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The TV Consumer Freedom Act of 2013: A La Carte cable/satellite and Elimination of NFL Blackouts?

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I have no idea how far this will actually go since the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association are major lobbyists to Congress, but Sen. McCain, who is no longer on the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced The TV Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 on Thursday.

McCain said the legislation is intended to:

“allow the consumer, the television viewer who subscribes to cable, to have à la carte capability. In other words, not required to buy a whole bunch of channels that that consumer may not want wish to subscribe to,”

Keep in mind that McCain tried to introduce "a la carte" pricing in 2006 too, and that failed.

Both Deadspin and The Big Lead have talked about the possible impact on the conference networks, like FOX with the BTN, and the just announced ESPN ownership of the SEC Network of us as US viewers.

Cablevision and Dish Network have been interested in an "a la carte" model, with Verizon FIOS wanting to pay the channel based on its actual audience.

McCain placed a poison pill to eliminate local blackouts in a facility which received federal, state, or local financing.

Thoughts?

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I'd subscribe to any cable network who did this in a heartbeat. I HATE knowing I'm wasting money on channels like MTV and VH1.

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I'm looking forward to the end of the NFL's deal with Verizon so I can have their package on my Apple TV.

That and HBO offering a Go-only package for those of us who dropped cable.

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If they did this, then my TV plan would likely have less than 30 channels. I wonder if this will allow you to get the Boston CBS feed instead of the New York one. Right now, I can't watch Patriots games if there is a Jets game on at the same time, which is extremely frustrating.

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If they did this, then my TV plan would likely have less than 30 channels. I wonder if this will allow you to get the Boston CBS feed instead of the New York one. Right now, I can't watch Patriots games if there is a Jets game on at the same time, which is extremely frustrating.

This does not eliminate sports team's broadcast territory. Plus, you can drop cable but still have NFL access since you only need an antenna to get your Boston CBS for just the cost of the antenna since it is the public airwave for your area.

Transmitters and FCC rules for territories protect local areas, specifically for emergencies. Not even Aereo will be able to do what you would like.

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If they did this, then my TV plan would likely have less than 30 channels. I wonder if this will allow you to get the Boston CBS feed instead of the New York one. Right now, I can't watch Patriots games if there is a Jets game on at the same time, which is extremely frustrating.

I have a little 12-inch antenna hooked up to my TV that gets all of my local channels in beautiful HD. I don't know exactly how far you are from Boston, but have you looked into this? Maybe even pricing a rooftop antenna?

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If this bill passes, what is to stop TV providers from screwing with their rates per channel? Because the logical response to this will be "wait, only a third of our subscribers actually want ESPN? ok, well just triple the price of it and we're still good". I've never seen a plausible endgame for a la carte TV that didn't result in a large number of channels ceasing to exist or people paying basically the same amount of money for far less content.

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If this bill passes, what is to stop TV providers from screwing with their rates per channel? Because the logical response to this will be "wait, only a third of our subscribers actually want ESPN? ok, well just triple the price of it and we're still good". I've never seen a plausible endgame for a la carte TV that didn't result in a large number of channels ceasing to exist or people paying basically the same amount of money for far less content.

1. If a large number of channels become too niche to survive its for the best really. Honestly there's more airtime than anybody knows what to do with.

2. The price will support what the market will bear. Disney could try tripling the cost of ESPN, but that might drive even more customers away.

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ESPN charges cable companies about $5 per month per subscriber right now... maybe it's worth $10 or $20 bucks. If they can't get people to pay more, then ad rates will have to go up or bidding wars for league TV packages will cool down.

Maybe it will be a gigantic failure, but I'm excited to see it. Channels will actually need to put on programming that people will watch. You may see fewer channels with infomercials all night. Broadcast, print and radio people must love this... I'm assuming that channels will have to advertise heavily, especially new channels, in order to build and maintain subscribers.

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This would be fantastic for the consumer. That's why it won't happen.

I could also see the cable company (i.e. Comcast, Time Warner, whomever) charging a flat fee before you get to the ala carte. Don't worry, they'll do whatever they can to keep raising prices.

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It's rare that I agree with legislation set forth by people on the right side of the political spectrum, but I do support having the freedom to choose which entertainment you want to see, and not having to pay for channels that you never ever watch.

For example - I live in Ontario, so how the heck am I supposed to watch any sports on the Comcast Sports Network for Philadelphia if I don't have a US-coded satellite or cable provider? I suppose I could just buy NHL Centre Ice - but again - I only want to watch one team out of 30. Give me the ability to watch my own favourite team without all the extras, and I would be a happy camper.

--

As it relates to general entertainment, in my home, there are numerous channels that neither I nor anyone living in this house watch - most of them are French-language channels and obscure ones on the higher end of the Eastlink selection. If I had the ability to pick and choose my own, I would pick:

1. CTV (for Big Bang Theory and local news)

2.3. CBC News World and CBC

4. NBC Sports

5. ABC Sports

6. CHCH Hamilton

7. Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia

8. Spike TV

9.10. TSN/TSN2

11. Rogers Sportsnet

12. Discovery Channel

13. Comedy Network Canada

14. Teletoon

15. TVtropolis

....

I think that's it. Maybe throw in the weather channel. 16 channels, instead of the 500-channel mess we have now.

I'd gladly pay an iTunes-like fee for each channel per month for a personal package. 16 channels for $16 would be way better than current cable charges.

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Does this bill outlaw exclusive deals like Sunday Ticket?

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Note: Language

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Does this bill outlaw exclusive deals like Sunday Ticket?

No. Pead the proposed bill as it is only 8 pages of double spaced type. Plus, DirecTV's contract with the NFL ends after this season and they are not really interested in continuing it as being exclusive.

NAB will really lobby against it since they did it when McCain proposed a similar bill in 2006.

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Note: Language

Thats halarious that you just posted this, JQK. The guy in that video is actually a good buddy of mine from high school named Nick Smith. He sent me that a few weeks ago and I had been waiting for a good opportunity to post it here.

The group who made this video are a sketch comedy group called EXTREMELY DECENT, and just about every member is a friend of mine from high school. They've got a TON of funny stuff on YouTube.

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If this bill passes- and I hope it does- does mean cable and satellite subscribers can choose to eliminate Telemundo, Univision, and Telefutura on their cable channel lineup, or are the subscribers still.subjected to the "Must Carry" rules?

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If this bill passes- and I hope it does- does mean cable and satellite subscribers can choose to eliminate Telemundo, Univision, and Telefutura on their cable channel lineup, or are the subscribers still.subjected to the "Must Carry" rules?

I believe they can go, my jingo-istic Anglo-American poster.

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If this bill passes- and I hope it does- does mean cable and satellite subscribers can choose to eliminate Telemundo, Univision, and Telefutura on their cable channel lineup, or are the subscribers still.subjected to the "Must Carry" rules?

Generally, Univision, Telemundo, and other foreign language channels are over the air, local commercial stations, so they would still fall under "must-carry".

And we do not know what amendments others will tack onto this Bill in the House, so hoping it passes is TBD.

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Well Direct TV blacks out NFL preseason games and im tired of it. I Begged congress to do something about this. Look Direct TV doesn't black out Baseball,NBA or NHL pre season games why not do something about the NFL?

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Decided bump this as the McCain bill has caused as the acting FCC chairwoman is prepared to look in to the blackout practice for the fist time since 2000, when no action was taken. Her tenure as chairwoman ends Monday, so her announcement places the topic on the record to be discussed in the form of a Notice.

Her statement:

“Today, I circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to eliminate the Commission’s nearly 40-year old sports blackout rules. Changes in the marketplace have raised questions about whether these rules are still in the public
interest, particularly at a time when high ticket prices and the economy make it difficult for many sports fans to attend games. Elimination of our sports blackout rules will not prevent the sports leagues, broadcasters, and cable and satellite providers from privately negotiating agreements to black out certain sports events. Nevertheless, if the record in this proceeding shows that the rules are no longer justified, the Commission’s involvement in this area should end.”

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