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Why DISH Network and AMC’s Never-Ending Squabble Is Our Fault... Sort Of

There is a big schism between the people who devoutly consume “industry” or “business” news related to television online and those who simply watch television without paying much attention to how it gets made or how it reaches their eyeballs. But this summer, there have been a few stories that have directly impacted almost all television viewers, no matter their interest level (or lack thereof) in the insider-y matters. AMC’s long-standing—and apparently, never-ending and very snarky—dispute with DISH Network and Viacom’s similar, but shorter kerfuffle with DirecTV removed, even temporarily, networks and shows from many of our cable packages without much notice. That can be tough to handle, and the outcry of frustration over both feuds has been fairly substantial online.

Of course, these battles over carriage and retransmission fees are not new. In fact, they are quite common in today’s television landscape. As are salary disputes, even though the Modern Family cast’s recent threat of litigation added a new, more intense spin to that typical industry tale. (Usually things don't go that far; there might be no-shows at table reads or something, but suing typically doesn't happen... and of course it didn't here, ultimately.) All around the television industry, in corners of the medium’s world that most of us don’t pay much attention to, there is anarchy. Here’s just a short breakdown of a few big things that have been happening lately:

– “Cord-cutting,” or ditching any cable package, is somehow both growing and declining, according to conflicting Wall Street Journal and Variety reports.

– Multi-screen television viewing, or “TV everywhere” (think websites like HBOGO that require you to log in with your cable credentials to gain access to content) is poised for a big year, say various analysts.

Hulu is now on Apple TV, but HBO doesn’t want to work with Netflix.

– The Senate is revisiting a 20-year old piece of legislation related to cable retransmissions fees (the fees distributors must pay to broadcasters for their content), which could reshape future scuffles like the ones mentioned above.

Comcast and the FCC are fighting over the former’s decision to move The Tennis Channel to a different tier on its cable package.

– Abroad, the largest Indian news network has sued Nielsen over what it views as ratings fraud.

I could go on forever, because these sorts of stories, about business matters or the technical side of television viewing, come to light every day. We tend to only notice them when it oppresses our ability to watch what we want to watch in some way—like with the DirecTV and AMC news—but if there is one word that best describes the state of the television industry, from production to distribution to promotion, it is probably "disarray."


Content providers struggle to monetize

In an era where technology makes it unbelievably great to be a television viewer—we can access content on multiple “non-traditional” platforms at basically any time and discuss or share that content with fellow viewers even easier—the people and factions who bring us our favorite shows are still struggling to figure out how this is all going to work, and more importantly, where the money is going to come from.

Network, media company, and advertising executives are still asking themselves how to properly monetize online streaming. In the case of DirecTV and Viacom and DISH and AMC, those struggles are now re-shaping business relationships between cable providers and content providers. And in a related issue, many of these factions are in agreement that the Nielsen ratings are flawed and out-of-date, but no one is especially sure what could replace them, or if current applications like Get Glue or Miso feature the beginnings of the answer.*

* One of the things that drives me nuts about the ratings discussion is that we know next to nothing. You have to imagine that the networks and studios work with the likes of Hulu and Netflix to get EXACT streaming figures that they can then pitch to advertisers in some way as part of a larger purchasing package. They know. We don’t. It's proprietary information, I get that. But let’s stop pretending that the Nielsen ratings are the only thing that matter in 2012.

To be fair, there has been a great deal of technological innovation and economic upheaval in the television industry over the last decade, and those seismic moves are still happening today, as the various news stories linked above point out. While we can all probably agree about wanting to do away with the Nielsen ratings, I struggle to come up with a logical, concrete plan to replace them. The fact that we have DVR-related ratings is a good start.

Still, though, the disarray out there is slowly beginning to impact us more and more. Certain networks like AMC or Comedy Central get removed from our cable or satellite packages. The price of cable is on the rise. Fox has stopped allowing anyone who's not either a DISH or a Hulu Plus subscriber to view its content online the day after it airs. There are always complaints to be found with what can or cannot be streamed on Hulu or Netflix, or purchased on iTunes or Amazon. Yes, these complaints are silly in the grand scheme of “real” important things in the world, but to major TV fans, they exist.

With that in mind, it’s very easy to think about us, the viewers, as the victims. We could view the networks, studios, production companies, and advertisers as petty, money-hungry power-players, screwing us out of access to content we rightfully paid for. However, I regularly wonder if we are, on some level, the architects of our own demise here. Did we cause these problems for ourselves?



What we've done, and what we can do

The increase in piracy and DVR-usage has played a big role in the creation of online streaming channels and portals. If (and I’m obviously generalizing here and not advocating any piracy-related behavior) we were going to steal things or record them for later, ultimately avoiding any of the typical formalities of the television-viewing experience (like watching live, with commercials), the industry had to give us Hulu and work with Netflix, Amazon, and Apple to make television commercially viable again.

Similarly, now that we have those other non-traditional outlets like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes, there’s perhaps less of a desire to pay somewhere around $75 a month for cable service. Even if you’re not a pirate and you understand television’s business model, being able to pay a much smaller monthly fee, or even an episodic fee, is very appealing. Cord-cutting, despite the confusion over whether or not it is on the rise, is most certainly part of the contemporary relationship between viewers and television.

And you know what happens when people stop subscribing to cable or satellite providers, and the people who do are likely watching lots of that content on delay anyway (and thus not seeing the ads that were unavoidable during the live airing)? The profit margins decrease for networks, studios, and the cable/satellite operators—which, as you might guess, leads to squabbles over who pays what to whom, and the buck (literally) gets passed back to us, the viewers.

Obviously, this isn’t entirely our fault. We are not all pirates, and we shouldn’t be scolded for using technologies and services like DVRs, Hulu, et al. that were simply provided to us as viewers and consumers. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, I find myself feeling sympathetic (in a minor way) to the issues facing the television industry today, and while it is easy to get caught up in how those issues negatively shape or alter my enjoyment of television, I also recognize that the television is always changing and those running it are just trying to keep it going.

I’m not encouraging you to watch all your television live and to never skip through the commercials, or suggesting that you feel sorry for major media conglomerates trying to find additional revenue streams to turn millions into billions. But I do believe that we need to be more cognizant of our place in this multi-faceted process taking place at a confusing time. We as viewers want to have our voices heard and our tastes quantified when our favorite shows struggle in the Nielsen ratings. We should also know, then, that we cannot shy away from the influence our collective action has had on the television industry. There is no real blame here, but we as viewers have it pretty good in 2012, and the things that frustrate us are, at least somewhat, a product of our own choices and habits.



Cory Barker is a co-founder of This Was Television and the founder of TVSurveillance.com. Follow him on Twitter: @corybarker.

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If Dish does not bring back AMC where I watch The Walking Dead and The Killing I WILL switch providers. I have had them for over 4 years but I was married for 10 years and got divorced and got re-married so if Dish feels "IT IS WHAT IT IS", they better realize when they go bankrupt that "IT WAS WHAT IT WAS"!!!!!!
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AMC and DISH are in a legal battle right now. AMC is trying to get 2.4 billion in damages so I can not imagine that we will be seeing DISH and AMC playing nice for a very long time. Even after this is settled in court, one side is going to be very bitter. Here is an article from Forbes witch talks mostly about the financial side but when there is that much money involved there is a lot at stake. http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2012/09/24/dishs-legal-battle-with-amc-could-weigh-on-its-near-term-outlook/

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I would love to be able to call my provider and pay for only the channels that I actually watch. I hate having to go up a "tier" and pay more because they include one channel that I actually watch in the most expense plan. Then I'm stuck with 50 channels that only show junk.



And now they presume to know what's best for me and how they are "looking out for me" by refusing to pay for AMC or Comedy Central. Both companies are making a lot of money. I'm just trying to watch Tosh.O and Breaking Bad and hope I can pay my TV bill next month.



I understand what you are saying, but I can't taking any blame in this. Not when I'm paying upwards of $150 to watch 10 channels out of 500.
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I so agree with you. I'm furious that I'm missing Breaking Bad right now. I've been paying $90 a month just to get BBC America and AMC, because Dish doesn't offer those channels at the lower tiers (I also get HBO). So let me get this straight -- my cable provider dropped AMC rather than pay an extra fifty cents on my behalf, when I'm already paying them $90 a month? And this is MY FAULT?!
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Content creators are trying, but only in the sense that they're trying to construct barely-acceptable limitations around their content, thinking that this is the only way they'll be able to monetize it. Coming from someone who likes to view his content on various devices, its frustrating to objectively look at all the offerings and conclude that a pirated copy would be the only thing that would satisfy my requirements. The music industry went through these growing pains a few years ago, and the end result is that every major distribution currently sells unhindered, DRM-free files. And *gasp* they still make money because many people want an easy solution for acquiring this content as opposed to dealing with all the risks and annoyances that pirated content can bring about. Like the music industry before them, video content creators 1) are still holding on to archaic, outdated distribution and creation models and 2) will eventually realize that making it harder for customers to enjoy your content is not the solution.



Comedians like Louie CK, Jim Gaffigan, and the RiffTrax crew are popularizing the concept of DRM-free video content sold directly to their audiences, and all have experienced success (and I have paid for content from all three). Granted, the model will be different with episodic content as opposed to comedy specials and movies, but I have to believe that with Amazon already selling HD episodes for $2, content providers should be able to do the same, maybe giving a subsidy to those who already paid for the content via cable/satellite fees. Right now, users have the choice between buying an episode from iTunes or Amazon for $2 and being unable to play it on many unsupported devices (or even being limited within the device by not being able to send the video signal to an external HDMI connector) or downloading a pirated copy that they can play on every device they own, it's not surprising that many choose the latter.



Content creators have this idea that as soon as they make DRM-free media available, everyone is going to immediately start sharing. First, I would say that's already happening online, but second, with the on-demand mindset of most users, many won't wait until the next time they see a friend to exchange media with a ~300MB to 4.5GB file on it. They'd rather click a button, spend a buck or two, and come back in an hour or so to watch it. The easier you make the content to buy/use, the more people will buy it from you. As you add more limitations/hoops, the more people start looking for alternatives.
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Online streaming numbers would be fascinating to see... but Get Glue numbers would only reveal how many people really like stickers.
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Over the years network shows have gotten shorter allowing more and more commercials. A full third (or more) of all time spent watching TV is now just viewing those annoying ads for the hundredth time (not to mention blatant product placement within the shows themselves). I understand the need for it to pay for all of the over-priced actor/actresses on them, but that doesn't mean that I'm willing to sacrifice 1/3 of my time paying for it, nor am I willing to pay more for an item that's a "brand name" just because they advertise it on TV. I spend 2 hours a night watching 3 hours of the previous night's television, with no ads. I may not see it when it's first broadcast but I still see it. Personally speaking, I pay for the internet and cable TV and I should be allowed to view either of them the way I want, in my case, avoiding as many advertisements as I possibly can.

People may say it's my way of thinking that will destroy the industry, but guess what...people have been saying that for years. Cassette tape recorders were going to "destroy" the music industry. VCR's were going to "destroy" television viewing. CD/DVD recorders were going to "destroy" the sales of pre-recorded discs. Each time the effected industry found a way to compensate for it and come out stronger, usually by buying into and increasing the marketing and sales of the "so-called" destructive device. As consumers we will always find a way to view/listen to whatever we want. As with any business, it's up to them to listen to us and conform to changes, or fall to the wayside and allow something else to take it's place.
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I think that eventually we'll have access to a number of different types of services that gets us the TV we want to watch. I envision a system where, like now, the studios sell their shows directly to the cable companies (bypassing the networks), but also sell their shows directly to services like iTunes, Hulu, and Netflix.



Networks, as we know them now, will die. They're an old form of service that no longer fits into today's technology. Cable companies will buy the shows directly from the studios, then show them on genre specific channels. You'll flip through about a hundred channels or so that will be called: News, Romantic Comedy, Family Comedy, Action, Thrillers, Adventure, Vampire (aka Bad Television), Reality (aka Really Bad Television), etc. So, when you pay for a Cable subscription you're getting just content, no networks. But, if you'd rather just pay the the shows you watch, then you can buy directly from services like iTunes and Amazon. There, you'll only pay for the shows you watch. Or, if you want cheap variety, you'll pay a small amount for services like Hulu or Netflix and get great shows that may or may not be a season or two behind.



Basically, Networks are dead. Their whole purpose was to be a middle man in the early days of television. They bought the shows, then broadcast them on their specific channel. So, lets cut out the middle man and pay for the content directly.
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Don't forget the networks have their own studios too.



Keep in mind, over the air networks are needed for those without cable/satellite/internet or unable to receive it in their area or afford those services. Until everyone is wired and able to pay for it, networks will continue. It's necessary.



Studios can create shows and have their own website for viewing and/or downloading to own, which could include eventual DVD options/offerings for entire seasons. There is your cutting out the network and cable middle men, but see the first two points.



Cable, at least Comcast, has On Demand, which is like Hulu only through cable. Hulu doesn't carry CBS programming, but On Demand does. I could see a move to offer programming through this method where you pay a cable fee to receive it plus for a tuner box and then paying a per episode fee or maybe a season pass for shows. That is unless they sell advertising to offer these shows for free or to supplement costs. Those channels you mentioned would simply be categories On Demand.



That brings us to the issue of a show's production costs and how much we would need to pay to cover their expense to make it profitable factoring in possible ad supplementation to alleviate that cost to us. Also, the more venues that offer the shows beyond cable, the less it may cost us too, so Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, etc. would help there not to mention those still needed networks. Here we begin returning to where we started though.



Stars of shows truly need to be smacked back financially in order for shows to be more affordable for all. $70,000 an episode just for the kids on Modern Family? Where is the money for that alone going to come from let alone the higher salaries of the adult actors plus writers, directors, set people, camera people, costumes, etc.? Getting a strict handle on that needs to be done in some way to bring actors down to the real world of making a product then selling it for a price that covers costs plus a reasonable profit. Your show would then succeed or fail depending on how desired and enjoyed that product is. if it fails, so be it. I would love to know what the average cost of a procedural drama is or that of a half hour comedy is.



All this is complicated, obviously, but something needs to be done soon.
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An argument could be made that child actors should make a lifetime's earnings during their shows run, because no one wil ever take them seriously again. Imagine if Urkel were your manager at Wendy's. You're not taking that guy seriously. He can never have a career in any field. Adult actors definitely make too much though. In other countries, I hear TV personalities have normal lives in normal apartments making vaguely normal wages.
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though there are some significant exceptions...

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Natalie Portman

Seth Green

Christina Ricci

all come to mind...if you got back a generation you could consider the likes of Kurt Russell or Jodi Foster...



There are even some child actors that went through a trouble period with drugs only to end up relatively ok on the other side like Drew Barrymore...



Or how about the child actors that went through a period of not being taken seriously only to somehow achieve a level of ultra geek respect like Wil Wheaton or Neil Patrick Harris.



...but by and large you're basically right on.
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They are really idiots since they should know that so many people know how to get the shows no matter what. Nothing like those media heads wanting to crush piracy and then do things to force people towards it, haha.
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Obviously product placement must be battling the loss of income that comes from piracy/DVR. The CW must get paid a decent amount to place AT&T android phones in the hands of the upper east siders and 1000 year old original vampires. - like they wouldn't have iPhones.



Apple won't pay for product placement - and so television networks suspend reality (obviously in the case of the Vampire Diaries reality is already suspended)



Apple products routinely have the apple logo covered up when no one is available to pay for the privilege of having their product featured on a sitcom.



There is still plenty of money to be made with the new formats - television isn't going away any time soon.
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What's going on right now is a market correction. There is original programming on Hulu and Youtube just getting started. Fans are crowdfunding creative projects on kickstarter and indiegogo. Just as Napster was the death throes of the CD industry before iTunes, streaming sites are the first death throes of the broadcast/cable industry. Old time distribution models are over, and these companies will realize their service isn't valuable anymore, and they will provide a better service, lower their prices, or go out of business. For 90% of the companies involved, probably the last one. Before newspapers started going under, they also tried inflating their prices hugely, or charging for online subscriptions. Now, every newspaper is online, and print editions come out rarely, and they figured out how to sell advertising on the Internet. In the process, some companies went under and some people lost their jobs while the industry figured out how to adjust. Welcome to the free market.
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Great points. I think the media producers will figure it out. We might just need to be patient.
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Wow, I read all that for what - by the end - feels like an anti piracy anti technology psa...why did I read this drek? ...and who are you shilling for writing it? Must be big content.



As others have said it is NOT our fault that technology "happened" and dinosaurs that use to have it too good are in jeopardy of going extinct because they can't adapt.



The crux of the problem here is Big Content want us to pay more, but cable providers know if they increase fees anymore (which are simply WAY too high) they'll lose more and more subscribers.



What amazes me most is that AMC isn't on Dish and yet AMC wants you to blame Dish. Try make us believe they're the bad guy when AMC is asking for more money that would just be passed along. Now, it's true our bill should go down when Dish stops broadcasting AMC and it doesn't - so Dish isn't innocent in it but AMC is much more to blame.



It's a similar situation in my area where you can't get the NFL Network on Time Warner Cable because the NFL is greedy. Period.

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It's important to remember that while we use this website and the atmosphere is generally friendly (love the reviewers!), it's owned by CBS Interactive. For all intents and purposes, this website IS Big Content, and it shouldn't surprise us when they try to slip in propaganda occasionally.
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We can hope for it to be less overt.
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LOL. It's not propaganda, nor is it anti-technology. If you read the piece again, I said that we should be free to use the technology we have, but our choices impact them just as theirs impact us. It's a two-way street, that's the whole point.
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Off-air digital is the way to go. Free HD TV without compression.



And what you miss you can always download from the station's websites.
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People need to face the hard reality that the ENTIRE television structure is outdated. People don't want to pay cable/satellite services $100 a month for a bunch of channels they don't want, they don't want to watch most of the programming on the channels they do watch, and they don't feel the need to watch most programs "live". The network system needs to go the way of the dinosaurs. Television needs to be moved onto a completely "pay-per-view" type structure.
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an ala carte option is what EVERYONE wants...but we'll simply never get it.
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We have it. That's basically what Netflix, Hulu, streaming sites, and pirating is. We just have this dead weight of the networks holding back progress.
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No we don't, the breadth of content on Netflix and Hulu are still greatly stunted. If you enjoy current tv seriously Netflix is laughable and Hulu has gaping holes. That's on top of safibwana's comment about how it's still a subscription service that gives you a bunch of stuff you don't want and misses many obvious things you do.
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Netflix and Hulu are still packages, just different packages. The only things that really lets you pick is paying by the episode on iTunes and Amazon.
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Well, the current situation with DirecTV and CBS in Memphis is that we might lose CBS starting tomorrow. It is the same situation as DirecTV had with Viacom. I am tired of this. After paying out the rear for programming, the customer always gets screwed over.
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You make some valid points, but I still say we the viewers are getting screwed royally. The major cable outlet are controlled by a few companies, yet the price gauge us to death. I always ask my fellow NYC residents if they could imagine EVERY neighborhood being wired so we could choose between all cable companies?



No one would have a bill higher than forty dollars because the cable companies would be forced to fight for our viewership/money. As it is you can call Time Warner and tell them you're leaving for Direct TV and vice versa, and they will offer you a deal to stay.



Not to mention all the misc "fees" that get added and show up on our bill.
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We're *definitely* feeling the brunt of all this disarray, which sucks. It'd be nice if they could figure things out faster, but the consumer is always going to be screwed in some way. We can resist -- i.e. piracy and cord-cutting -- but the same numbers of people who do that then make it worse for those of us who don't.
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I absolutely reject this notion that "the consumer is always going to be screwed in some way". That implies that we might as well accept it and grab our ankles, and that it's just the natural order of things. We only get screwed if we collectively allow it. And a spokesman for "Big Content" who, in essence, tells us we should just lay back and enjoy it (or somebody else will be even more violated) is to be despised.
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So much to be said here. Somewhere in my head is the basis for book on it, but unfortunately I don't have the resources or time to do it.



Some suggestions that would make me happy:



Networks owners need to consolidate their channels. Right now, it's spread out too thin watering everything down. NBC/GE/Comcast should have given priority to NBC itself and develop shows like Monk, Suits, Royal Pains and Eureka to have on its own network, as well as what they've been offering now. Maybe one or more of these would have been a hit there anyway, let alone on USA. USA should have been made a reality network with wrestling, America's Got Talent, Real Housewives, Top Chef, The Voice, and similar programming. Why is Bravo the reality based network? Who yells, "Bravo!" for those housewives? It's stupid. The now increasing reality programming from SyFy could go on USA as well. I could see doing away with both Bravo and SyFy and just develop the best scripted and reality for just NBC and USA regardless of genre.



ABC/Disney could do the same consolidation. Disney could combine XD and Disney Jr. into one complete Disney based station for all ages while premiering new, family based stuff during primetime.



Theoretically, if not common sense, doing this by everyone overall squeezes the audience to fewer stations increasing ad revenue by having more viewers. More income could mean higher budgets for shows and therefore better quality, which viewers could enjoy and support more. Less is more here. Could this also lead to lower cable/dish rates with fewer channels to navigate through?



I, for one, am really bothered by networks harassing viewers to watch their shows only to vandalize the very shows they want us to watch with those assinine pop-ups promoting other shows that block as much as half the screen or by some networks, like Cartoon, who do needles countdown clocks in the corner. These push you out of a program and keep you from being drawn in (or back in from a break) to its story, atmosphere, mood, etc. It's more aggravating when the networks do this immediately before or after having an actual commercial for that very show. More so when they do it twice during one single act of a show. I truly wish people would be more furious over this and let the networks know it and demand it be stopped. Why would you pay your cable fees to have networks basically deliver damaged goods? It's not unlike that idiotic pop-out at the bottom of the articles here on TV.Com. Those shows are OUR time, leave us alone! The networks have their time to raise revenue and promote their shows. How they do this is their problem. I also wish the talent involved creating these programs would be mad enough to let the network know and stop it by standing up for their work. If this were stopped, I would happily watch shows live with commercials, as it used to be. I mostly watch Hulu or On Demand to get away from that. Unfortunately, Hulu has commercial issues primarily regarding the near sickening repetition of insurance, car, and credit card commercials that needs to be addressed there.



Right now, I am trying to decide if I wish to cancel cable altogether and go Netflix and Hulu. I have an HD box and am paying over $100 a month. I had a good one-year deal for less that expired recently. I currently have a HD tuner box that I pay a fee for. What I would wish is that the cable company could deliver just a digital signal, doing away with the standard signals, and hook me up through this outdoor unit, as they use to, rather than the remote authorization now required through the box and let my HDTV do the tuning. Better yet, why not just offer customers who have no desire for premium channels and/or On Demand a little box that can receive that authorization and simply pass the signal on to my TV? Those who do want the extras or who need a converter could get the tuner box. Maybe that could help lessen cable costs? Could cable and dish companies do away with standard signal and go fully digital? Would this lessen the traffic signals, simplify things, and maybe lessen costs too?



I will be unhappy if I can no longer watch Hulu because I need a cable subscription. Also, should Comcast be allowed Xfinity, if they are also partnered with Hulu??? Or the other way around?



These are just some things off top of head, but I think could start improving things for us, let alone the networks.
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This is a difficult one. Everyone has become used to the notion that they can have what they want then and there, and "On-demand" is becoming something people perceive as a right. Streaming and downloading offer people this, as they can watch what they like, when they like, without interruptions of ads if they so wish. And if all this can be done for a low price of just paying an internet service provider, then why wouldnt they avail of it?

In Ireland where I live, we pay a TV licence fee of 170 per year, and have access to around 9 "free-to-air" channels. With the switchover to digital that is now increasing to around 50 channels, most of which are pure crap and will never be watched. of the 9 main channels I have grown up with, 5 of them are British, and broadcast mostly original British programming, which is of quite high quality. Some of these channels buy US series, and recently they have been broadcasting them only a month to six weeks after airing in the US. The Irish channels, however, are woefully behind, broadcasting US shows 1-2 years after airing in the US. The original Irish programming is pretty dire, so these channels are rarely watched. I am paying a licence fee to have the privilige of watching programmes made in a different country, paid for by its citizens. My money goes to the state broadcaster, who continues to make horrendous unwatchable shows. If I wanted other channels which had more up to date programming, I would have to pay a subscription fee to a cable or satellite tv provider. None of that money goes to a TV network to make the original entertaining programming I am watching.

So rather than go through all this BS, have TV channels I have no interest in watching, AND having to pay for them into the bargain, why wouldnt I just pay to have an internet connection, where I can stream some British channels on their own websites, or just download or stream things at my leisure? In recessionary times, and post the boom we had experienced the last decade or so, TV watching has become so engrained in our lives that at this stage it comes down to "cheap/free", and "right now".

Simple as.
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Amen...if not for Hockey and baseball I wouldn't even have cable....and the day my provider gets rid of the whole download cap BS I wont even need it for that cause I can just stream those online
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As a DISH customer I had AMC leaving me emails encouraging me to switch to DirecTV with their assistance. Cable is not an option where we live. What recourse as a viewer do we have?

And most important can I find a neighbor how has AMC before the zombies arise.
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If you download an episode or a season of a TV show instead of watching it on TV or the channel's website, why does that make you a pirate? I understand that this makes you an "invisible" viewer, but you wouldn't pay a cent either with the other methods.
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Do you not pay a TV license fee or cable company, or satellite company or whatever a fee for a TV service? You pay money to watch on the tv. If you watch on their site, the money you paid in your monthly bill or license fee goes to maintain that site. If you download, you paid money to your internet service provider, but none of that goes to the people who made that TV show, or anyone connected to TV services.
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The major networks don't require a fee to watch.
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Lucky you!
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Well, the CW is not available as a broadcast channel in quite every market. but close. Also, with at least one cable network having more viewers than 2-3 of the major networks, it is debatable that "major" means "major" anymore, or, to the extent that it does, will for much longer. You know, like how the "big three" auto makers are no longer the biggest three auto makers.
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Lucky me? Anyone (in the US at least) can get CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and CW (as well as PBS, but who watches that?) for free on their televisions.

Sure, that doesn't address the issues of pirating and cable-only shows, but it does illustrate the advantages of offering their services without stupid bundled cable packages. I'm not going to spend $100 a month on a cable fee just to watch ESPN and have the option of watching HBO and other premium channels. I would, however, consider spending $20 for access to the three or four extra channels I do watch.
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You mean if you download it from iTunes or Amazon? If you do that, you're not a "pirate," you're a paying customer. But if you take it from Pirate Bay, you're stealing. I'll be the first to admit that I've pirated material, so don't think I'm on a high horse here. But it is what it is.
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What he means is that he's not actually taking anything from the network. Assuming he doesn't own a Nielsen box, no one would ever know whether he watched it live or pirated it. His decision hasn't impacted the revenue stream of the network in any way. The counter-argument of "yea but if everyone did that..." is extremely flawed, so please don't try to use it.
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In a free-enterprise society (and the jury is out as to whether America will continue to meet that definition), the customers try to get their product as cheaply as possible. An industry that continues to use outdated models, and rely on a ratings system that NOBODY believes anymore simply can not, to any meaningful level, be blamed on the customers. Boo hoo to the entertainment companies for the difficulty that improved technology has caused, but damnit, catch up!
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Thank you. I would add that the TV -, Movie- and Musik Industry were (and still are) billion-dollar industries and you could assume that some guys with brains are employed. Still they refused for twenty years to accept that times are changing and so that they would have to react to new technologies. I understand that it is very hard to establish new ways of buissness now but that is entirely on them. Latecomers will be punished by life and blaming the customers is just saying "I'm too stupid to run a buissness".
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I agree that they should catch up. But they're trying.
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Cory, I really DON'T think they're trying to catch up. They've been fighting tooth and nail to legislate so they don't have to catch up, and any progress they've made has been due to realizing they're not succeeding in penning in their customer base through law. Meanwhile, other more enterprising competition has sprung up, and the entertainment industry has done all it can to squash their only hope for a future. This "piracy" didn't start with digital downloads. The industry started fighting when they tried to criminalize recording shows on VCRs! They lost that battle and have been losing ever since. Don't give me "they're trying". That's bulls**t.
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If they weren't trying, Hulu and Netflix wouldn't even exist. They're certainly jockeying for position and trying to get as much money as possible, but they're still trying.
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Problem is when piracy of tv shows is the option with the service for the viewer. When you live in countries where the US networks refuse to sell their shows until 1 year after having aired in the US they really leave no choice. Most networks wont even allow you to watch it via their own pay streams and whatever.



Besides as long as pirating offer you the best service and quality of the shows (watch when YOU want to watch it, HD quality better than that of the streaming services and no pesky ads to interrupt you) then it's really the networks' fault that they fail to keep up with the times.



Luckily in Scandinavia its not legal for networks to interrupt shows with ads, unluckily we get all shows one year late so it doesn't really matter
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But they are trying to keep up. I can't change your mind, but piracy is piracy.
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Well, no, actually, only once they start selling the show in that market is that true. Let's take a show that has aired in the UK, but has not been made available to a US market, like say, Hotel Babylon (I'm assuming BBC America never showed this drek). Let's say that digital distribution of that fails to meet the requirements of "fair use". Fine, now you have to ask this question : "If the use were widespread, and the use were not fair, would the copyright owner be losing money?" If the answer is that no money would be lost by the copyright holder (because no one is selling it in America), then the answer is that it is still not a violation of copyright and so not piracy. Once you start dealing with different markets, the law is very much in favor of the user. It is very much the same as out of print books.
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But if you steal it before it reaches your market, then you're less likely to pay for it when it does. So you've eliminated that choice. I see what you're saying, but it's definitely a gray area that you can spin depending on what your view is.
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Its a whole legal specialty. Each case has to be decided on its own merits. I picked Hotel Babylon because not only is there no market, there will never be a market (its been off the air a number of years). For something like Misfits, the legality during the 3 years before it reached Logo is a lot harder to argue (also Hulu makes that harder). But basically, I was just saying that there are situations under which copying out of market media is not piracy. The world is smaller than it used to be so there are some situations where it is. It's just a lot more complicated than "piracy is piracy".
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I'm a pirate (hmm, that sounds kind of badass).
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it sounded more badass the first time.

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Haha! I must have accidentally double clicked. Yeah, that doesn't help my (already questionable) badass credibility.
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It's okay. Allison Argent also has questionable and inconsistent badassery, so you're in good company.
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I'm a pirate (hmm, that sounds kind of badass).
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A very well written article that overall lacked any sort of real message. All of these issues are brought up and the blame that we as Television viewers have to own and accept is mentioned. Then instead of giving a suggestion on how to do something about you just end the article. Great points are made here but they ultimately go nowhere .
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Just curious: What do you think we should do? If you read again, I'm not saying that we are *actually* to blame (provocative headline aside), but we've played a role. I think that's ultimately my point. I'm not in a place to say THIS IS WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD DO, because people can do what they want. I just think we should consider our actions a bit more.
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I wasn't so much turned off by the Provacative headline, I was more upset by the heading of your final paragraph: "What we've done and What we can do." I would be more than willing to accept a majority share of the blame in what is wrong with television, because I am intelligent enough to rationalize my actions to other people and at the end of the day in order to fall asleep at night I need to be able to look at all the things I have done and still be able to live with myself. You know why I wouldn't feel bad about having literally thousands of shows on several portable hard drives at home, because at one point in time every single one of those shows could have been recorded onto my DVR. From there I could have easily transferred that video file onto my computer and then converted it to a file format that I can use on my computer, PS3, iPhone, et al. Not only that I could easily buy a TV Tuner for my computer and record in real time in order to watch the show when I want to. Truth is a lot of the time this work has already been done by someone else on the internet, so I wouldn't even have to waste my own time to complete this task in order to watch what I want to watch on my own time. Since a lot of the shows that this is done to are broadcast for free over the air, then I see no problem with capturing those signals and compiling them into watchable format later on down the road. For the ones that aren't available over the air but only with a cable subscription then yes I can understand issue if you are pirating them still its an easy viable solution.



What I've just detailed is the "illegal" route you can take to watch television on your schedule. Luckily this doesn't have to be the case because of Hulu, Crackle, Netflix. There are now a number of ways to legally watch shows on your own schedule. I am aware that you are aware of these options because I read your article. What I fail to comprehend is how its my fault that these legal ways to stream this content exist. I do not host these websites, I do not negotiate the licensing rights for what can and can not be streamed, I do not meet with advertisers to convince them why marketing with each service is a smart idea, and, perhaps most importantly, I do not get a part of the profit these services yield. What I do do when I use one of these services is watch the television program and sit through the ads that come as a part of watching via such services. If I am to be villified for watching television in this scenario, which is basically what you are suggesting, then why would I take part it in when is an easy, viable, and free solution that offers television faster and with better quality.



Now yes I basically just resummurized your argument, but I felt it was necessary for me to answer you question which is what would I recommend we do about it. Ironically enough you are in a position to say "THIS IS WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD DO" in fact we all are, Me, my Mother, the guy without teeth that stands by the coffee shop and asks for spare change. We all live in America and we can all say whatever it is we want. Not only that but once we've said something everybody else has the choice to either listen to or ignore what we are saying. This is why when you name the last section of an article you are posting to be read on a public forum and you include "what we should do about it" in the title, you need to say something, offer something. Not just say the problem and subtlely suggest that we should more aware of the consequences of our actions. Even if you suggested a modest proposal then you would have been delivering on what you claimed to be offering. That is my problem with the article that you offered, it is nothing but a fantastic summary of the world of TV consumption today. If you're going to ask me to shoulder some of the blame for how the corporate people who are still making money hand over fist then don't just tell me what it is that they are doing wrong and expect me to go "Wow, I can totally see how NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, etc allowing me to watch shows on my time, is precisely the reason why they are making a little bit less money in their multi-billion dollar industry. I better stop taking advantage of the services that they are offering without me asking for them and maybe then they'll realize that they should stop the offering." I'm sorry that's just not how this industry works.



Yet still I will offer a suggestion as to what you the little guy who waits until Friday to watch Futurama's new episode on demand can do in order to fix this problem. First and foremost we should stop pirating televison. Despite my argument to the contrary this is the major issue that television is currently facing. Does that suck for the people who can't watch things in real time yes, yes it does. I worked on a cruise ship for a year and everybody I worked with would pirate televisin so that when they found a few brief moments when they weren't working they could catch up on the shows that they were missing. It would be a real shame if they had to wait and try and track down the television they missed when they got back on land at the end of their contract. Plus if they are watching after the fact their viewing numbers really won't matter because ratings really only care about the first night airing. Yes piracy is a big problem and its not one that would be difficult for the masses to stop doing, especially since these shows are now offered in many legal formats with affordable pricing. Step One we stop piracy.



That's honestly all we can do. Changing the rating system so that every viewer counts and not just those with Nielsen boxes, factoring in online streaming, and considering purchases of the media. All of those things fall on the networks to impliment, not on me. The only thing that we can do is stop "stealing" television. If the people providing it are going to provide it in a multitude of ways in order for the viewer to choose their time and place of consumption but not monitor how many people take advantage of this privaledge is foolish and bad business that we as consumer's should not have to consider at all when we choose our preferred method of viewing.



If we really want to actually make a change though to the television landscape, then my recommendation is we kill all the streaming and then the DVR's, we make is so that people have to actually plan their lives around the schedule provided by the television stations again. If Big Bang Theory is on at 8:00 PM on Thursday and so is Community I would have to make the difficult choice between watching one or the other. If I want to watch Once Upon a Time then I'm going to have to be available Sunday night and consciously ignore the Animation Domination block on Fox. If the television networks are only going to care about when a show is watched the first time then they should completely get rid of any other way of watching it. Its that simple.



Finally, I would like to address Dish Network dropping AMC because it seems to have been the impedous behind your article. I personally have nothing but respect from them. AMC is going to up the cost of retransmitting their networks and if Dish were to just bend over and take it then what would be stopping AMC from raising them again. Yes, Dish may lose subscribers, but clearly they weighed the options and made the difficult choice. They should not be crucified for standing up to a bully, they should be honoured. We need to stop thinking that AMC is some sort of god just because they gave us Mad Men and the Walking Dead. They clearly can't afford these shows so they have to fill the rest of their airwaves with cheap easy to produce reality television and even then they still have the chutzpah to demand more money on the back of well Mad Men and Walking Dead are popular shows people will be upset if you don't offer our services. Fact is those people who are upset will be able to find other ways to watch their shows, be it legal or illegal.



Alright that may have turned out longer than I intended, but I felt a bit attacked by how you reacted to the criticism I offered. I think its great that you responded, I welcome such interaction between author and reader. Still I will not sign on and read a response where you are essentially tearing me down for having an opinion and then suggest I reread your article as if I didn't understand it. If you're going to put something on the internet you need to be ready to deal with criticism from those who may read it. Which initially from me was that you wrote a great article but you didn't deliver on what you promised.
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