Dressler: Why Pay? Download’s Free (1 Viewer)

cablewithaview

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Stand against retrans!!!
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Apr 18, 2005
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DeKalb County, AL
Atlanta -- Time Warner Cable’s programming chief questioned why The Walt Disney Co. expects to be paid retransmission consent for its ABC stations when it will be giving away hit primetime content from those broadcast outlets over a company Web site.

Fred Dressler, Time Warner’s executive vice president of programming, made his remarks during a panel Tuesday at the National Show when he was asked his reaction to Disney’s plan to offer four its its ABC hits, such as Lost, free on the network’s Web site (www.abc.com) as part of a two-month experiment.

“My reaction is quizzical, more than anything,” Dressler said, noting that the Disney-ABC Television Group “is too smart and too thoughtful to just throw something out there without thinking of the impact that it was going to have on their largest distributors.”

Dressler, during a panel titled “New Markets, New Networks: Programmers Make Their Pitch,” added that the test, announced Monday, poses a number of questions relating to ABC’s broadcast content.

“It seems that ABC is sort of acknowledging that they offer their content free over the air and now they’re going to offer it free over the Internet, so why their expectations are that they would be compensated for retransmission consent is a little quizzical,” Dressler said.

He also pointed out that Disney will also be offering some of its cable-network programming, like shows from Disney Channel, free on the Web. Dressler then questioned what Disney’s expectations would be in terms of compensation from cable operators who carry that same programming.

Panelist Matt Bond, executive vice president of content acquisition for Comcast Corp., said he wasn’t surprised that video content was finding its way onto the Internet. What was unusual in the Disney test is that its four shows, like Lost and Alias, would be offered for free on the Web, according to Bond.

“Certain content traditionally in TV has been free, other has been paid,” he said. “And to the extent that this is a new business model, where content is going to move out of the pay category to the free category, I think it’s something to watch.”

Programmer panelist Sean Bratches, executive vice president of affiliate sales and markeing for ESPN Inc., argued that Disney’s efforts can help support the “broadband pipe” for cable operators like Comcast and Time Warner.

“Directionally, this is something that supports that side of their multimedia business,” Bratches said. “This is a test that The Walt Disney Co. is conducting, and we’re going to see how this goes. We continue to look to serve our fans, and we really think this is additive to the core business.”

During the panel Lindsay Gardner, executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing for Fox Cable Networks Group, said unit typically has eight to 10 ideas under consideration for new networks, and that a premium service is always in that group.

However, Gardner said that “launching a premium service or seeking to buy a premium service is a very big bet.”

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6324189.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP&nid=2226
 

cablewithaview

Thread Starter
Stand against retrans!!!
Supporting Founder
Apr 18, 2005
398
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DeKalb County, AL
Download Discussion Caps National Show

Atlanta -- Debate over the merits of distributing TV shows via the Internet dominated a general session here at the National Show Tuesday, following ABC’s announcement Monday that it will stream Lost, Desperate Housewives and other hits free-of-charge on the Net.

“You’re never going to see us stream HDNet,” CEO Mark Cuban said, emphasizing that having distribution through “last-mile” distributors such as cable operators is key to ensuring the delivery of quality programming.

He added: “The Internet is not built to distribute television in a mass-media way. If you want to do television, you have to partner with a cable operator.”

Other hot topics on the panel, featuring Insight Communications Co. CEO Michael Willner Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, Cablevision Systems Corp. chief operating officer Tom Rutledge, NBC Universal Cable president David Zaslav, Fox Networks Group CEO Tony Vinciquerra and Cox Communications Inc. president Patrick Esser included:

• Vinciquerra predicts the days of significant subscriber growth are over for cable networks, suggesting pay TV subs will simply jump from one provider to another. “There’s not going to be significant incremental growth in subscribers. It’s a zero sum game at this point, we think,” Vinciquerra said.

• There are two tipping points on the way for HDTV, Cuban predicted. 2006 is the first year that HDTV sales will exceed analog TV sales; and the second tipping point will come at the end of 2007, when the FCC cuts of analog broadcasting, which Cuban predicts will spark a retail battle for HD sales, and will position cable operators for growth in HD subs.

• While cable is rolling out new products like VoIP phone and VOD, it’s important to focus on the needs of the consumer, Britt said. “The key is to focus on the consumer, not to just get enamored with technology.”

• Regarding the network neutrality debate, Esser emphasized that, “Every cable company has said they have no intention of blocking anyone’s access.”

• While Cablevision is posting solid growth in pay TV subs, phone and high-speed Internet, Rutledge says, “I think we’re underpenetrated in the marketplace.”

• Although NBC Universal is supplying content to Apple’s iTunes store, Zaslav said it’s too early to call it a business victory. “We don’t know yet if the iPods are going to be a successful way to reach consumers,” Zaslav said.

• Moderator William Kennard, the FCC chairman under President Clinton, polled cable operator attendees on how the market will look a few years from now. In 2009, 37% of audience respondents said DirecTV Inc. will remain cable’s most formidable competitor, followed by AT&T (27%), “some company that hasn’t arrived yet” (25%) and Google (0%).

• Regarding the performance of cable stocks on Wall Street, Britt said one impact has been concern over “whether all TV is suddenly going to appear on the Internet,” while Rutledge pointed to concerns that telcos will grab market share as having an impact on stocks.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6324095.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP&nid=2226
 

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