Big Four Networks Sue Locast

osu1991

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Big Four Broadcast Networks Sue Locast In Effort To Block Its Local TV Streams – Deadline

The four major U.S. broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — have joined together to file a lawsuitagainst Locast, a non-profit organization that enables local TV streams.

Locast is accused of attempting to gather customer data and advance commercial interests, despite presenting itself as a non-profit “Robin Hood of television,” the suit maintains. Its “founding, funding and operations reveal its decidedly commercial purposes,” according to the complaint.

The suit, which aims to block Locast’s streams of local signals, was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.
 

CyberSpock

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I was using it, then the one station I wanted started stuttering. So I paid the 5 dollars and it didn't get any better. I found out the next month I have to stop monthly billing on PayPal. I bet this is non-profit only on the books.

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Zookster

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I would hold off on making any further donations.

Networks Sue to Stop Streaming Service Offering Free TV Feeds

The four major broadcast networks have filed a suit in federal court to shut down Locast, a nonprofit streaming service funded in part by AT&T Inc. T +0.41% and founded by a Dish Network Corp. DISH -2.92% lobbyist that offers their feeds to subscribers for no charge.

CBS Corp. , Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, Comcast Corp. ’s NBCUniversal and Fox Corp. argue that Locast is retransmitting the signals of their local TV stations without permission, in violation of copyright law. The fees that broadcasters receive from pay TV distributors have become crucial to their long-term survival, and there is concern that if Locast grows in popularity, it could cut into that revenue stream. . . .

Full article from WSJ.
 

Juan

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How fast is your internet connection?
I was using it, then the one station I wanted started stuttering. So I paid the 5 dollars and it didn't get any better. I found out the next month I have to stop monthly billing on PayPal. I bet this is non-profit only on the books.

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Tampa8

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My thinking is the Networks will win. I never saw a difference between it being non-profit or not, you still are providing a signal of programming owned by someone else. And it dilutes the negotiations with providers if the provider can say we won't pay and then tells their customers where to get it for free in the cities Locast serves.
Ironically that is what At&t and DISH are saying, programming is available from the networks themselves OTA free for many, in some cases for free online, or like in the case of CBS some is free otherwise available for $5.99. From the provider perspective why pay higher prices that have to be spread to all subscribers (Or end up with different prices for each market) when the Networks have now provided viable alternatives.
 
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CyberSpock

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How fast is your internet connection?

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25 Megabit. It was only one station. The other ones were fine. It was H&I in the Philidelphia area because on my New York Dish line up WZME H&I was sold to Jimmy Swaggart but still is "H&I" in name only.

I called and asked Dish if they'd please add H&I Philidelphia for the programming but they never did. I live between NY and Phili and get some OTA from both areas.

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Zookster

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I've heard complaints that Locast has been making "donations" practically mandatory by constantly interrupting programming with ad prompts for it. So not exactly "free" the same way getting the content OTA would be.
 

buckeyebrian

SatelliteGuys Family
Greedy Network affiliates strike again! They should focus on AD revenue instead of outrageous carriage fees. Getting more potential viewers by any means adds value for AD/Commercial time.....and network programming is getting shorter every year as more commercials are inserted into each 30 and 60 minute program. Also, if these stations don't want to provide their programming to their local area without imposing a fee the law needs to be changed to allow companies to provide a East and West Coast feed of the major networks for individuals who cannot receive them with a OTA antenna.
 

NYDutch

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25 Megabit. It was only one station. The other ones were fine. It was H&I in the Philidelphia area because on my New York Dish line up WZME H&I was sold to Jimmy Swaggart but still is "H&I" in name only.

I called and asked Dish if they'd please add H&I Philidelphia for the programming but they never did. I live between NY and Phili and get some OTA from both areas.

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If your service address is in the NYC DMA, Dish cannot legally supply a Philadelphia station.
 
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NYDutch

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My thinking is the Networks will win. I never saw a difference between it being non-profit or not, you still are providing a signal of programming owned by someone else.
The Federal law (17 USC 111) that exempts non-profits from the retrans rules does seem to see a difference...
 
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CyberSpock

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If your service address is in the NYC DMA, Dish cannot legally supply a Philadelphia station.
I'm aware of that and add I don't like the way it's done. While I can't change it, my way of thinking is, if it can be seen in an area with a premium antenna, then it should be allowed to be provided. This would mean there wouldn't be strict boundaries.

Does anyone know why radio may be distributed on the web but television stations cannot?

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ChadT41

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Most radio stations have contracts with companies like iHeartRadio and Spotify... its a network deal that gets them more listeners. I have my local radio station through the iHeartRadio skill on Alexa.
 
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harshness

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15,739
Salem, OR
They should focus on AD revenue instead of outrageous carriage fees.
DVRs have substantially hobbled the funding model so the broadcasters have chosen the only other revenue source they have to pick from (since raising ad prices is an instant revenue kill). A rather large percentage of pay TV subscribers use DVRs fairly consistently to bypass the money maker. Some OTA users do as well so they can't count them as "paying customers" either. Pay TV services (including OTT) that force you to watch commercials are surely getting a serious discount but the cost to the subscriber isn't negligible.

The industry perhaps needs to go back to the earliest TV model where programs were sponsored (as they often are with PBS). Ford Motor Company did a Mustang sponsorship of the show American Dreams back in 2004 and it was pretty highly rated by some accounts. As I recall, there were three commercials in the hour-long show. On the flip side, I've seen some more recent stuff that advertised "virtually no interruptions" but there were about nine single-commercial breaks splattered throughout a feature length movie.

All the trouble that streamers and commercial skippers have gone to to avoid watching commercials is coming to roost and the alternatives aren't very pretty (i.e. TV Tax or paying rapidly increasing retrans fees).

Expect to see more insidious efforts to deny ad-skipping capabilities both on pay TV and OTA. I predict it will start with a change to the ad insertion signalling technology and both the stations and networks will be all over adopting it to shore up the funding source.
 
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NYDutch

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I'm aware of that and add I don't like the way it's done. While I can't change it, my way of thinking is, if it can be seen in an area with a premium antenna, then it should be allowed to be provided. This would mean there wouldn't be strict boundaries.

Does anyone know why radio may be distributed on the web but television stations cannot?

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Many local TV stations are distributed on the web by a number of different streaming services within that stations market area. The geographic (DMA) limitations are set by the FCC, not the stations. Radio stations are not subject to the same DMA restrictions. TV stations are allowed to charge commercial providers for permission to redistribute their signals within the DMA, but they cannot charge for direct reception by OTA antennas.
 
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