Thursday, October 16, 2008

Retransmission Fee Battle

The Star's Erica Smith sheds a lot of light on the latest TV retransmission fee battle between Bright House and WISH-TV's LIN TV Corp., which has resulted in the local CBS affiliate not being broadcast over the cable TV provider here in Indianapolis. To hear Bright House explain it in the barrage of TV ads they've been running over their cable franchise the past couple of weeks, LIN is requesting something out of the ordinary in seeking a retransmission fee. Smith's story points out that Comcast, DISH Network, DirectTV and AT&T's U-Verse pay similar fees to local cable TV providers. WRTV conceded to her that it receives a retransmission fee from Bright House. LIN-TV, which is currently receiving nothing from Bright House, is seeking a $2.3 million annual retransmission fee, which amounts to less than one penny per subscriber per day. "Bright House's local president, Buz Nesbit, also has warned that the new fees probably would be passed along to subscribers," Smith writes. You could see that threat coming from a mile away. I've just about had it with these cable TV companies. They have sweetheart franchise agreements with the City of Indianapolis because of all the campaign money they stuff in politicians' pockets, their service sucks and their rates are outrageous. So much for the deregulation bill that lawmakers promised us would make such a difference. Consumers in Indiana have seen absolutely no benefit from that law.

7 comments:

Indy4U2C said...

I'd say to my CATV provider: I'm not going to pay you for signals I can get for free! That is stupid on my part. So the CATV people need to tell the locals they won't give them money for free channels.

Is there a rule that says they cannot offer a network affiliate from another city?

Sir Hailstone said...

Indy4u2c - Even if they could legally (again, having to pay the out-of-town station their fees) there is the issue of signal reception.

So if you have a digital TV or a converter box - put on the rabbit ears and enjoy. I have a digital tuner and an analog and find the difference amazing. Analog reception is s$%# while digital is crystal clear with occasional pixellation and even rarer screen freeze.

Lance Rasmussen said...

AI - did you mean something like $2.3 million?

Also I don't think there's a reason Brighthouse couldn't pipe in another CBS affiliate. In Lafayette Comcast has the Indy and Lafayatte CBS stations (or at least they did when I lived there). What's basic cable cost on Brighthouse, anyway? Comcast's is up around $55, no HD or anything, which I think is a little much. AT&T's U-verse is just starting to penetrate my area, and it's more like $40, no contract. That's an option, maybe. Verizon's FIOS is about the same.

Advance Indiana said...

You're looking at about a $100 for basic and high speed Internet with Bright House. From what I've seen in pricing, after you get past the incentives for the first year, the AT&T, Comcast & Bright House are basically the same. Only the satellite TV providers offer lower monthly pricing.

allisonvilleroad said...

Brighthouse cannot bring in another CBS affiliate. WLFI in Lafayette is also another LIN station. I also believe that the amount that LIN wants is the total amount to cover all of the LIN stations such as the ones in Buffalo, Green Bay, Ft. Wayne, and Dayton, that are being carried by Brighthouse cable systems.

spooknp said...

I side with the cable companies on this one. All one would have to do to get WIST TV is to buy a splitter. When you want to watch Channel 8, slide the little plastic piece over. My guess is that more folks will end up doing this anyway because once every digital tuner TV is HD, folks are likely going to cut back from spending for HD channels like Discovery, ESPN, etc.. You will be able to get free HD over the air (with a good antenna) from all the local stations for free.

AT&T's U-verse is just starting to penetrate my area, and it's more like $40, no contract.

To get what you have with digital cable, U-Verse ends up being the exact same price. Considering this country is on the fast path to socialism, I think we may as well demand government pass a law requiring ala carte service choices. You pick channels based upon a price for that channel.

Advance Indiana said...

Why is everyone's pricing essentially the same? That's my big complaint. It's price fixing.