it Neflix or YouTube, or something else. The dinosaurs are fighting it out, but they will lose.

And I can't see this fast enough. Adapt or die, losers.

I dare them (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43402829)

I Dare Fox to pull from OTA and go subscription only. They really as a network have only about 6 hours of programming a day. all the rest is created by the local stations.

Go ahead Fox... pull out and go Subscription only. I DARE YOU.

Abandon the airwaves so we can have our RF back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402847)

Good, let Fox univision and all the other broadcasters abandon the airwaves so we can free up that valuable RF for some real wireless broadband.

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