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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:39 pm 
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You want some insight into cable fees, read the espn book, you guys have all the fun(?)..... 8-) 8-) 8-) I think that is the name of it..... :lol: :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:42 pm 
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I know someone who worked for ESPN and advised regarding ESPN's policies. If my recollection is correct, you can thank ESPN for approximately $8.00 to $10.00/month for your basic cable fees. Huge negotiating power. HUGE.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:11 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
I know someone who worked for ESPN and advised regarding ESPN's policies. If my recollection is correct, you can thank ESPN for approximately $8.00 to $10.00/month for your basic cable fees. Huge negotiating power. HUGE.

I don't mind that. I mind all the channels that I'm paying relative pennies for, but never, ever watch. We should have had a la carte cable a long time ago.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:43 pm 
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sisyphus wrote:
We should have had a la carte cable a long time ago.


Wouldn't that be awesome...... :D :D :D :D :D


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:05 pm 
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I had a discussion a few years ago about a la carte TV with a couple of guys in the business. The idea sounds good but the conclusion was that it would almost guarantee higher bills.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:47 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
If the price of MLB.TV or Extra Innings increases because the owners are looking to maintain revenue streams and to maintain player salary levels, then consumers will not likely be happy.

True, but then they'll just find other ways to spend their entertainment dollars. Unhappy consumers is really a problem for MLB Advanced Media, not the consumers in and of themselves.

No. 9 wrote:
Teams raise ticket prices all the time to raise additional revenue . . . at risk of alienating fans. Why would internet access and mobile device access be any different?

You weren't talking about raising prices; you were talking about restricting access. Today, if you purchase a subscription to MLB.TV, you get access to all games. Your hypo suggested restricting a subscriber to only one team's games (which is essentially one game per day, as opposed to as many as 15 per day). If that same subscription is offered next season with a restriction to only one game per customer, that's a considerable drop in value. Your proposal wasn't raising the price of a preexisting product; your proposal was stripping the preexisting product of a portion of its value.

If you want to see an example of that in action, look at the kerfluffle caused by Netflix's decision to separate its internet streaming video service from its DVD mailing service.

No. 9 wrote:
The NCAA is not the equivalent of the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. Not even close.

No, but the underlying facts of that case are similar to what the plaintiffs in this case alleged.

No. 9 wrote:
So, are you contending that it is an unlawful restraint on trade for MLB to blackout "local markets" to protect a particular franchisee's contract with a RSN? Should a MLB franchisee have the right to contract with an exclusive partner to televise games? If so, isn't the franchisor (MLB) interfering with the contract rights of a franchisee (any club) if it allows for the broadcast of games in an area supplied by the television partner? If MLB didn't have the blackout rules for MLB.TV and Extra Innings, wouldn't the RSN have standing to sue MLB for tortious interference with a contracted for business expectancy?

Perhaps so. But, again, I don't see how that is the customer's problem. Just because MLB wants to protect the business interests of its franchisees does not mean that it can make a horizontal agreement with the franchisee to eliminate competition between the streaming internet broadcast from MLB Advanced Media and the televised broadcast from the RSN.

No. 9 wrote:
As for the NFL . . . look at the allegations by the Plaintiff against MLB. You state that you are in the "plaintiff's corner." Plainitff's allege an unlawful restraint of trade because (1) MLB unlawfully restrains "out of market" fans from watching broadcasts because they must purchase either Extra Innings or MLB.TV and (2) MLB blacks out those broadcasts in the local market which forces fans to purchase a cable subcription. So . . . the NFL has entered into an exclusive agreement with DirecTV to broadcast out of market games. However, I can't watch those games unless I have DirecTV and purchase the Sunday Ticket. What's the difference?

The difference? The horizontal agreement between member clubs of the NFL. I don't see you alleging that the NFL has made an agreement with its member clubs to restrict their ability to broadcast their games on television or over the internet. Now, maybe they have and I just don't see it. But based on what you have alleged, I don't see an agreement in play here.

Another thing to keep in mind: the plaintiffs' attorneys here did not sue the NHL and MLB at the same time. The NHL suit came before the MLB suit. So the plaintiffs' attorneys very well may be planning to sue the NFL and DirecTV for violating the Sherman Act. Just because they haven't done it now does not mean that they won't in the future.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 10:24 pm 
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All NFL games are on free TV in the market which means everyone in that market can view it no matter if they have cable or Directv. That's not the case in baseball. Outside the market, they are also available to everyone at a premium price which people don't mind paying because they would rather pay to see their team or a certain game than not see it at all.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 10:32 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
I'm guessing that a RSN makes far more money by collecting subscription fees across the board as opposed to from a select group of highly interested viewers. I'm betting that is why the RSN cares about protecting a particular market area. Just a hunch but it seems to follow logically.


Sounds like good logic to me.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 10:34 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
I had a discussion a few years ago about a la carte TV with a couple of guys in the business. The idea sounds good but the conclusion was that it would almost guarantee higher bills.


As someone who's had such discussons, I'd be interested to hear about yours. Why was that the conclusion?

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 10:58 pm 
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The conclusion was that since 99% of the channels would automatically lose homes, they'd have to charge more, severely cut costs, or simply go under.

Use Dish Network as an example. They charge $25 for a 55 channel package. If it were a la carte, instead of getting 55 channels at $0.45 per channel for a $25 bill, you could easily end up paying $40/ month for 20 channels at $2.00 per channel.

There was also something about advertising and how being associated with a certain package tier is helpful for advertising dollars. An extreme-niche channel like Fox Soccer would have a hell of a time making money in an a la carte system. They already charge $15/ month for their 2nd primarily-soccer-network, Fox Soccer Plus.

In the end, it results in:

- Higher bills
- Fewer channels
- Less diversity
- Less "risk taking" on niche networks


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:31 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
I had a discussion a few years ago about a la carte TV with a couple of guys in the business. The idea sounds good but the conclusion was that it would almost guarantee higher bills.

Maybe, for anybody who really wants every channel. I'd settle for the local stations and Root, with maybe a handful of others at most. Screw ESPN, I can always find a bar to watch the Steelers in if that's the only channel it's on.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:34 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
The conclusion was that since 99% of the channels would automatically lose homes, they'd have to charge more, severely cut costs, or simply go under.

Use Dish Network as an example. They charge $25 for a 55 channel package. If it were a la carte, instead of getting 55 channels at $0.45 per channel for a $25 bill, you could easily end up paying $40/ month for 20 channels at $2.00 per channel.

There was also something about advertising and how being associated with a certain package tier is helpful for advertising dollars. An extreme-niche channel like Fox Soccer would have a hell of a time making money in an a la carte system. They already charge $15/ month for their 2nd primarily-soccer-network, Fox Soccer Plus.

In the end, it results in:

- Higher bills
- Fewer channels
- Less diversity
- Less "risk taking" on niche networks

I'd be delighted to pay $2.00 per channel. I'd save a bundle.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:06 am 
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Let me ask a question that I don't know the answer to.

Wouldn't this be good for the Pirates?

If the RSN contracts across the league go down, but in general the subscription based services go up, won't that be a net win for small markets like Pittsburgh? I'm guessing the amount we would lose on the tv contract by no longer having Amishville, OH or Screwyercousin, WV included in ROOT's market would pale in comparison to the slice of pie we would get from all the additional fans of large market teams now paying to watch their teams through a subscription service.

Wouldn't this, in effect, be moving more towards fuller revenue sharing?

I don't really care if No. 9 has to pay more if it's better for the Pirates. In fact, I'd be more willing to pay $149 to watch a good Pirates team and only a good Pirates team than I am to pay $129 to watch all of MLB.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 1:03 am 
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sisyphus wrote:
I'd be delighted to pay $2.00 per channel. I'd save a bundle.


It's a very generous number. I imagine it would actually be significantly more, depending on how popular the channels are that you wish to have.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 1:40 am 
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RTJR wrote:
The conclusion was that since 99% of the channels would automatically lose homes, they'd have to charge more, severely cut costs, or simply go under.

Use Dish Network as an example. They charge $25 for a 55 channel package. If it were a la carte, instead of getting 55 channels at $0.45 per channel for a $25 bill, you could easily end up paying $40/ month for 20 channels at $2.00 per channel.

There was also something about advertising and how being associated with a certain package tier is helpful for advertising dollars. An extreme-niche channel like Fox Soccer would have a hell of a time making money in an a la carte system. They already charge $15/ month for their 2nd primarily-soccer-network, Fox Soccer Plus.

In the end, it results in:

- Higher bills
- Fewer channels
- Less diversity
- Less "risk taking" on niche networks


Hmm. Fair conclusion.

Of course, couldn't they (Service Providers):
-Do some sort of 'package deal' either similar to how HBO/STARZ/Showtime are packaged now, only include one for the ABC/NBC/FOX affiliates
-Include some sort of 'standard package' where $X covers the cost of the 'basic cable channels' (ABC/NBC/CBS/FOX/PBS) and then charge extra $1-2 for each additional channel?

For example, instead of offering $1 for each TNT and TBS, they could 'bundle them' for $1.50. Same thing for ABC/ESPN, NBC and their channels and FOX and theirs, etc.

It would be less 'ala carte' in the literal sense, but moreso than the current format.

Do you believe that such would still net the same results?

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 1:58 am 
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I suppose there could be that sort of "umbrella packaging" of channels. Even still, I think the amount of channels received for the money paid wouldn't be in the customers' favor most of the time.

Networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc.) are free over the air, so we could assume we wouldn't be charged to receive them. Whether that would actually be the case in such a system, I have no idea.

Personally, I'd need to have all the movie channels, a lot of sports programming, and a few "cable" channels (AMC, Discovery, Science, History, etc.). I imagine getting all of these a la carte would cost quite a bit. Probably cheaper than the current monthly bill, but is it really worth paying like $100 a month for 30-40 channels when that much would get you probably 3x as many with the current system? Of course, it would cost way more in the current system to actually receive all of those channels...it's certainly an interesting topic of discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 10:58 am 
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BBF wrote:
Let me ask a question that I don't know the answer to.

Wouldn't this be good for the Pirates?

If the RSN contracts across the league go down, but in general the subscription based services go up, won't that be a net win for small markets like Pittsburgh? I'm guessing the amount we would lose on the tv contract by no longer having Amishville, OH or Screwyercousin, WV included in ROOT's market would pale in comparison to the slice of pie we would get from all the additional fans of large market teams now paying to watch their teams through a subscription service.

Wouldn't this, in effect, be moving more towards fuller revenue sharing?

It might. At the very least, the teams with the extremely lucrative contracts with RSNs (i.e., LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Texas) would lose the most money because they wouldn't be able to make guarantees to the RSNs that they won't face competition from streaming video. However, one thing that might happen is that each team will seek the ability to broadcast their own games outside of MLB Advanced Media, thereby giving them the opportunity to reap the rewards specific to their team. Given the precedent set by the Supreme Court in the 1984 NCAA case, there's a good chance that might happen.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:06 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
sisyphus wrote:
I'd be delighted to pay $2.00 per channel. I'd save a bundle.


It's a very generous number. I imagine it would actually be significantly more, depending on how popular the channels are that you wish to have.

My guess is not very, outside of Root.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:24 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
I suppose there could be that sort of "umbrella packaging" of channels. Even still, I think the amount of channels received for the money paid wouldn't be in the customers' favor most of the time.

Networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc.) are free over the air, so we could assume we wouldn't be charged to receive them. Whether that would actually be the case in such a system, I have no idea.


Yes, it's certainlly tough to estimate costs/revenue/profits of such a system when we don't know how much each channel generates $ (via ads). Therefore it would be nearly impossible to predict which channels would cost what without knowing the specifics of the TV industry, or all hypotheticals would be wild, approximate at best, guesses.

RTJR wrote:
Personally, I'd need to have all the movie channels, a lot of sports programming, and a few "cable" channels (AMC, Discovery, Science, History, etc.). I imagine getting all of these a la carte would cost quite a bit. Probably cheaper than the current monthly bill, but is it really worth paying like $100 a month for 30-40 channels when that much would get you probably 3x as many with the current system? Of course, it would cost way more in the current system to actually receive all of those channels...it's certainly an interesting topic of discussion.


Then again, I do wonder if a pay by usage or pay by download system would be an alternative method...?

Having, say... 1,000 channels for $150 sounds likes a steal, except when one factors in that they're probably only watching 30-50 channels per month at best and probably not more than 2-3 hours a day at most. And that guess is for someone who would watch a large amount of TV.

Therefore an ala carte system would probably only cost more for a customers who didn't plan/organize their channels-for-pay effective/efficiently... which would probably be a majority of [American] TV watchers.

One last hurdle I would foresee is the duration, or 'contract', of purchasing a channel. Would $2/mo be the going rate, meaning the customer could switch/change which channels they watched at will, or would there be longer 3/6/9/12 month deals?

Without some sort of 'collective bargaining' or really savvy business practice changes it would be difficult to predict how such a change in TV contracts would work.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Faces Antitrust Suit Regarding Its TV Blackout Polic
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 10:36 pm 
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When I envision it, I picture it as an interface on the receiver. Basically, one would go through either a menu or sorts or channel-by-channel picking which they want to "unlock". Sort of like how PPV is done, but instead of unlocking a movie for 24 hours, you've unlocked a channel. Naturally, they'd have to have it where if you unlock a channel you're paying for it for a certain amount of time or else people would take advantage of that by just unlocking before their favorite shows and then locking them back up again.

I have no idea how plausible that is, but it seems like the most logical way to do it.

This leads me to something else: Would an a la carte channel system eventually lead to a la carte shows? Say there's only one show on BBC America that you like, would you pay just to unlock that show for it's full season (12-13 weeks for most)? Would people go from saying "I'm paying $150/month for 250 channels but only watch a couple dozen of them" to "I'm paying $100/month for 30 channels but I only really watch 10 shows"?


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