OTA commercial subs.....
Mon Jun 30 12:22:27 EDT 2014
On 6/30/2014 11:50 AM, Gary's Ice Cream wrote:
> Oh yes they do! For a while (in the analog days before HDTV) I had
> a TV in my office on an antenna and I would often have it on as I
> prepared dinner (one in the living room was on cable, one in the
> office on antenna) so that whichever way I was facing I could see it)
> and in almost every spot cluster the cable feed would have one or two
> different commercials than the OTA signal.
So here's what's happening:
If you are an OTA TV station today, you have to make a choice every two
years about how you will interface with the cable and satellite
operators that serve your market.
Choice A is "must-carry." Under must-carry, the station can compel the
cable company to carry its programming. No money changes hands from
either side - the cable company pays nothing for the signal, and the TV
station gets the visibility of reaching the majority of viewers in the
market (anywhere from 50%-95%, depending on the market) who use cable or
satellite instead of OTA reception.
Under must-carry, the cable company has to carry one stream of the
station's programming (usually the x.1 channel), in HD if it's offered,
on the station's virtual major channel number or a lower number. (In
certain cases, if a station was historically carried by cable on a lower
channel, it must remain there if it wants to.)
Must-carry is usually chosen by smaller stations that want an audience
and don't offer programming desirable enough to make them eligible for
choice B. (Think WWDP or WTMU or WMFP...)
Choice B is "retransmission consent." Under retransmission consent, a
station waives its must-carry rights in exchange for the ability to
negotiate with the cable/satellite provider on the terms under which it
will be carried.
In some cases, that's a straight money-for-carriage deal - the cable
company pays a per-subscriber rate in exchange for the right to carry
However, many other pieces can go into the deal. If you're negotiating
with an ABC owned-and-operated station like WABC-TV, you can expect that
the rights to carry WABC will be tied into a deal to also pay a specific
rate for ABC/Disney-owned cable channels such as ABC Family and the
Disney Channel. (I think ESPN's channels are negotiated separately.)
I would not be surprised to find out that WCVB's negotiations are linked
in to carriage of A&E and other Hearst-owned networks.
Station owners can also negotiate for carriage of subchannels ("if you
take WCVB, you must also take MeTV"), for sister stations ("if you want
NBC on WHDH, you have to also pay us for WLVI"), for channel position
("if you want to carry WHDH, you have to put WLVI on 12") - and if they
want to, they can also negotiate to run split advertising on cable,
allowing advertisers to buy viewers in specific regions.
Some stations have even negotiated to provide cable with split newscasts
for portions of a sprawling market. At least one of the stations serving
the Charleston-Huntington WV market, for instance (WSAZ) sends the
Huntington cable company a separate Huntington-only newscast while
Charleston cable viewers and OTA viewers get a regional newscast.
But - and this is important - it's not unilateral. Cable companies never
have the right to replace ads on broadcast channels unless they have a
deal in place with the TV station. And when they do, you may be certain
that the TV station ends up getting most of the money from the ad.
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