Senator Al Franken Tears Comcast CEO New Orifice

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15 thoughts on “Senator Al Franken Tears Comcast CEO New Orifice

  1. VERY nice! 🙂

    Of course, I’m in the entertainment industry, so the issue of who controls the pipes to the people is pretty vital. Production companies have to go through a lot of bull to produce television. Every one of these mergers is another executive bottleneck to the production of new content.

    Now that the TV model (Free shows paid for by advertising) is being heavily threatened by TiVO and internet on-demand services, these sort of mergers not only worsen the fortunes of companies still working under the existing model of television production, but create content monopolies that will heavily influence the conditions of any new media pipes that develop in the future.

  2. TiVo people watch the ads, by the way.

    Good grief! Why? Isn’t that on of the main points of TiVo…the ability to skip the incessant demands to buy, buy, buy useless crap? I like the BBC model…annual registration fee on all receivers and funds go to independent quality programming and reporting.

    BTW Franken is great. A senator Minnesota can be proud of! (I’ve got Joe “Droopy Dog” Lieberman and Chris “Never met a lobbyist he didn’t like” Dodd).

  3. When I’ve watched TV with Tivoers, they tivo the show, then partway into it start to watch it, then now and then they pass through the commercials, but not all of them. Or for a fb game, they pass through halftime (including commercials). But they watch a lot of them.

  4. I wouldn’t say the traditional TV model is “threatened” by DVR any more than ice is threatened by the freezer.
    The TV production companies have a responsibility to keep up with the technology in order to earn our business. DVR technology provides an opportunity to customize and specialize commercials and content for specific viewers or types of viewers.
    Their response, instead of adapting to the changing technological landscape, is to consolidate and become more controlling and conservative. As my cable bill continues to go up almost month by month, I am rooting for their strategy to fail and fail spectacularly.

  5. I watch Comcast on demand ALL THE TIME. They squeeze at least as many commercials into the “on demand” shows as they do on regular broadcast.

    Where’s the threat?

  6. For that matter, go to ANY of the major networks website, and you can watch many shows online “on-demand”. They, also, are FILLED with commercials – commercials that can’t be skipped.

    Commercial based programming is not going anywhere.

  7. The concept of traditional TV model is definitely threatened by DVR. What I mean by this is that people used to share a common experience. Everyone watched the shows at the same time and could then talk about it in the office or around town. With DVR, these captive viewing audience is not there. How many times have you gone to talk about a show and had someone say they haven’t watched it yet? Too many to count.

    And yes the purpose of DVRs is the ease of avoiding commericals. I almost never watch commericals.
    South Jersey Wedding photographer, Philadelphia Wedding photographer

  8. Al Franken is the best thing to happen to Minnesota since Hubert Humphrey. Perhaps Americans should elect more comedians, they are certainly smarter than the average politician.

  9. Smgumby,

    The threat is that Comcast is a company in the business of distribution (a very large one if not the largest) of TV content, while NBC Universal is in the business of producing that content. This merger would then put Comcast/NBC in a position of being able to treat its own content preferentially when setting up packages bundles for people to buy, and when it goes to negotiate payment rates to networks and such. (See the recent Time Warner – Fox negotiation standoff for how those things work.)

    So, its not so much an issue of commercial revenue, but of the ability to engage in anti-competitive behavior against other networks and broadband TV providers.

  10. I am with JasonTD @comment 9. It becomes too monopolistic.

    I rarely watch live TV any more and use a DVR and skip most commercials. I pay over $100 per month to Comcast (for cable, not including more for internet) and I should NOT have to endure the commercials. I was hoping to switch to FIOS whenever it gets to me, but I’ve heard the prices are nearly identical.

  11. 46% of TiVo users “in the demo” (age 18-49) don’t skip the ads, according to Nielsen.

    Anecdotally, I don’t have a TiVo, but I am very lazy. When I switch down to the non-HD channels, I usually don’t bother to reset the aspect ratio. I just watch Jon Stewart stretched horizontally 1.33x. So if I did have a TiVo, I probably would end up watching some of the commercials.

  12. As someone with a TiVo, I will watch commercials if they look interesting enough (PC vs. Apple, for instance.) That doesn’t mean I’m actually going to buy an Apple computer, or Cialis, or Lunestra, or any other product they’re selling. I’m deeply suspicious that “South Jersey Wedding Photographer” will be accusing me of “piracy” before too long, even though I was using a VCR to do exactly the same thing for more than fifteen years before I got my TiVo. “Programming” a VCR has always been pretty easy, but TiVo made it trivial.

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