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Television Broadcasters' Adoption of Digital Multicast and Ancillary Services

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022256/00001

Material Information

Title: Television Broadcasters' Adoption of Digital Multicast and Ancillary Services An Analysis of the Primary Core, Supporting, and Environmental Drivers
Physical Description: 1 online resource (204 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Holmes, Todd
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: ancillary, core, digital, environmental, high, multicast, multicasting, new, standard, supporting
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The digital technologies of multicasting and datacasting are bringing with them a plethora of new challenges and opportunities for broadcasters. The researcher offers an exploratory look into the dynamics of these new technologies by conducting intensive interviews with nine television executives in four markets of varying size. The researcher looks specifically at the core, supporting, and environmental factors which are driving the adoption decisions made by broadcasters. Key considerations and themes involved in selling the multicast channels and in remaining competitive in the digital age of broadcasting are discussed. The limited adoption of ancillary services at this time and the reasoning behind this finding are also analyzed. The researcher found a number of themes pertaining to the market-based solutions broadcasters are employing to deal with the issue of multicast cable carriage. These themes illustrate the increasingly complex relationship between broadcasters and cable operators.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Todd Holmes.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Ostroff, David H.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022256:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022256/00001

Material Information

Title: Television Broadcasters' Adoption of Digital Multicast and Ancillary Services An Analysis of the Primary Core, Supporting, and Environmental Drivers
Physical Description: 1 online resource (204 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Holmes, Todd
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: ancillary, core, digital, environmental, high, multicast, multicasting, new, standard, supporting
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The digital technologies of multicasting and datacasting are bringing with them a plethora of new challenges and opportunities for broadcasters. The researcher offers an exploratory look into the dynamics of these new technologies by conducting intensive interviews with nine television executives in four markets of varying size. The researcher looks specifically at the core, supporting, and environmental factors which are driving the adoption decisions made by broadcasters. Key considerations and themes involved in selling the multicast channels and in remaining competitive in the digital age of broadcasting are discussed. The limited adoption of ancillary services at this time and the reasoning behind this finding are also analyzed. The researcher found a number of themes pertaining to the market-based solutions broadcasters are employing to deal with the issue of multicast cable carriage. These themes illustrate the increasingly complex relationship between broadcasters and cable operators.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Todd Holmes.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Ostroff, David H.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022256:00001


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6cbc84e8433b9804604838046a695e86
664ca1fe1a9b225d6843af1c444452633894b4bb







TELEVISION BROADCASTERS' ADOPTION OF DIGITAL MULTICAST AND
ANCILLARY SERVICES: AN ANALYSIS OF THE PRIMARY CORE, SUPPORTING, AND
ENVIRONMENTAL DRIVERS




















By

TODD ANDREW HOLMES


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008

































2008 Todd Andrew Holmes
































To all who have inspired my intellectual curiosity and academic pursuits, and to all who have
supported me in reaching this milestone









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First and foremost, I would like to thank my chair, Dr. Ostroff, for the enormous amount of

time and guidance he gave to me in helping me to complete this research study. His support and

direction were absolutely critical in the successful completion of this paper. I also would like to

thank the members of my committee, Dr. Chan-Olmsted and Dr. Brown, for their thoughts and

ideas concerning my research topic.

Second, I would like to thank the nine television executives who took time out of their

busy schedules to meet with me and who very openly and willingly shared with me their

thoughts on the research topic. Their help was absolutely vital to the completion of this study.

Third, I would like to thank my parents who continued to keep me moving along on the

thesis through their inquiries and encouragement. Their own academic achievements have

continued to inspire me throughout this process.

Lastly, special thanks go to all my friends, the Gator Guzzlers and many others, who heard

me talk about this thesis for months and with whom I had to skip out on a lot of activities. I

appreciate their understanding and their always entertaining comments regarding this research

study.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CK N O W LED G M EN T S ................................................................. ........... ............. .....

L IST O F TA B LE S ....................... ...................................................10

LIST OF FIGURES ................................. .. .... ..... ................. 12

A B S T R A C T ............ ................... ............................................................ 13

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............... .......................................................... 14

D igital Television Rollout is Far Reaching .................................... .......................... ........ 14
Broadcasters Face Competition from Various Sources................................................... 15
O rigin s of D digital T television ................................................................................ ...... ... 16
Early H igh-D definition B broadcasts ............................................................... ............... 18
Consumer Adoption of Digital Television Technology ......................................................19
Comparison of Adoption of High-Definition TV to That of Color TV ..........................20
Consum er Adoption of Interactive Services..................................................................21
H igh-D definition G ains M om entum .............................................................. .....................22
C onsum er E education ............... ......... ... .... .... ........................ ............... .. .....22
Current Figures on Consumer Understanding of Digital TV ........................................22
Consumers Not Very Familiar with Interactive TV.................................. ...................23
V voluntary A actions to Increase A w areness ........................................... .....................24
Public Safety C oncerns................. ............................................... ..... .....25
First Responders Need Analog Spectrum.................................................................25
Over-the-air Television Critical During Emergencies ......................................... 26
New Digital Technologies Enhance Consumer Safety ....................................... 27
Purpose and V alue of This R research ......................................................................... ...... 27
C o n c lu sio n ................... .......................................................... ................ 2 9

2 L ITER A TU R E R E V IEW ............................................................................... ............... 30

Proposed Framework of New Media Adoption by Media Firms ............... ............ .....32
C o re F acto rs....................................................... ................ 3 2
Firm characteristics .......................... ................ .................... ........ 32
M edia technology characteristics ................................... ............................. ....... 35
Supporting Factors.................................... .. .. ...... ......... .... 38
Strategic netw works ......................................... ............... .. ........ .... 38
P erceived strategic value ..................................................................................... 39
Managerial knowledge of and incentives to seek alternatives ..............................39
E nvironm ental F actors.......... ................................................................ .......... .. ...... .. 39
New M edia Technology Adoption ............................................................................40
Social M ovem ent T theory ............................................................................ .....................4 1









Broadcasters and Their Entry into the Digital Age ..................................... .................43
Regulation/Federal Communications Commission Rulings.......................... ...................44
Three Key Recommendations of the U.S. General Accounting Office ..........................45
Mandate for all TV sets to be digital over-the-air compatible and digital cable-
ready .................... ............ .. .. .............................................. .4 6
Certain date for cable carriage to switch from analog to digital ...........................47
Debate Over Dual Carriage by Cable Systems.....................................................49
Broadcasters and Cable Industry Square Off on Issue of Multicasting......................49
B broadcasters' view point......... .................................... ................. ............... 49
C able operators' stance ................... ........ .... ...................... .............. 51
Broadcasters Denied Carriage of Multicast Channels................. ............................54
Lack of Public Interest Program m ing.................................... ........................... ......... 55
Coalition of Consumer Activists Enter Debate .................................... ............... 55
Retransmission Consent and the 1992 Cable Act......................................................56
M major N etw ork D digital Initiatives ...................................... ........... ............................. 57
National Broadcasting Company (NBC)..................................................................... 57
American Broadcasting Company (ABC)................................... ........................ 58
A B C A ccuW death er................................. .................................................. .. 58
AB C N ew s N ow ....................... ..... .... ....................... ....... ...... ............ 59
Colum bia Broadcasting System (CB S) .................... ..... ............................... .... 60
Fox Broadcasting Company, The CW Television Network, and My Network TV........62
Specialty D digital N etw ork s................................................................................... .......... .... 63
Qubo Network ................................. ................................. ......... 63
L A T V N etw o rk ............................................................................................................... 6 3
M otor Trend TV ................................................... ... .......... ........... 63
W orld Cham pionship Sports N etw ork ........................................ ........................ 64
Multicast (Standard-Definition) Business Model ............ .............................................64
M odel of Program Choice .............................................................. .......64
Dual Carriage in a M ulticast Environment.................................. ........................ 65
Advantages of M ulticasting............... .................... ............... .. ...............66
Improved affiliate/network relations: Complementarity........................................66
Creation of new national networks: Newness.......................................................66
Ability to target advertising to particular market segments: Utility observability
an d efficient cy .................................................................. ......................................6 7
Outlet for extended/enhanced news programming: Content distribution ...............68
Relatively inexpensive once infrastructure is in place: Technology cost ................68
Cross-market penetration: Complementarity ................................. ............... 69
Similar to existing business model: Compatibility ...............................................69
O their U ses of M ulticast Technology..................................................... ........................70
Digital signal used to air programming from different networks: Content
distribution .................................... ................... ..... .... ................ 70
Better carriage for low-power stations: Utility observability and efficiency ..........70
Revolutionary Uses of Multicast Technology .......................... .....................71
Broadcast of flight arrival and departure information: Newness ..........................71
Traffic reporting: N ew ness........................ ... .................................. ............... 71
Benefits to Advertisers Through Use of Multicast Technology................................71









Challenges of M ulticasting........................................................................................ 72
Securing the capability to digitally deliver a signal: Technology cost.....................72
Producing more with the same staff or same capital expenditure: Technology
cost ............... .... ..... .......... ........... ... ... .. .... ...... ............73
Acquiring programming to fill secondary channels: Complementarity...................73
Adding more channels does not mean there are more advertisers: Technology
c o st ............. ......... ... ..... ............ ... ..........................................7 3
Automation in a M ultichannel Operation........................................ ..... .......... 74
Ancillary Services............... .....................75
M edia Technology Characteristics ............................ .............................. ..................76
The Return Path Will Have Major Impact on Television Advertising............................76
Variations of Ancillary Services ................................ ......... ..............77
W RAL-TV 5: A Digital Pioneer......... ............. ....... .................... ............... 78
M ulticasting ............................ .. ..... .. .................. ...............79
Outlet for extended/enhanced news programming: Content distribution ...............79
Improved affiliate/network relations: Complementarity ...................................80
Relatively inexpensive once infrastructure is in place: Technology cost ................80
Datacasting: Newness/Utility Observability and Efficiency ............... ............ .....81
KUSA-TV 9: A High-Definition Newscast Pioneer ................................... .................83
H igh D definition ............................................. 83
Content Distribution ................. .............................. ..... ...... .. 83
Technology C ost.................... ....... .............. ............................ 84
Cable Is Using High-Definition Advantage in Battle With Satellite.................................. 84
U SD TV : A Low -Cost Alternative .......................................................... ............... 86
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................8...................7..........

3 METHODOLOGY ................................. ......... ....................... 89

D ata G gathering M ethod U sed ................................................................... ....... .................89
Selecting the Study P participants ..................................................................... ..................90
Pre-Interview Procedure ....................................................... ..... .............. 92
C conducting the Interview s .............................................................................. ............... 93
Research Questions and the A actual Interview s ........................................... .....................94
D ata A analysis ................................................... 97
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................9...................8..........

4 F IN D IN G S ................... ...................9...................9..........

Profile of Interview Participants ........................................................................ 100
Status of M ulticasting as of Interview .............. ........ ... ............. ............... 102
Viewpoints on USDTV: The Wireless Alternative to Cable......................................104
Reasons cited for why USDTV's business model was not viable .........................105
Reasons cited for why USDTV's business model could have been viable............07
Core Characteristics...... .......... ................................ .. ... ............... .. 108
Firm C haracteristics....... ........ .... ............................ .. ................ 108
Station affiliation ......... ............................................................ ... ....... ....... 108
O w nership group .................. ..................................... .. ........ .. 113


7









M edia Technology Characteristics ....................................................... ...... ......... 119
USDTV and its media technology characteristics.................................................119
C om plem entarities ....................... .. .................... ... .. ....... .... ............. 12 1
Technology cost ........................ ........ .. ...... ... .. ............. 124
Supporting Factors .................. .................. .................... .. .. ...... .............126
P perceived Strategic V alue................... ........ ............. ........ ..... ........................126
Methods of selling advertising on multicast channels: Stations currently
m ulticasting............................................................................... 126
Methods of selling advertising on multicast channels: Stations not currently
m u lticasting .................................... .. ........................................... 12 8
Managerial Knowledge/Incentives and Multicasting ...................................................129
Managerial Knowledge/Incentives and Ancillary Services .......................................131
Strategic N etw orks .................. ............................................ .... .. .... .. 133
N etw ork-broadcaster partnerships...................................... ........................ 133
Broadcaster-cable provider relationship........................ ..... ................. 134
Environmental Factors ................. .............. .. ............. .......... ...............143
Regulation of the Broadcast/Multichannel Video Programming Distribution
In du story .......................... ....................................14 3
Reasons cited for differing strategy ............................................ ............... 144
Reasons cited for not differing strategy ...................................... ............... 146
M market C onditions/Size ........ .............................................................. ............... 147
C om petition ......... ..... ............. .................................... ...........................149
Station v s. station .............................................................14 9
B roadcaster vs. cable operator ........................................ .......................... 150
Cable operator vs. cable operator..................................................................... 151
C on clu sion ......... .... .............. ......... ........................... ...........................153

5 D IS C U S S IO N ........................................................................................ 15 7

The M ulticast Business M odel ...................................... ............................................ 158
Weather Is the Most Popular Multicast Format, Particularly in the Larger Markets.... 158
M anagerial know ledge (supporting) ........................................... ............... .... 158
Media technology characteristics/technology cost (core) ....................................159
Smaller-Market Stations Are Multicasting My Network TV and The CW Network:
M market size (environm mental) ..............................................................................159
Networks Have a Limited Influence on Digital Model Adoption: Managerial
know ledge (supporting) .................................. .................................................... 160
Broadcast Ownership Group M akes a Difference....................................................... 161
Diverse strategic postures: Firm/entrepreneurship (core) ...................................161
Broadcast ownership groups are important in providing funding and support of
HD newscasts: Firm/entrepreneurship/organizational strategic traits (core)......162
Cable Industry as a Mediator of Strategy: Managerial knowledge and broadcaster-
cable provider relationship (supporting)............................................................... 162
USDTV Failed to Successfully Compete with Cable and Satellite Providers ............164
Com petition (environm ental) ...........................................................................164
M market conditions (environmental)............................................... ................... 164
Firm /entrepreneurship (core)............................................................. .................. 164


8









M market conditions (environmental)................................................ .................. 165
A ncillary Services/ D atacasting .................................................................................... ... 165
Current Federal Communications Commission Decision to Not Mandate Multicast
Cable Carriage......................... ..................... .. ... ...... ...............166
Mandate in Favor of Multicast Cable Carriage Would Be Significant .........................168
The Cable Industry Has Become a Gatekeeper: Competition (environmental) ..........168
Themes of Multicast Carriage ................. .. ..... .... ....................169
Multicast carriage theme 1: Broadcaster-cable provider relationship impacts
m u lticast carriag e ......................... ............ .............. ............. ... .............. 16 9
Multicast carriage theme 2: Affiliation and access to high-definition
programming influence multicast carriage..................................... ............... 173
Multicast carriage theme 3: Level of competition experienced by cable
operators influences multicast carriage ................................... ............... 175
L im station s of the Stu dy ................................................................. ....................... 175
A areas for Future R research ........................................................................ .. 176
M ulticasting ............................................................................................. ....... 177
A ncillary services ................................................ ........ ................. 178
M u lticast cab le carriag e ........................................... ........................................ 17 8
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................1...................7.........9

6 CONCLUSION................... .......... .......... ........... ............ .... 182

APPENDIX

A LIST O F K EY D EFIN ITIO N S............................................................................. ............183

B IN TRODU CTORY LETTER .......................................................................... ............... 185

C INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 1.............. ............... 187

D INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 2 ................ .......................189

E INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 3.............. ...............191

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S .................................................................................. ..................... 193

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ............................................................................. ....................203









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

4-1. Stations M ulticasting as of Interview Date.............................. ... ... ................. 102

4-2. Number and Format of Digital Streams Broadcast ................................... .................103

4-3. Time Frame for Non-Multicasters to Begin Multicasting ............................ 104

4-4. Reasons Why or Why Not that USDTV was a Viable Business Concept .........................105

4-5. Level of Influence of the Network over Local Multicasting ........................ .............109

4-6. Likelihood that Having a Big 4 Affiliation Will Influence Multicast Cable Carriage
More Than Will a Smaller Network or Independent Station ................ ................110

4-7. Multicasters' Views on the Effects of Network Affiliation and Broadcast Ownership
Group on Ability to Receive Cable Carriage................................................................ 113

4-9. Involvement of Ownership Group in Decision to Pursue Ancillary Services...................... 117

4-10. Type of In-House Programming Being Aired on Multicast Channels.............................120

4-11. Reasons Provided by Current Multicasters for Carrying This Combination of
P rog ram m in g ............................ .............................................................. ............... 12 1

4-12. Reasons Provided by Future Multicasters for Carrying This Combination of
P rog ram m in g ............................ .............................................................. ............... 12 3

4-13. Costs Involved in Carriage of M ulticast Channels ............................................................. 124

4-14. Current Multicasters' Methods of Selling Advertising ............................................... 127

4-15. Future M ulticasters' M ethods of Selling Advertising ........................................................ 128

4-16. Stations Planning to Offer Ancillary Services........................................ ............... 131

4-17. Type of Network Programming Being Aired on Multicast Channels.............................133

4-18. Rationale Provided for Voluntary Carriage of Multicast Channels .................................135

4-19. Multicasters Receiving Current Cable Carriage...........................................................138

4-20. Future Multicasters' Views on the Effects of the Broadcaster-cable relationship on the
ability of broadcasters to receive multicast Cable Carriage............................................142

4-21. Responses of Executives When Asked if Their Strategy Would Differ.............................143









4-22. Comments and Perceived Effects of Multicast Mandate for Broadcasters Claiming
Their Strategy W would D iffer ........................................................................ 144

4-23. Rationale Stations Gave for Not Differing Their Strategy ................................................146

4-24. Structure of Sales Team Selling M ulticast Channels ............................... ............... .148









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

2-1. Toward a theory of media firm innovation development and adoption. Source: Chan-
O lm sted, 2006, pg. 261, Fig. 12.2........................................................... ............... 33










Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication

TELEVISION BROADCASTERS' ADOPTION OF DIGITAL MULTICAST AND
ANCILLARY SERVICES: AN ANALYSIS OF THE PRIMARY CORE, SUPPORTING, AND
ENVIRONMENTAL DRIVERS



By

Todd Andrew Holmes

August 2008

Chair: Dr. David H. Ostroff
Major: Mass Communication

The digital technologies of multicasting and datacasting are bringing with them a plethora

of new challenges and opportunities for broadcasters. The researcher offers an exploratory look

into the dynamics of these new technologies by conducting intensive interviews with nine

television executives in four markets of varying size.

The researcher looks specifically at the core, supporting, and environmental factors

which are driving the adoption decisions made by broadcasters. Key considerations and themes

involved in selling the multicast channels and in remaining competitive in the digital age of

broadcasting are discussed. The limited adoption of ancillary services at this time and the

reasoning behind this finding are also analyzed.

The researcher found a number of themes pertaining to the market-based solutions

broadcasters are employing to deal with the issue of multicast cable carriage. These themes

illustrate the increasingly complex relationship between broadcasters and cable operators.










CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Digital television (DTV) (see Appendix A) is evolving into one of the most exciting and

dynamic technologies our nation has ever seen. The rollout of the technology did begin rather

slowly, but is now rapidly gaining momentum. The new broadcast standard will have a powerful

impact on broadcasters, cable and satellite providers, film and television producers, electronic

equipment manufacturers, and consumers. The potential is great as all of these parties try to

determine how to maximize the advantages while minimizing the challenges that this new and

dynamic technology provides.

Digital Television Rollout is Far Reaching

Digital television is the wave of the future. As stated by former Vice President Al Gore, in

his address at the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations,

the transition to digital represents "the greatest transformation in television history...one that is

truly bigger than the shift from black and white to color...It's like the difference between a one-

man band and a symphony" (Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital

Television Broadcasters, 1998). Popular culture is only now starting to become aware of the

superior image of high-definition (HD) television and the excellent sound-quality that this

technology produces. The public is discovering these benefits by seeing the technology on

display at various electronics retailers, restaurants, public venues, and at the homes of friends

and family. However, the public has yet to discover the impressive interactive capabilities of

digital television. People will soon realize that with a simple click of a button, they will be able

to immediately receive various product information concerning items on their television screens.










Commercial broadcasters are now well aware that in less than a year the analog spectrum

will be taken away by the federal government and DTV and its supporting services will be all

that they will have to offer. The time has come for broadcasters to start thinking about how to

craft their DTV infrastructure in order to garner a return on their massive digital investment.

With compression technology offering the promise of"HDTV and" rather than the threat of

"HDTV or," broadcasters are beginning to see ways to do more than HDTV (see Appendix A)

over their digital channels.

The transition to digital is leading station executives to becoming more or less bandwidth

managers instead of stewards of a one-channel broadcast. The spectrum of 6 MHZ will deliver

about 19.39 Mbps of material, which translates into 1 HD and two standard definition (SD) (see

Appendix A) channels or as many as four or five SD channels. It will become a balancing act for

executives as either more channels can be aired with poorer signal quality or fewer channels with

higher signal quality. This represents the major challenge behind what is known as multicasting

(see Appendix A), the simultaneous broadcast of two or more channels (programs) on one major

channel. The technology, many believe, will allow broadcasters to be able to compete more

effectively with cable and satellite operators as well as providers of newer technologies.

Broadcasters Face Competition from Various Sources

The revenue pie continues to shrink as the competition for eyeballs increases. Many are

now realizing that there might be far fewer stations in 10 years than the nearly 1,600 stations in

the United States currently. Even in the large markets, station managers are wondering if more

than three competing newscasts can remain viable. Local and national advertisers are finding

new and creative ways of getting exposure via alternate program and cable operators. According

to a recent study by Marian Azzaro, Professor of Marketing at Roosevelt University in Chicago,
15










advertisers would need to buy 42 percent more commercial inventory on the three major

networks than they did 10 years ago just to reach the same size audience today (Boston &

Brown, 2004).

The cable industry is not the only competitor. TV stations face increasingly intense

competition for the consumer's time from a plethora of other sources. "The biggest ones to

watch will be digital video recorders, video-on-demand, and handheld devices which are

delivering more content," said Chris Rohrs, president of the Television Bureau of Advertising.

Other interactive technologies, including the Internet and the video game industry, are also

siphoning off viewers from broadcast TV. In fact, the video gaming industry is a $28 billion

force that now rakes in more revenue than all commercial television in this country (Boston &

Brown, 2004).

Origins of Digital Television

For the past 65 years, television broadcasters have transmitted signals in an analog format.

This format, which was developed by the National Television Systems Committee in 1941, is

also known as the "NTSC standard." The format remained intact through the transition to color

television, provisions to enhance picture quality (and reduce "ghosting"), and the development of

closed captioning and stereophonic sound (Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations

of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998).

The invention of HDTV was a nearly thirty-year-long journey that began in the late 1960's

as an industrial goal to improve television technology. The Japanese started work on HDTV in

1970 under the leadership of Takashi Fujio of Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), Japan's state

broadcasting system. The research aimed to create a higher-quality picture, one with more vivid










color and greater detail. In addition, a major goal was to increase the psychological effects of the

medium to improve its use as a venue for advertising (Van Tassel, 2001).

It was not until July 1987 that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened an

inquiry into the possible introduction of an advanced television service in the United States. The

FCC then created an organization called the Advisory Committee on Advanced Television

Service (ACATS) to explore the economic, technical, and social implications of such a service.

The group, which was comprised of 28 volunteer members, set out to build a testing facility for

high-definition television known as the Advanced Television Testing Center in Alexandria, VA.

In early 1993, ACATS along with the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), an

industry group for which analog TV was named, reviewed four digital HDTV proposals and one

analog proposal. It was at this time that ACATS affirmed the superiority of digital over analog

although a specific digital proposal could not be agreed upon (Advisory Committee on Public

Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998). As a result of this debate, digital

television competitors decided to form a coalition called the Grand Alliance to pool their

expertise.

In May 1996, the FCC formally proposed adoption of the Grand Alliance standards and, in

December of that year, it adopted them with some changes. The standards included 18 distinct

formats, which was the best way for the FCC to appease the various parties involved,

broadcasters, computer companies, and consumer electronics manufacturers to name a few. The

plethora of formats were also used to provide for great flexibility in the use of digital television

as several versions of scanning formats, aspect ratios, and lines of resolution became available

(Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998).










In the end, the FCC recognized, but did not formally adopt, any one of the 18

recommended formats. Instead, it allowed broadcasters to use the scanning format that best

suited their needs. The FCC said in its April 3, 1997 Fifth Report and Order on A TV (Advanced

Television), "Since broadcasters have incentives to discover the preferences of consumers and

adapt their service offerings accordingly, we believe it is prudent to leave the choice up to

broadcasters so that they may respond to the demands of the marketplace" (Advisory Committee

on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998).

Included with this FCC order, a schedule for the rollout of DTV was set. The affiliates of

the four major networks, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC in the top ten markets were required to be

broadcasting a digital signal by May 1, 1999. Those network affiliates in markets 11 to 30 had to

be on the air by November 1, 1999, while all other commercial stations had to be digital by May

2002. PBS was required to be broadcasting in digital by May 2003 (Van Tassel, 2001).

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 established the framework for licensing DTV

spectrum to existing broadcasters. Broadcasters were assigned a new DTV license and were

given an additional 6 MHZ channel to facilitate the transition from analog to DTV. The original

6 MHZ channel for analog broadcasts will be retained until the expected completion of the

transition. Once the transition is complete, each licensee must return the channel to the FCC

(Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998).

Early High-Definition Broadcasts

October 29, 1998, the launch of the space shuttle Discovery, marks the date of the first live

news event to be broadcast in HD. The broadcast could be picked up in more than twenty

markets. In November 1998, the ABC station in Detroit aired an HD version of the film 101

Dalmatians which was seen by hundreds of curious people watching from electronics stores in
18










the area. In December 1998 and January 1999, CBS aired the first football games in HD in New

York City (Van Tassel, 2001).

The earliest HD programming was centered around special events, movies, and sports.

These types of programming capture an audience's attention especially well because they tend to

have a relatively large following and numerous visual details and audio can be showcased as

well. As far as early commercial adopters are concerned, Proctor and Gamble aired six high-

definition commercials in an experimental HDTV broadcast in 1999 (Van Tassel, 2001).

Consumer Adoption of Digital Television Technology

As of September 4, 2007, there were 1625 television stations in 211 markets broadcasting

a digital signal. Nearly 99 percent of TV households in the United States have access to at least

one local digital station (TVB, 2007).

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, around 30 percent of US households

have at least one HDTV, with a third of these households owning more than one (Robbins,

2007). This represents a solid increase over the roughly 7 percent of households that owned

HDTV sets in 2004 (Lieberman, 2006). Nearly 16 million HD sets are expected to have been

sold by the end of 2007, which brings the cumulative total to 52.5 million HD households in the

U.S. (Robbins, 2007). The average price of either a plasma or liquid crystal display (LCD) TV is

$1,881 while an average projection TV costs $1877 (PriceGrabber.com, 2006). In looking at the

price issue, Kagan Research Associate Analyst Patrick Johnson, had this to say, "We project the

average price of an HD set will decline some 38 percent by 2010, reducing the price to $1,139."

The rapid price declines, in conjunction with increasing levels of HD programming, are sure to

significantly drive up the total number of HD households over the next few years (Business Wire

Inc., 2006).










Another research firm, Leichtman Research Group, had made some other estimates as to

the rapid growth of digital TV in its report HDTV 2006: Consumer Awareness, Interest and

Ownership. Some 92 percent of adults had heard of HDTV, up from 86 percent in 2004. In

addition, HDTV set sales were the highest among wealthy consumers. The average household

income of an HDTV owner was $89,500, which was 42 percent above the national average. This

figure had not changed even as prices had fallen some 30 percent for plasma HDTV's and 15

percent for LCD models (Lieberman, 2006).

Comparison of Adoption of High-Definition TV to That of Color TV

Schubin (2003) compared the adoption of HDTV to that of NTSC color back in 1953. The

first HDTVs and the first NTSC color receivers both appeared a year after their approval by the

FCC. Also, HDTVs, at first, were very expensive as were the first NTSC color televisions,

which cost $1,295 at a time when a brand new Ford cost $1,695.

Although there are similarities, the transition to digital television has moved quicker than

the transition from black and white to color. First of all, the initial HDTV sets, while expensive,

were relatively less expensive than the first NTSC color sets. The higher prices ofNTSC sets led

to a slower adoption of the new technology by consumers when compared to the adoption of

digital sets. Second, it took even longer for color programming to be broadcast than HDTV. A

full decade passed before NTSC color was broadcast, quite a bit longer than the first digital

broadcast. Third, the reception of HDTV is improving at a faster pace as reception problems

were abundant in the rollout of NTSC color. In 1967, IEEE Spectrum noted that NTSC should

have stood for "Never Twice the Same Color" as severe reception problems kept many other

countries from adopting the US system. Overall, the transition to NTSC color took more than a










quarter century and while the digital transition is taking some time, it will be complete much

sooner than that of NTSC color (Schubin, 2003).

Although faster than the rollout of NTSC color, the conversion to digital television

technology began at a very slow pace. It was not until early 2003 that it seemed likely that the

technology rollout would, in fact, take place. Proulx (2004) discussed the rapid adoption of

digital television and the chain of events that have taken place since early 2003. First of all, new

HDTV sports channels were introduced which led to the creation of digital production studios,

broadcast centers, and HDTV production trucks. Sports programming has been an exceptionally

powerful driver for the creation of new facilities because so much of this type of content is live.

Second, because of the increased development of digital facilities and infrastructure, a larger

variety of more cost-effective broadcast equipment and HDTV sets have become available.

Third, non-sports channels have begun working on and are developing their own HDTV plans

because of the more cost-effective equipment available and because many more people are

buying HDTV sets due to their lower cost. Fourth, cable and satellite providers are encouraged

to carry HDTV programming and have been using the technology to help add to their subscriber

base. This has, in turn, led to an increase in the amount of HD programming carried by both the

networks and local affiliates. The key to the chain reaction is that it has been driven by

consumers' appetite for HDTV content and their desire to purchase the equipment necessary to

view it.

Consumer Adoption of Interactive Services

According to Stump (2005), only 34.1 million households subscribed to some form of

interactive service, whether it was in the form of direct-response advertising, games, or home

shopping. The number of households subscribing to interactive services is expected to reach 69
21










million by 2009. However, even with this doubling of households, the total revenue from

interactive services will only amount to $2.4 billion, as estimated by Kagan Research. For

comparison's sake, Google recorded nearly $6 billion in advertising revenue in 2004. The search

engines have gotten consumers into the habit of interacting online. Cable companies hope that

this behavior by consumers will lead to the use of remote controls to click on interactive TV ads.

High-Definition Gains Momentum

Several elements have aligned to make high-definition technology finally materialize for

content providers and distributors. On the content side, cameras were introduced that were

native in both 720p and 1080i (see Appendix A for a discussion of scanning and lines of

resolution). This has allowed remote trucks, programming, and production vendors to the

networks, to invest in HD equipment, as they no longer have to invest in two types of cameras or

expensive conversion equipment to serve the separate ABC/FOX (720p format) and CBS/NBC

(1080i format) camps. Secondly, HD equipment has dropped enough in price that there is a

chance of making the investment pay off sooner rather than later. On the distribution side, ABC,

CBS, and NBC are offering all prime time programming in HD (Boston & Brown, 2004).

Consumer Education

Despite the momentum that the digital transition now has, consumers still remain quite

confused as to the transition and what it means to them.

Current Figures on Consumer Understanding of Digital TV

A 2006 survey, conducted by research firm ICR, found that although more stations were

offering digital signals than ever before, 61 percent of survey participants had no idea the digital

television transition was taking place. Only 25 percent of respondents said they were somewhat

aware or very aware of the digital transition (Cripps, 2007).
22










When looking at high definition television specifically, there is a general lack of

understanding both for shoppers and owners of HD television sets, according to the results of a

survey conducted in August 2007 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media Omnibus Services.

Nearly 32 percent of those surveyed claimed they had no understanding of HD television while

56 percent said they had a moderate understanding. In contrast, only 11 percent of general

consumers claimed to have had a complete understanding of HD television. The phone

interviews also illustrated confusion on the part of consumers as to how to receive HD on their

sets. Nearly 39 percent of respondents did not identify an HD-ready set as a requirement to

receive the superior image and sound quality of HD. In addition, some 44 percent did not know

they needed access to HD programming or an antenna in order to receive an HD signal ("Poll

Finds," 2007).

Consumers Not Very Familiar with Interactive TV

An older study, conducted by Ipsos-Insight, looked into interactive television (ITV), one of

the so-called "ancillary services" (see Appendix A). The study concluded that even after 10

years of hype, only 50 percent of Americans had even heard of ITV. Furthermore, only 11

percent said they were "somewhat familiar" or "very familiar" with it. When asked about how

interested people were in ITV activities, the most popular feature mentioned was the ability to

control camera angles. This was indicated by just 26 percent of adults. One of the favorite

features of ITV developers has been that of playing games against other viewers. However, this

feature only excited 15 percent of the respondents to the survey. As stated by Lynne Bartos, who

works in the Cable, Media, and Entertainment research division of Ipsos, "ITV content providers

and programmers have their work cut out for them to raise awareness levels, improve consumer










understanding, and get consumers excited about the features and benefits of interactive TV"

(Swann, 2004).

Voluntary Actions to Increase Awareness

A key element in facilitating the transition from analog to digital is ensuring that

consumers are aware of the transition. In April 2002, FCC Chairman Michael Powell drafted a

proposal calling for voluntary actions to speed the transition to digital by increasing consumer

awareness. The Chairman asked broadcast stations to use their analog channels to help promote

their digital channels. Also, cable systems were asked to market their DTV programming and

products to consumers on the air and in customers' monthly bills. Furthermore, Powell asked for

point-of-sale marketing of broadcast, cable, and satellite digital options by DTV equipment

manufacturers and retail outlets (United States General Accounting Office, 2002).

As a result of the proposal, the 10 largest cable operators said they would do more to

advertise and market their value-added DTV programming. Consumer electronics makers said

they would embark on a national public awareness campaign to promote digital set-top boxes

and that they would use point-of-sale promotions. In addition, the FCC itself provides

information on its website and through the call center of its Consumer & Governmental Affairs

Bureau (United States General Accounting Office, 2002).

To serve as an example of a specific initiative by cable companies and electronics

manufacturers, the Marketer's Council of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for

Marketing (CTAM) and Samsung Electronics partnered in an effort to educate consumers about

HDTV and its many benefits. CTAM, which is comprised of eight cable companies including

Adelphia, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Insight Communications, Mediacom

Communications, and Time Warner Cable, launched a three-tiered approach to educating
24










consumers on HDTV. First, the organization targeted consumers with a series of sports-oriented

television commercials that showed the enhanced experience a viewer can have by watching a

sporting event in HD. Second, it launched an interactive online guide to digital television which

can be found at samsungusa.com/dtvguide/. Third, CTAM placed banner ads promoting HDTV

on many popular websites, including BusinessWeek.com and NYTimes.com ("Samsung, CTAM

Hope," 2004).

Public Safety Concerns

A large part of the transition to digital is centered around public safety concerns. Moving

television broadcasters to a digital spectrum will open up the analog spectrum to be used by the

government and public safety officials.

First Responders Need Analog Spectrum

When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the fire chiefs

responding to the scene had no way of communicating with the police. New York City police

officers heard the warnings from police helicopters circling overhead while firefighters and fire

chiefs, including special operations chief Ray Downey, heard nothing. These communications

breakdowns prompted the 9/11 commission to recommend that broadcasters quickly vacate four

television channels for public safety; however, it has yet to occur (Clark, 2005).

The slow transition has been frustrating for some, such as Thomas Kean, who headed the

9/11 Commission. He declared at a Washington news conference on Sept. 14, 2005, "It is a

scandal...that four years after 9/11 we have not yet set aside spectrum to ensure reliable

communications during attacks or disasters. We cannot go through this again. If Congress does










not act, people will die" (Shields, 2005). Senator John McCain agreed and asked, "What level of

crisis must we endure before we act" (Shields, 2005)?

Over-the-air Television Critical During Emergencies

Broadcasters try not to publicly oppose the notion of turning spectrum over to first

responders. However, they worry about losing a large chunk of their audience, the 21 million

households who rely on over-the-air signals and would need additional equipment in order to

receive digital signals. Many of these people are lower-income households. According to the

United States General Accounting Office (2005), 48 percent of the households that relied on

over-the-air signals had incomes under $30,000. In addition, non-white and Hispanic households

were more likely to rely on over-the-air television than were white and non-Hispanic households.

This profile described many of the people stuck in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

These residents, in a post-analog world, would not have been able to receive a television signal

without additional equipment; and, therefore, would not have been informed as to the latest

details on the hurricane. "We make the point that broadcasters play a critical role in times of

peril," said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.

"Broadcasters are undoubtedly a lifeline service" (Shields, 2005).

In Free Over-The-Air Saves the Day, Michael Silbergleid (2004) gives a personal account

of the importance of having over-the-air television. As he was riding out Hurricane Frances in

Palm Beach County Florida, he switched to over-the-air television as both his cable and DirecTV

service went out. He found out relevant information about the storm and knew that his house

would have to endure another seven hours of hurricane-force winds. When the power went out,

he switched to a battery-operated analog TV/radio for more over-the-air reception. Silbergleid

26










makes the point that during weather emergencies, there is only one place where people can tune

in to see Doppler radar and get the latest information on a storm, free, over-the-air television. He

continues by saying that free, over-the-air saves lives (Silbergleid, 2004).

New Digital Technologies Enhance Consumer Safety

Despite the debate over the transition from analog to digital and its impact on consumer

safety, several initiatives are in place to utilize digital signals to enhance consumer safety. New

Jersey Network (NJN) and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM) have

instituted a communications system that sends emergency messages at high speed to desktop

personal computers. These messages are sent via NJN Public Television's digital broadcast

signal ("DTV and Homeland," 2003).

Furthermore, new digital technologies have led to the development of innovative devices

that assist law enforcement and public safety officials in maintaining the security of their

districts. New technology includes such devices as handheld police video gear that can capture,

send, and receive images from a crime scene. Another new technology device is a car-mounted

navigation unit that picks up traffic reports, receives street-by-street information, and calculates

alternate routes for drivers (Clark 2005).

Purpose and Value of This Research

The purpose of this research study is to see which factors are most significant in both

driving broadcast outlets to adopt the digital technologies of multicasting and ancillary services

as well as the form that these services will take. As television executives are confronted with

many challenges and difficult decisions, these new technologies will allow for a flexibility and

complexity previously unseen in the industry. Various market variables and stations in four

27










markets will be analyzed and compared to see what differences exist and why. The rationale that

station management is using to make certain adoption decisions will be assessed. Focus will be

placed on the network-affiliate relationship as well as the broadcast ownership group-local

station relationship. Will affiliates simply carry out the digital hopes of their networks and

ownership groups or will they be more locally focused? What will the factors be that will direct

their decisions? A comparison of market size will be looked at as well to see if market size has

any bearing over whether a station will adopt local programming or a digital network

arrangement instead with respect to their multicast channels. In addition to video streams,

various other services, known as ancillary services, will be looked at as well such as datacasting

(see Appendix A), subscription television, teletext, and interactive services. The various forms

of these services that managers choose will be examined in addition to the rationale that they will

use to decide upon which services to pursue. Also, the impact of current FCC regulations

regarding the carriage of multicast channels and ancillary services will be explored. How are

stations combating these regulations and managing to receive voluntary cable carriage of their

digital streams?

Because of the tremendous potential of digital television and its critical impact on the

broadcast industry, an overview and comparison of various stations' adoption of digital services

and will prove to be very valuable. This type of information will provide television executives

with a roadmap as to what factors they need to assess before making their own adoption

decisions. It is critical for station managers to utilize their digital bandwidth appropriately if they

are to remain competitive. If, for instance, one station in a market successfully develops a local










digital news channel and the other stations in the market simply allow this to happen without

developing any digital services of their own, it is likely that these other stations would lose some

of their audience to this new digital offering. In another scenario, say that a local station begins

to offer data over the television. At several points throughout the day, people could view stock

quotes or possibly retrieve a different camera angle during a sporting event. These advantages

would eventually begin to penetrate the market providing this local station with increased market

share and increased revenues.

Conclusion

Digital television technology has reached all segments of our society. Although it began as

an industrial goal, it now has finally achieved the momentum that industry pioneers dreamed of

years ago. This research study will uncover the various factors stations are considering as part of

their strategies to build audience share and gain profit from these new capabilities. Before

looking into the investigator's research, a detailed literature review was conducted to understand

all facets of this technological phenomenon.










CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

The literature review begins with a look at the proposed framework of new media adoption

by media firms. This framework consists of eight sets of variables that have an impact on the

adoption of new media technologies by media companies. The sets of variables are divided into

three areas: core, supporting, and environmental. These drivers are introduced and applied to

multicasting and ancillary services, the technologies which are the focus of this research study.

Following this framework, the social movement theory is discussed, a theory that helps to

explain the adoption of digital television industry-wide. The review of the social movement

theory is followed by the results of a research study that looked into the differences which

existed between television stations and their readiness to explore digital television. The study

took into account a number of variables, including market size, network affiliation, broadcast

ownership group, and the role of the respondent within his/her broadcast operation.

Upon conclusion of the discussion of the study, a comprehensive overview of a series of

FCC regulations related to digital television and the limitations to which broadcasters, cable

providers, satellite companies, and other video suppliers have and will have to adhere. This

section closes with a brief discussion of retransmission consent.

In the following section, the digital initiatives put forth by the major networks, NBC, ABC,

and CBS are reviewed. This includes such existing digital channels as NBC Weather Plus as

well as those yet to be developed, such as CBS 2. Also, the specialty digital-only networks,

Qubo, LATV, Motor Trend TV, and World Championship Sports Network.










After discussing the digital networks, multicasting, otherwise known as the SD business

model, is focused on in addition to ancillary services. This overview begins with the model of

program choice, which predicts that the diversity of programs offered to viewers should increase

as the number of channels increases. Following discussion of the model of program choice, the

effects of the multicast model on the business of television advertising, the advantages that such

a technology bring to table for broadcasters, and various uses of multicasting, including several

revolutionary ones, are detailed. Also, several benefits to advertisers through the use of the SD

business model are discussed. In addition to the advantages of multicasting, the challenges that

this new technology presents are also reviewed, including the complexities involved in

automating multiple broadcast channels. Following a thorough review of the multicast business

model, ancillary services are highlighted. Some focus is placed on the utility of the technology

in the future.

The next section of this chapter investigates the actions of two pioneers of the digital age,

WRAL TV and KUSA TV. First, the successful strategies of WRAL both in utilizing

multicasting and ancillary services to build station revenue are assessed. Second, the production

and broadcast of local HD programming at KUSA and the advantages and challenges resulting

from this technology are discussed.

After the focus on WRAL and KUSA has been completed, the researcher investigates the

battle that cable is in with direct broadcast satellite (DBS) for subscribers. Focus is placed on the

advantage that cable has in its better capability of carrying HD in addition to the SD signals of

broadcasters.










In the final section of Chapter 2, the researcher looks at USDTV, the low-cost wireless

alternative to cable that is now out of business. The details of the service are highlighted as well

the challenges it faced in trying to gain market share.

Proposed Framework of New Media Adoption by Media Firms

In looking at the adoption of multicasting and ancillary services by television stations, it is

critical to begin by detailing a framework designed to understand the various factors that interact

to determine the likelihood of adoption as well as the form the adoption will take. As seen in

Figure 2-1, there are eight sets of factors that affect this adoption. They are as follows: firm and

media technology characteristics, strategic networks, perceived strategic value, available

alternatives, market conditions, competition, and regulation/policy. These eight sets are split into

three larger groupings: core (firm and media technology characteristics), supporting (perceived

overall strategic value, alternatives available, and strategic networks/partnerships), and

environmental (market conditions, competition, and regulation/policy) (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

These three groupings and their associated sets will serve as the theoretical backbone of this

study.

Core Factors

Firm and media technology characteristics make up the two sets of core media firm

adoption variables.

Firm characteristics

The characteristics of a firm have a strong impact on the adoption strategies of new media

technologies. There are seven firm characteristics that come into play. They are as follows:











Firm Characteristics
*Organizational strategic
traits
o Prospector
o Analyzer
o Defender
o Reactor
*Entrepreneurship
o Pro-activeness
o Autonomy
o Innovativeness
o Risk-taking propensity
o Competitive
aggressiveness
*Competitive Repertoire
o Range
o Concentration
o Dominance
*Current new media
holdings
*Historical performance
*Size

U


- U ~


Media Technology
Adoption
-Whether to adopt
-Timing of adoption
-Intensity of adoption
-Compatible adoption
-Complementary
adoption
-Reinventing adoption

t


Regulation/
Policy


Core Supporting Environmental
Figure 2-1. Toward a theory of media firm innovation development and adoption. Source:
Chan-Olmsted, 2006, pg. 261, Fig. 12.2.


Perceived Strategic Value
*Market segmentation, low cost,
or differentiation
*Cost cuts, revenue increase,
or synergistic value


Market Conditions
*Growth
*Diversity
*Uncertainty
(User adoption of the
technology)


Media Technology
Characteristics
Compatibility to adopted
media technologies
*Complementarities to
adopted media technologies
*Functional similarity to
existing new media holdings
*Newness to firms and to
consumers
*Utility observability to
firms and to consumers
*Efficiency offered
*Content distribution or
enhancement utility
*Lock-in potential
*Need for network
externalities
*Technolovg Cost


Strategic
Networks/Partnerships


-


t


ME*









organizational strategic traits, degree of entrepreneurship, competitive repertoires, current new

media holdings, historical performance, firm size, and firm age.

The organizational strategic traits can be divided into four groups: prospector, analyzer,

defender, and reactor (Miles & Snow, 1978). Prospectors constantly look for new market

opportunities and are typically the first to offer a particular product to a market. Defenders focus

their attention on dominating a particular market segment and tend to have a stable customer

base. Analyzers occupy a position that falls in between prospectors and defenders as they

carefully monitor the prospectors while safeguarding a stable customer base. Reactors have a

short-term focus and act in response to actions taken by their competitors (Zahra & Pearce,

1990).

The likelihood of a firm acting in an entrepreneurial way is the next factor to be

considered. This likelihood is based on a variety of characteristics which may include,

proactiveness, risk-taking propensity, innovativeness, autonomy, and competitive

aggressiveness. When considering these characteristics, it is paramount that a media firm

determine whether it has a core content or a distribution product. For a firm focused on core

content, creativity and innovativeness might be the best measures of entrepreneurship. To the

contrary, a firm focused on a distribution product might look at the likelihood of the company

taking a risk as the best measure of its entrepreneurial spirit (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

Competitive repertoires are a combination of market decisions within a given year to grow

and maintain a customer base. They can be evaluated across three dimensions, range,

concentration, and dominance. Range refers to the selection of market actions undertaken by a

firm whereas concentration refers to the degree to which repertoires tend to be focused on a few









main types of actions. Dominance indicates the level to which a firm depends on its most

common type of market action (Miller & Chen, 1996).

A media firm's current new media holdings might also serve as an indicator of the

likelihood of a firm adopting additional new media technology. The firm might acquire

experience that will help in its future adoption decision-making process.

Historical performance could come into play as it serves as an indication of the resources a

firm has for releasing a new media technology. This factor also emphasizes potential areas

which need attention.

Firm size, according to Christensen and Bower (1996), is sometimes a liability when it

comes to innovation adoption. Larger firms tend to focus on providing products to their existing

customer base rather than looking to reach new customers with new products. The newer the

product the more likely it will be brought to market by new entrants.

Firm age might be a limiting factor in the flexibility of a firm to adjust its strategy and in

its likelihood to take risks. It also can be a positive factor in that it equates to more established

resources and experience (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

These various firm characteristics describe the affiliations and ownership groups to which

broadcast stations belong. The organizational strategic traits, degree of entrepreneurship,

competitive repertoire, current media holdings, historical performance, size, and age are all

relevant factors that collectively describe a particular affiliation or ownership group.

Media technology characteristics

In addition to the characteristics of media firms, the nature of a new media technology is

also important. The characteristics of a new media technology influence the propensity of a

media firm adopting one of the new technologies. The first three factors are compatibility,

complementarities, and functional similarity to the current media products that the firm offers.









The value that a new media technology may have to a firm can be first demonstrated by the level

of disruption that the new technology causes as it is integrated into the existing organization.

The level of compatibility of the new media technology to the existing product line offered by a

firm is one consideration. The second factor, complementarities, refers to cases in which a

bundle of goods provides more value than consuming goods separately (Brandenburger &

Nalebuff, 1996). The degree of complementarity provides a look into how the technology might

add value to an organization. In the case of multicasting, the additional digital streams translate

into added value to a broadcast outlet in that the additional channels mean a larger variety of

content available for viewers. The additional content should translate into an increase in

advertising revenue. The third factor, functional similarity, illustrates the new product's level of

substitutability from the standpoint of consumers. Specifically, how a new technology is

perceived by consumers as being able to satisfy needs similar to those currently being fulfilled

by an existing technology (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

A technology innovation can also be analyzed by examining its degree of newness to the

market, firm, or a combination of the two. The newer the technology the greater the uncertainty

and the more apprehensive a firm will be to invest in the technology. Booz, Allen, & Hamilton

(1982) suggested six levels of product innovativeness: cost reduction, repositionings,

improvements in existing products, additions to existing product lines, new product lines, and

new-to-the-world products. Cost reduction refers to new products that provide similar

performance at a lower cost. Repositionings are new products targeted at new markets or new

market segments. Improvements in existing products refers to new products that provide better

performance or enhanced perceived value such as digital cable. Additions to existing product

lines are new products that supplement a firm's established product lines such as a broadcaster's









streaming news online. New product lines refer to new products that allow a firm to penetrate an

established market for the first time such as the adoption of satellite radio by Sirius. New-to-the-

world products are new products that create a completely new market such as the introduction of

dial-up Internet services (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

In addition, an innovation can be characterized by its effect on established consumer

consumption behavior (Robertson, 1967). There are three classification types of innovations: a

continuous innovation, a dynamically continuous innovation, and a discontinuous innovation. A

continuous innovation is one with characteristics that generate little disruption in consumers'

consumption behaviors. A dynamically continuous innovation is one that creates some

disruption although it does not alter the consumption pattern. A discontinuous innovation, on the

other hand, is a new product that obligates a consumer to establish new consumption behaviors

(Robertson, 1967).

A media firm's adoption decision is likely to be affected by the supposed utility and

efficiency shown by the technology. The utility of moving to digital television might not be as

apparent when contrasted with the utility of taking on a new technology that results in new sales

revenues (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

It has been stated by many that content plays an important role in a media market (Owen &

Wildman, 1992). It is probable that a new media technology, which in some way advances the

delivery of a content product or improves the allure of a content product, will increase its

likelihood of being adopted (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

Lock-in pertains to the capacity of a service to develop powerful incentives for repeat

transactions, thus preventing the migration of customers to competitors (Amit & Zott, 2001).

For instance, a new media technology that requires more upfront equipment investment by a









consumer is likely to achieve higher probability of lock-in. In addition, network externalities are

defined as a change in the benefit or consumer surplus that consumers derive from a product

when more consumers purchase the product (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

The technology cost factor definitely affects a media firm's decision whether to adopt or

not adopt a new technology. As a result of the uncertainty of a new technology, even media

firms with plentiful resources might choose not to adopt a particular innovation if it is too costly

(Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

Supporting Factors

Perceived overall strategic value, managerial knowledge of and incentives to seek

alternatives, and strategic networks/partnerships comprise the three sets of supporting media firm

adoption variables. As far as strategic networks/partnerships are concerned, it is proposed that

the broadcaster-cable provider relationship will serve as one of the most influential variables of

all those listed in the media adoption framework. The fact that cable is the multichannel video

program distributor (MVPD) through which the majority of U.S. households receive their

programming make this relationship especially significant.

Strategic networks

Strategic networks are essential because they can supply a firm with access to information,

resources, markets, technologies, credibility, and legitimacy (Cooper, 2001; Gulati, et al., 2000).

This is especially critical for new media firms that possess new technologies and attempt to

commercialize them. Established media corporations might benefit through access to

technologies and learning/sharing of information. Alliances or strategic networks are

particularly important for smaller innovative firms because such partnerships offer access to

financial/marketing resources and scale/scope economies (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).









Perceived strategic value

The value of a new media technology can be evaluated by analyzing its perceived

contribution to a firm's overall strategic posture. Porter (1980) suggested that there are three

major strategic approaches: market segmentation, low cost, and differentiation. Certain

technologies might provide more utility in accomplishing that objective than others depending

upon the firm's current strategic goals (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

Managerial knowledge of and incentives to seek alternatives

Innovation adoption might be affected by a manager's knowledge of alternatives from his

or her previous experience or through an investigation of his or her competitors. Internally, past

performance, breadth of managerial experience, and firm age/size are expected to effect

managerial incentives and knowledge. Externally, market diversity, growth, and uncertainty can

feasibly influence the incentives and knowledge affiliated with various innovation options

(Miller & Chen, 1996).

Environmental Factors

Chan-Olmsted (2006) in her proposed framework of new media adoption, discusses market

conditions, competition, and regulation/policy as the three sets of environmental media firm

adoption variables. Environmental variables such as market growth, diversity, and uncertainty

make up the condition of the market and affect a firm's needs to adopt a new media technology.

The degree to which a new technology is adopted has a profound impact on the overall condition

of that market. In the case of digital television, it is proposed that market size is a powerful

factor included as part of the market conditions set. In examining the variable of competition,

Goel and Rich (1997) analyzed the incentives for private firms to adopt new technologies. They

found that companies facing increased product market competition have a greater likelihood of

adopting technological innovations. In general, the research literature suggests that a positive









relationship exists between innovativeness and both market turbulence/uncertainty and

competition. In the case of the adoption of multicasting and ancillary services, it is proposed that

there are three major types of competition: broadcaster to broadcaster, broadcaster to cable

operator, and cable operator to cable operator.

New Media Technology Adoption

The first level of an adoption decision is whether to adopt a new media technology.

Researchers have argued that the innovation adoption rate cannot be fully described by

examining the relationship between the decision to adopt and a series of internal factors, the

timing and intensity of adoption must also be considered (Dong & Saha, 1998).

The timing of an adoption is many times a strategy of holding back until more information

is available. The value of waiting might be relative to the probable expenses associated with

reversing the decision, fixed costs of adoption, and the likelihood that the new technology will be

unprofitable (Dong & Saha, 1998).

Another factor that needs consideration is the intensity of the adoption. The adoption of

new media technology at the firm level ranges from compatible, complementary, phasing, and

reinventing adoption. A firm may adopt a new technology using one or more of these

approaches or it could experience all four of these phases progressively. A compatible adoption

would probably require the slightest amount of firm competency and entrepreneurial quality and

take less time to adopt because the focus would be on making the new media technology

conform to the existing product and operating systems. A complementary adoption requires

more competency, entrepreneurial quality, and time than a compatible adoption. This type of

adoption focuses on the existing product, but it equates to a more proactive use of the new

technology's benefits. A phasing adoption takes place when a firm elects to invest and

commercialize a new media technology over time, but carefully phases out an existing platform.









This decision takes even more competency, entrepreneurial quality, and time. Lastly,

reinvention adoption pertains to revising or using a technology for new intentions for which it

was not initially designed. This type of adoption decision requires the greatest level of

competency, entrepreneurial quality, and time (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

Social Movement Theory

Now that the framework for new media adoption has been discussed, this section focuses

on a theory of the social influence of outside entities on the development of digital television. In

social movement theory, change in institutions, such as technological standards, are brought

about by individuals and organizations. It is not the innovation alone that determines the

evolution of an industry, but the individuals and their actions behind the innovation that make the

difference. Social movement theory hinges on collective action, the banding together of

individuals or organizations to bring about change in an institution (Dowell, Swaminathan, &

Wade, 2002).

Dowell, Swaminathan, and Wade (2002) used social movement theory as a template from

which to view the actions firms take to activate resources and generate support from important

players, such as suppliers, customers, and regulatory agencies. It is the creation of a new

organizational form comprised of all of these constituents that signifies the social movement

process. Collective action is often necessary to take advantage of the opportunities made

possible by new technologies.

Collective action frames are combinations of unified beliefs that substantiate the presence

of social movements. Frames are the result of strategic efforts by various groups to design

common perceptions of the world that "legitimate and motivate collective action" (Dowell,

Swaminathan, & Wade, 2002). In the case of digital television, broadcasters used their fight

with land mobile companies as the basis of their first framing attempt. Broadcasters claimed that









television as a medium would be compromised if spectrum were given to the land mobile

companies, a frame that was not considered legitimate and, therefore, failed. However, in the

second framing attempt, broadcasters were much more successful. They focused their attention

on Japan and its NHK system as a major threat to the United States and its economy. By

focusing on the foreign threat and creating a sense of urgency, broadcasters were able to generate

collective action and bring together the FCC, Congress, and electronics manufacturers in an

effort to protect the spectrum used by broadcasters (Dowell, Swaminathan & Wade, 2002).

After the Grand Alliance was formed and the organization began making progress on an

HDTV standard, two obstacles emerged. The first challenge came from the computer industry as

digital broadcasts clouded the disparity between computers and televisions. The second obstacle

resulted from various broadcasters and their different views as to the best use of digital television

technology. Broadcasters began to fight over whether HDTV or digital television, in the form of

multicasting and/or ancillary services, was the better standard to pursue. These two challenges

illustrate how difficult it is to maintain collective action as open system technologies, like

HDTV, evolve (Dowell, Swaminathan & Wade, 2002).

According to Tushman and Rosenkopf (1992), sociopolitical processes have more impact

during times of change when many potential technological options exist, especially in the

development of open system technologies (as cited in Dowell, Swaminathan & Wade, 2002).

The focus on an external threat and the identification of new market opportunities encourage

industry players to react in a collective manner. Various standards designed by industry partners

and regulatory entities are then used to select one technological option. This initial alternative

may evolve to become a hybrid of technologies from two different industries, resulting in the

immersion of companies from other industries proposing new technical criteria into the selection









process. Subsequently, new alternative uses for the technology may be discovered, resulting in a

dissolution of the initial collective action frame (Dowell, Swaminathan & Wade, 2002).

Broadcasters and Their Entry into the Digital Age

Broadcasters are facing a challenging time that is fraught with opportunity. One of the

biggest challenges for broadcasters is learning how to exploit the new capabilities of digital

television without investing an excessive amount of time or money.

To look into the readiness of broadcasters to enter the digital age, Jeffrey Oberg (2000), a

researcher at the University of Tennessee, conducted surveys with television station managers

and engineers. The mail survey, which was conducted between April 2, 1999 and June 1, 1999,

targeted general managers at affiliates of the four major networks. The findings of the study

indicated a shift between how broadcasters defined themselves then and how they would in the

future. At the time of the survey, only 6.9 percent of station executives defined themselves

currently as information providers whereas, in the future, 33.5 percent of the respondents would

classify themselves as information providers. Furthermore, the respondents who classified

themselves as information providers were more interested in providing digital services,

particularly data enhancement, pager service, and interactive television.

In looking into planning for digital broadcasting, television stations in the top-30 markets

were found to be further along. This was the case both in their planning to purchase digital

equipment as well as their plan to be more enmeshed in digital technology within two years of

commencing digital broadcasting. In addition, the stations that produced 20.5 hours or more of

local programming were more likely to be further along in the planning process. However, the

majority of respondents to the survey were only considering the purchase of a digital transmitter

when asked about overall planning for digital broadcasting (Oberg, 2000).









The planning for digital broadcasting is mainly conducted at the local level. For both

digital equipment purchasing and digital programming, most television executives stated that

decision making was split evenly between corporate and local. However, for both programming

and equipment purchasing, more respondents indicated decisions were either "totally local" or

"mostly local/some corporate" than respondents who indicated they were "totally corporate" or

"mostly corporate/some local" (Oberg, 2000).

There were also differences apparent between general managers and engineers in their

perceptions of planning for digital broadcasting. Engineers felt that their respective stations were

further along in planning than did general managers. While no differences were apparent

between general managers and engineers in the area of digital purchasing, engineers felt that they

were further ahead in planning for digital programming than general managers (Oberg, 2000).

In addition, stations with certain network affiliations felt that they were further along in

planning for digital programming than stations of other affiliations. CBS affiliates believed to be

further along in planning for digital programming than were affiliates of ABC, NBC, and Fox

(Oberg, 2000).

In summary, the study shows that differences are apparent in the lengths to which

television stations will go to capitalize on the digital revolution. Differences are seen when both

market size and a manager's classification (broadcaster or information provider) of his/her

station are considered. The study concludes by stating that the amount of future information

providers will grow as digital technology becomes increasingly widespread (Oberg, 2000).

Regulation/Federal Communications Commission Rulings

As the regulation of the industry has a critical impact upon the digital business model that

stations will incorporate into their existing business operations, some attention needs to be given

to regulation of the industry. This section discusses a variety of FCC rulings that have a direct









effect on broadcasters' adoption of new digital technologies, such as multicasting and ancillary

services.

Three Key Recommendations of the U.S. General Accounting Office

In a November 2002 report, released by the United States General Accounting Office

(GAO), three key recommendations were discussed that the FCC or Congress could put into

action that would help facilitate the success of the DTV transition. The first action, which was

briefly discussed in Chapter 1, was to explore options to raise awareness about the DTV

transition and the implications this increased awareness will have. These steps will lead to a

more rapid adoption of DTV equipment and will help to inform the public about the impact it

will feel when the switch over from analog to digital is made. The second action was to instruct

the relevant FCC bureaus and offices to examine the costs and benefits of the existing mandate

for a digital over-the-air tuner in addition to the costs and benefits of mandating that all new

televisions be digital cable-ready. The third recommended action called for the FCC's Media

Bureau to examine the advantages and disadvantages of a policy that would set an exact date for

cable carriage to switch from full carriage of analog signals to full carriage of digital signals

(United States General Accounting Office, 2002).

The war over the airwaves has continued to rage on because, generations ago, the

government handed out valuable frequencies to broadcasters for free and other industries have

been unable to purchase these frequencies. In 2001, the airwaves used by television broadcasters

were appraised by Wall Street at $367 billion. However, as an economic asset, they are

practically worthless to broadcasters as more than 85 percent of Americans with televisions now

pay to watch cable or satellite transmissions and do not rely on over-the-air broadcasts (Clark,

2005).









Mandate for all TV sets to be digital over-the-air compatible and digital cable-ready

The second action-item mentioned, the mandate for all televisions to be digital over-the-air

compatible and digital cable-ready, had been under intense discussion earlier in the decade. On

August 8, 2002, the FCC adopted a plan that required over-the-air digital television (DTV) tuners

on nearly all new TV sets by 2007. The FCC's plan, known as the Second Report and Order and

Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, was to minimize the costs for equipment

manufacturers and consumers by starting a five-year rollout schedule starting with larger, more

expensive sets. By July 1, 2007, all television receivers with screen sizes greater than 13 inches

and all television receiving equipment, such as DVD players/recorders and VCRs, were required

to include DTV reception capability. The FCC said that its jurisdiction was established by the

1962 All Channel Receiver Act (ACRA). ACRA states that the FCC has the "authority to

require that television sets be capable of adequately receiving all frequencies allocated by the

FCC for television broadcasting" (Federal Communications Commission, 2002).

On September 10, 2003, the FCC adopted rules for digital "plug and play" cable

compatibility. In a "plug and play" world, consumers can plug their cable directly into their

digital TV set without the need of a set-top box. The FCC stated that the rules would ease the

transition to digital TV by promoting convenience, competition, and simplicity for consumers.

The rules will permit TV sets to be built with "plug and play" functionality for one-way digital

cable services, which include standard cable programming services and premium channels like

HBO and Showtime. Consumers will need to obtain a security card, called a POD or cable card,

from their local cable operator, to be inserted into the TV set. However, consumers will still

need a set-top box in order to receive two-way services such as pay-per-view, electronic

programming guides, and video-on-demand (Federal Communications Commission, 2003).









Certain date for cable carriage to switch from analog to digital

The third recommendation called for a certain date as to when the cable companies will be

required to switch over from full carriage of analog signals to full carriage of digital signals in

their respective markets. In September 2005, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)

President and CEO Eddie Fritts announced during Senate hearings that the association endorsed

a "hard date" in 2009 for the switch from analog to digital. In addition, the NAB agreed to drop

the 85 percent penetration rule leading to a turn off of analog TV in 2009 (Ostroff, 2005).

The turning off of the analog signals would leave many American households with nothing

but a blank TV screen. In fact, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as mentioned

previously, estimated that 21 million US households, or 19 percent, rely on free broadcast TV.

This equates to some 73 million analog-only sets that will not be able to get DTV signals over-

the-air after the transition without digital-to-analog converters (Halonen, 2005a). Consumer

groups released a study in September 2005 that said that 39 percent of households have at least

one TV that would go dark after the transition (Schatz, 2005).

Date set for analog switch off. On February 8, 2006, President Bush signed the Deficit

Reduction Act of 2005, which includes legislation stating that all TV broadcasters must switch

off their analog broadcasts on February 17, 2009. The Act calls for $1.5 billion to be used for a

subsidy for new DTV converter boxes. The converter box would allow televisions without a

DTV tuner to receive the new digital broadcasts. Fortunately, the 2009 deadline will not affect

the vast majority of Americans who rely on cable or satellite delivery (Katzmaier, 2006). In

addition, the final bill set aside $1 billion for upgrading emergency communications equipment.

This was further encouraged by the communications problems experienced during Hurricane

Katrina (Broache, 2006).









The Senate's passage of the spending bill, ends a longtime debate and represents a

compromise with the U.S. House of Representatives. Earlier versions by both the House and

Senate each varied in both implementation date and subsidy amounts. The conversion date for

analog to digital was to be April 7, 2009, for the Senate, and January 1, 2009, for the House

(Broache, 2006). The more significant difference between the two bills was the amount of

subsidy for the digital-to-analog converter box. The bipartisan Senate bill set aside $3 billion for

a $40 subsidy to cover two-thirds of the predicted $60 price of the box. The House bill offered

only $990 million for that same $40 coupon ("DTV Difference," 2005).

There were differences along party lines in coming up with a workable transition bill.

Republicans were pushing for a more limited subsidy, while Democrats were calling for a

subsidy that would cover everyone. In looking at the Senate bill, Democrats wanted a subsidy

boosted from $990 million to $3.5-$4 billion so that it would cover the entire $60 of the cost of

the box. The bill covers $40 and also caps the subsidy at the first 10.3 million households that

apply, with a limit of two coupons per household. Also, Democrats wanted to send coupons to

everyone whereas Republicans wanted a several-step process for those who take the necessary

action of asking the government for the boxes ("DTV Difference," 2005).

In return for accepting a hard date, broadcasters pushed for a stipulation forcing cable TV

operators to carry their multicast digital signals. Sections of the bill set aside 24 megahertz of

spectrum for first responders and other public safety uses and instructed to the FCC to auction

off another 60 megahertz of spectrum. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated

the spectrum auction to raise $10 billion, whereas technology companies estimate up to $28

billion from the auction. A fund would be created from the auction revenues that would allow

the Commerce secretary to make payments for the converter box subsidy (Clark, 2005).









Debate Over Dual Carriage by Cable Systems

Another ongoing fight has been over the issue of dual carriage by cable systems.

Broadcasters insist that cable operators must carry both digital and analog signals until the DTV

switch is completed. Broadcasters feel that by cable systems carrying both signals, a larger

number of viewers would buy digital sets now and viewers who cannot afford or do not yet want

to buy a digital set will not feel deprived. On the other hand, cable operators say carrying both

an analog and a digital signal would be a waste of their channel capacity. Rather than carry two

signals for every station in town, cable companies would prefer to only carry the top-rated

stations in a market. According to Kyle McSlarrow, president of the National Cable &

Telecommunications Association (NCTA), dual carriage would impose an "untenable burden"

on cable operators and programmers (McConnell, 2005).

On February 10, 2005, the FCC, in its Second Report and Order and First Order on

Reconsideration (CS Docket No. 98-120), resolved two important issues related to digital cable

carriage to the benefit of the NCTA. The Order confirmed the Commission's prior decision that

cable operators are not required to carry more than a single digital programming stream, referred

to as "primary video," from any particular broadcaster. It also assured the tentative conclusion

not to impose a "dual carriage" obligation on cable operators (Federal Communications

Commission, 2005).

Broadcasters and Cable Industry Square Off on Issue of Multicasting

There is an equal amount of turmoil involved in the ongoing debate between broadcasters

and the cable industry when it comes to multicasting.

Broadcasters' viewpoint

Broadcasters claim that a regulatory change is needed so that cable companies would have

to carry all the multicast channels from each broadcaster in a market. According to broadcasters,









requiring that cable companies carry all these multicast channels is necessary to energize the

industry to make the high-priced switch to DTV. They also say that the expanded carriage

would serve the interest of consumers by stimulating the influx of new sources of free TV

programming. Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters said,

"It would benefit consumers because there would be more competition to cable from free over-

the-air channels"(Halonen, 2003).

In filings to the Commission in January 2004, the networks and their affiliates hammered

home their case. They stated that these opportunities for additional services cannot succeed

unless cable passes them along to their subscribers. Without that, broadcasters will "withhold or

withdraw" the necessary investment because cable operators "occupy a bottleneck position" and

can "snuff out the bright promise of multicasting" (Hickey, 2004). The NAB also referred to a

survey of 450 stations conducted in July 2005 which found that nearly 80 percent of local TV

stations are unlikely to multicast without assurances of cable carriage. "This is also about more

competition to cable," said NAB president Eddie Fritts. "That's why the cable gatekeepers will

fight it so fiercely. They don't like competition" (Grebb, 2005).

In late August 2005, the NAB, in an effort to validate their stance, detailed a study praising

the alleged benefits of distributing digital multiple broadcast streams to consumers and local

markets. The study found that multicasting would bring about more niche content for specific

demographic groups, more regional news, and more in-depth news and information programs.

Other benefits cited include added channel options for local advertisers allowing them to more

efficiently reach a wider arrangement of demographic groups (Grebb, 2005).

The NAB claims that major efforts have been made to produce new and valuable content

to be aired on multicast channels. According to Dennis Wharton, an NAB vice president, "We









think, as an industry, that there will be an absolute explosion in all types of programming,

including public-interest programming, if digital must-carry is adopted by the FCC." He went on

to remark that many broadcasters would be in favor of using their multicast spectrum for city

council meetings, political debates, and mayoral elections. He also maintained, "If the FCC is

truly interested in the public interest, broadcasters will win this one on the merits" (Hickey,

2004).

In early September 2005, about 100 TV station executives met in Washington D.C. to

persuade lawmakers to support a multicast must-carry provision. In addition, the NAB sent a

video e-mail to congressional offices arguing that cable's opposition to a multicast-carriage

requirement is anticompetitive. "The giant cable companies want you to see only what they own

or produce themselves. Congress needs to protect consumers and give them the freedom of

choice they demand and deserve," the video said (Halonen, 2005b).

The NAB has found specific cases in which the cable industry has declined the carriage

of quality multicast channels developed by the major networks. ABC's efforts to launch ABC

News Now, a 24/7 multicast news channel, with its affiliates was stonewalled by a lack of cable

carriage assurances early in 2005. It has since been refocused as a pay service for cable,

telephone, and broadband platforms. In addition, industry sources said that smaller NBC

affiliates are finding it difficult to persuade cable operators to carry NBC Weather Plus, a

multicast channel that NBC and its affiliates launched in November 2004 (Halonen, 2005a).





Cable operators' stance

Needless to say, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) sees

things differently. The organization feels that the government should not go around telling a









major media industry what it can and cannot put on its wires into the 70 percent of U.S. homes

that pay for cable service. They assert that this infringes on their First Amendment rights. Dan

Brenner, counsel for the NCTA, stated, "Air great channels and systems will voluntarily carry

them" (Davidson, 2004). Brian Dietz (2003), a spokesman for the NCTA had this to say, "We

believe all programmers, whether cable or broadcast, should compete on the merits of their

content, and cable networks should not be hamstrung by an unfair government mandate that

would give broadcast networks guaranteed carriage" (as cited in Davidson, 2004).

To prove that the cable industry is willing to carry multicast channels in the absence of a

multicast mandate, the NCTA stated in a letter to the FCC that cable was carrying 504 local

digital TV stations on a voluntary basis. These stations were said to be providing "HDTV and

other compelling digital content" to consumers living in big and small markets (Hearn, 2005). In

addition, the cable industry has come to an agreement on a national level with PBS affiliates to

carry all of their multicast channels (Davidson, 2004). Senior VP of Law and Regulatory Policy

at the NCTA, Daniel Brenner, stated that voluntary carriage by cable operators reflects real

market demand, not government-mandated forced carriage. He also said that it demonstrates the

ability of broadcasters with alluring content to be carried on cable systems (Hearn, 2005).

In addition to the NCTA's stance on the right of the cable industry to carry the

programming it chooses, the organization feels that mandated multicasting will harm diversity in

programming and will do nothing to speed the transition from analog to digital (Grebb, 2005). In

fact, a multicast-carriage rule could lead to cable TV industry lawsuits that would cost the federal

government billions of dollars according to Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the NCTA.

He said that such a rule could open the federal government to financial liability because it could

be interpreted as a "taking" of cable TV property rights under the Fifth Amendment, which









prohibits the seizure of property without just compensation. In addition, the NCTA released a

study that put a value of $4.2 billion to $115.6 billion on the bandwidth cable operators would

lose if multicast carriage were to be mandated by the government (Halonen, 2005b).

A multicast carriage mandate would have a powerful effect on the cable industry. The

cable industry has been fighting such a regulation since nearly the birth of digital broadcasting in

the United States. In one of his first exchanges with the FCC on digital must-carry, back in

October 1998, Braverman, a senior litigator and partner in the Washington, D.C.-based law firm

Cole, Raywid & Braverman, argued that the E.W. Scripps networks, Home & Garden Television

and Television Food Network, faced certain doom should a digital must-carry requirement be

adopted by the Commission. "Such a regime would [see] new cable networks...displaced by

redundant digital signals of broadcast networks," Braverman wrote, adding that such an

eventuality ran counter to the FCC's mandate that "cable communications provide...the widest

possible diversity of information sources and services to the public" (Crupi, 2005).

Braverman has stated that the cable networks have proven their value by providing quality,

original programming. As an example, Braverman points out that in 2002, The Food Network

had committed to running a programming lineup comprised of 95 percent original fare, or 2,000

hours, and in the process, introduced the country to the likes of Emeril Lagasse and Britain's

Two Fat Ladies. In his terms, this is in stark contrast to the "homogeneity of the broadcast

networks" (Crupi, 2005).

Outdoor Life Network (OLN) senior VP of affiliate sales Becky Ruthven agrees with

Braverman and mentions that the cable industry and broadcasters alike are competing for limited

spectrum. "Broadcasters have unfavorable positioning, and that's unfair to our industry," she

says (Crupi, 2005). Many established cable networks are concerned that if the FCC mandates









cable carriage of all of a broadcaster's multicast channels, then these established networks will

be pushed to digital tiers and will, therefore, reach a much smaller audience base. As a defensive

measure, according to Ruthven, OLN is desperately trying to lock up contract provisions that

ensure the widest carriage possible (Crupi, 2005).

Broadcasters Denied Carriage of Multicast Channels

The February 10, 2005 decision by the FCC to, for the second time, deny broadcasters the

ability to have all of their multicast offerings carried by the cable industry was a difficult

decision for the commissioners. Former chairman Michael Powell mentioned in a press

statement that while the multicast channels do afford broadcasters expanded business

opportunities, the must-carry statute limits carriage to one channel. He stated that broadcasters

will continue to have the ability to commercially negotiate carriage of other channels as public

broadcasters have recently done and as other cable programmers must do (Powell, 2005).

Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy also voted to deny broadcasters a multicast must-carry

mandate. She stated in a press statement that for her to support a mandate the Commission

would have to present "substantial evidence" in support of a finding that multicasting is

necessary to prevent a substantial number of broadcast stations from experiencing serious

financial hardship. She continued by saying that the record does not support such a conclusion

(Abernathy, 2005).

Commissioner Kevin Martin, who has since become the FCC Chairman, voted in favor of

a multicast mandate and felt that the advantage of free programming to the public outweighed

the burden on cable companies. The decision, according to Martin, will have the most adverse

impact on small, religious, family-friendly, independent, and minority broadcasters (Martin,

2005).









Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan Adelstein would support multicast must-

carry if it is affiliated with strong public-interest obligations for DTV stations. The public

interest, which is central to our democracy, means providing local civic and electoral discourse

over the public airwaves. Copps and Adelstein felt that broadcasters were reluctant to discuss

these obligations and; therefore, they refused to vote in favor of a multicast mandate. Adelstein

stated that an exclusive federal license to use the public airwaves ought to carry a higher level of

civic responsibility and accountability (Copps & Adelstein, 2005).

Lack of Public Interest Programming

There has been a substantial lack of public interest programming being broadcast in the

United States. Data from the Lear Center's Oct. 21, 2004 interim report show that coverage at

the local levels of elections as well as coverage of civic issues is down. Coverage of local

television newscasts was at an average of 2.4 minutes of election footage per half-hour of

evening news in the weeks leading up to the November 2004 election. Fewer than 1/3 of the

coverage actually focused on campaign issues. Also, nearly 8 out of 10 of the campaign stories

focused on the presidential and vice presidential races as opposed to other races, including local

races (Tristani, 2004). Another study, conducted by the Alliance for Better Campaigns in 2003,

found that community public affairs programming accounts for less than /2 of 1 percent of local

TV programming nationwide. This compares to 14.4 percent for paid programming (Adelstein,

2005).

Coalition of Consumer Activists Enter Debate

In the debate over whether a multicast must-carry mandate is constitutional, a third party

has entered the ring, a coalition of consumer activists. Their plea is to not give broadcasters

automatic access to cable without a payback to the public, a quid pro quo that they will deliver

"verifiable and quantifiable" amounts of public-interest programming in return. The concern of









this and other activist groups is that broadcasters will conveniently forget about their public

interest promises once they gain access to these cable homes. According to Jeffrey Chester,

executive director of the Center for Democratic Media, "They promise a lot but they have a

terrible record of keeping promises" (Hickey, 2004). J.H. Snider, a senior research fellow at the

New America Foundation Spectrum Policy Program, had favored either new and verifiable

public-interest obligations or a 5 percent spectrum fee on broadcasters' gross revenue, with the

money going to the funding of public-interest programs to help low-income people buy digital

converter boxes (Hickey, 2004).

In response to these ideas, an anonymous senior broadcast official said, "There are serious

First Amendment implications if the FCC specifically writes into the rules types and percentages

of programming that we have to create." In addition, he noted that ironically, local cable

companies also will immerse themselves in the First Amendment if the Commission tries to

force them to carry the new channels on their wires (Hickey, 2004).

Retransmission Consent and the 1992 Cable Act

The 1992 Cable Act, which amended the Communications Act of 1934, laid out the initial

rules concerning the obligations that cable companies have to broadcasters in carrying their

signals. The '92 Cable Act precludes cable operators and other MVPDs from retransmitting

television and radio broadcast signals without first obtaining the broadcaster's consent, what is

known as "retransmission consent" (Brown & Chan-Olmsted, 2004). Retransmission consent

allows commercial broadcasters and cable companies to work together to negotiate a carriage

agreement based on market and business factors. Broadcasters with a lot of leverage, such as

network-affiliated stations, are in a good position to negotiate retransmission agreements and, as

part of the agreement, receive compensation. On the other hand, if a commercial television









station does not believe it has enough clout to receive compensation, it would elect the must-

carry option (Brown & Chan-Olmsted, 2004).

Retransmission consent is a key bargaining tool a television station has in securing carriage

for its digital signal. A commercial station is permitted to tie a retransmission consent agreement

for its analog signal to that of its digital signal. As this may potentially involve the carrying of

four SD streams or one HD stream and two SD streams, many cable operators are not likely to

carry every digital stream from each local broadcaster. The innovativeness and negotiation skills

of the broadcaster will determine the ability of the broadcaster to receive must-carry of its

multicast channels (Brown & Chan-Olmsted, 2004).

Major Network Digital Initiatives

The major broadcast networks have certain digital initiatives either in development or

currently in use to capitalize on the new technologies of multicasting and ancillary services.

National Broadcasting Company (NBC)

NBC has attempted more multicasting than any of the other networks. It has created NBC

Weather Plus, a new all-digital 24/7 weather network that includes a mix of national and local

elements provided by the network and its affiliates. Since local weathercasts are the first source

people go to for breaking weather information and forecasts, NBC felt that a network dedicated

to local weather was of value to viewers. In a recent NBC Universal study, local broadcast

stations were considered the primary source of weather information for 67 percent of television

viewers polled (TVB, 2006).

NBC Weather Plus is a 50/50 affiliate-network partnership. The network launched in

November 2004 and is now affiliated with station groups in 85 markets, reaching 75 percent of

U.S. households. All 14 of NBC's O&O stations are broadcasting Weather Plus as well as

affiliate-owned stations in the Gannett, Raycom, Clear Channel, Belo, Post-Newsweek, Hearst-









Argyle, and New York Times broadcasting groups. The service can be seen by about 20 million

US digital cable households. Also, it is available in the top 20 markets (Donohue, 2006).

NBC Weather Plus uses an L-bar design to provide current temperatures and hour-by-hour

forecasts while running ads at the same time. Local personalities and technologies are used in

conjunction with national news resources to create an alluring digital network (TVB, 2006).

Roger Ogden, head of the NBC Affiliate Board, acknowledged that NBC Weather Plus

would be slicing an already fragmented audience, but he still sees a business there, noting "a lot

of efficiency associated with it. You don't have to have tremendous revenue streams to support

it." Ogden expects his sales department to sell the weather service to advertisers for a "relatively

modest" charge as part of an overall station buy (Eggerton & Kerschbaumer, 2003).

The network launched a website, nbcweatherplus.com, in January 2006. The website

contains national and local weather forecasting, on-demand video, and links to stations' traffic

cameras, weather reports, and airport information (TVB, 2006).

American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

The ABC network has also been a leader in developing multicast programming. The

network is currently distributing AccuWeather Inc.'s Local AccuWeather Channel as a multicast

channel (TVB, 2006).

ABC AccuWeather

The AccuWeather product gives stations a 24/7, flexible, low-cost service that can be

offered as a multicast channel. A station has great flexibility in that it can use either

AccuWeather's forecasters or their own and the station can use as much content as it deems

necessary from AccuWeather. This ability to tailor the presentation to the liking of the

individual station is what sets it apart from Weather Plus, according to R. Lee Rainey,









AccuWeather's VP of marketing. "The stations can structure the presentation," he states

(Romano, 2005).

In addition, AccuWeather plans to generate the largest portion of its revenue from new

emerging media platforms. According to Brian Kisslak, AccuWeather Executive Director of

Media Sales, "There are so many emerging platforms right now...I think the best thing about

AccuWeather is our portfolio is in every one of these markets. If they all converge, we all

succeed. If some stay and some go away, we succeed," (Donohue, 2006).

ABC News Now

In addition to the AccuWeather network, ABC unveiled a 24-hour news service called

ABC News Now. Originally an idea by Peter Jennings to offer viewers gavel-to-gavel coverage

of the Democratic and Republican conventions, it first appeared on July 26, 2004. ABC aired

ABC News Now during the 14 weeks leading up to the November 2004 Election in several

markets both over-the-air and through cable systems. The network received cable carriage under

retransmission rules by which large TV programmers, such as ABC, sometimes get sister cable

channels onto systems in lieu of cash payments. However, the network could not get paid and

the channel had to be pulled from cable systems in these markets (Grover, 2005).

ABC News Now, in its present form, has two dedicated anchors and hourly updates. It

also has live coverage of breaking events, typically satellite feeds of news conferences or

government hearings. ABC News Now is currently available to digital cable subscribers,

broadband subscribers, and cell phone users. The service has limited television distribution on

Verizon Communication's FiOS TV, overbuilder Siegcom, Cablevision Systems Corp., and

some small cable operators. However, ABC News Now has a wider distribution through

broadband and cell phones. As a broadband channel, the service is free to Comcast Corp., AOL,

Bell South Inc., SBC Yahoo, and Verizon subscribers, or by ABC subscription for $4.95 per









month. For mobile subscribers, it is available from AT&T Inc., Verizon, Sprint-Nextel Inc.,

Alltel Corp., and Midwest Wireless Holdings LLC (Lewis, 2006).

Bernie Gershon, Senior Vice President & General Manager ABC News Digital Media

Group states, "We recognize that people have different locations where they'll access our content

whether it's a mobile device, a wirelessly connected PC, broadband or TV. We're trying to

formulate a product that will be available wherever and whenever they want." ABC News

President Dave Westin agrees by saying that it is critical to be on all of those devices

(Kerschbaumer, 2004b).

Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS)

Although CBS has been the network leader in high-definition television, it has lagged

behind NBC and ABC in developing its own multicast digital network. At a June 2004 network

affiliates meeting, CBS proposed multicasting as an important part of its digital strategy.

According to Executive Vice President Martin Franks, "We want to explore strategies to exploit

all digital opportunities together" (Albiniak, 2004). These options include using multicasting,

video-on-demand, and Web content to "help promote network priorities" (Albiniak, 2004).

Many CBS affiliates have yet to tie up their digital spectrum because CBS has not identified a

network-affiliate digital partnership as NBC has with its NBC Weather Plus and ABC with its

AccuWeather.

The CBS multicasting strategy will mean sometimes using the digital channel to counter

what is on the network, such as using news against soaps or vice versa. As said by Martin

Franks, other times it will mean complementing or supplementing what is on the network on a

digital channel; for instance, using a digital channel to track Tiger Woods throughout a round of

golf or offering alternative camera angles during tennis or football coverage (Greppi, 2005a).









In addition to countering and complementing network programming, sometimes stations

broadcast alternative sporting events or breaking news on digital channels when they cannot

accommodate them on their main feed. Some CBS affiliates have done so in an effort to air as

many games as possible during the NCAA basketball tournament. As of June 2004, some 11

affiliates had aired one game of the NCAA tournament in high-definition on the main channel

and three other games in standard-definition on the digital subchannels. According to Bob Lee,

chairman of the CBS affiliate board and president of WDBJ Roanoke, VA, "That kind of

programming puts the viewer back in the driver's seat" (Albiniak, 2004).

Martin Franks, at the 2005 affiliates meeting, sought support for the launch of a "high-

quality" digital entertainment channel to be carried on the digital tiers of CBS O&O stations and

affiliates. The channel, now known as CBS 2, will be comprised primarily of entertainment fare

in the form of "behind-the-scenes" glimpses of series, TV stars, and athletes. This will include

such programming as The Making of Survivor, and out takes from CBS comedies or The

Amazing Race. As said by Franks, "It's like DVD extras." One possibility for accommodating

local content is morning-show-style cutaways within the CBS-produced programming.

However, Franks says, "We've got a lot more work to do and a lot more research" (Greppi,

2005a).

CBS 2, which currently has no official launch date, would rival NBC's weather and ABC

News' multi-platform offerings (Benson, 2005). Franks feels that the startup channel would be

inexpensive and would be more appealing to cable operators and many affiliates than a second

weather or news station in a market. The CBS channel could give CBS O&Os and affiliates an

opportunity with cable providers, even if the networks fail in their attempts to get mandatory

digital coverage for broadcasters (Benson, 2005).









Fox Broadcasting Company, The CW Television Network, and My Network TV

Fox, and the newly-created networks, The CW, and My Network, do not currently have

any multicast plans underway. The Fox network has, however, recently launched an HDTV

version of the National Geographic Channel and is planning to launch Fox HD, which will pull

from sporting events and popular TV series from broadcast network Fox, cable sister FX, and

other networks (Donohue, 2005). Some of the Fox affiliates in various markets do multicast,

but, in most cases, it is simply a simulcast of the programming being aired on the main channel.

While NBC and ABC see multicasting as advertiser-supported, other networks believe

they could collect subscriptions just like cable, although that would require scrambling and, at

least initially, set-top boxes. John Tupper, a small-market broadcaster who heads the Fox

affiliate board, believes in pay multicasting. He states, "Broadcasters could be the low-cost

provider of HBO and provide more local content than anyone else." He estimates that, with a 5

percent penetration of the market, each station could double the cash flow it generates from its

ad-supported business (Eggerton & Kerschbaumer, 2003).

Fox should offer a wireless cable service comprising news, movies, time-shifted

programming, and demo-targeted channels, Tupper says. "Technically, it could be done

tomorrow. Politically, I don't think it will ever happen. Fox is going to be hesitant to go into a

business that competes with cable while it is negotiating rate increases for its news programming

or regional sports channels" (Eggerton & Kerschbaumer, 2003).

The CW and My Network are offered as multicast channels on the digital subchannels of

many stations across the United States. However, the two networks themselves do not have any

multicast initiatives underway at this time.









Specialty Digital Networks

There are several new networks that have been developed which broadcasters across the

country are using to provide unique content to their viewers via their multicast channels.

Qubo Network

Qubo is a new 24-hour network which began broadcasting in September 2006. The

channel, which originally launched with a rolling four-hour block of children's programming, is

aired on the digital signals of ION Media Network's affiliates. Although the channel airs

programming exclusive to that channel, it will soon begin airing programming from the main

qubo block on NBC or shows from other producers. The major goal for qubo is to promote

literacy and positive values through fun, interactive entertainment (NBC Universal, 2007).

LATV Network

LATV is a bilingual music and entertainment network. The network debuted in 2001 in

the Los Angeles market as KJLA. The network offers Latino-themed programming targeted at

young adults 12-34. The network can be found on the digital subchannels of stations in markets

with a heavy concentration of Latino residents (LATV.com, 2007). It was developed as a

multicast channel by ATV Broadcast, which specializes in providing additional content for

multicast channels and negotiating arrangements between programmers, broadcasters, cable, and

satellite providers (Auto Channel.com, 2006).

Motor Trend TV

Motor Trend TV is a 24/7 digital network which began airing in 2008. It consists of 80%

original programming drawn from the various automotive properties of Primedia, the leading

targeted media company in the United States. Primedia's full-line of properties include some 57

magazines that reach 67 million subscribers. Motor Trend TV includes programming centered

around trends in the automotive industry, first drives, and road tests. Primedia partnered with









ATV Broadcast, the company specializing in the use of multicast technology that developed

LATV as well (Auto Channel.com, 2006).

World Championship Sports Network

Although more widely accessible to viewers through broadband and cable television

platforms, the World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) is being utilized by some

broadcasters to fill their digital subchannels with unique and compelling content for the sports

enthusiast (Careless, 2007). WCSN offers comprehensive coverage of over 60 different Olympic

and lifestyles sports, including track & field, cycling, swimming, skiing, and gymnastics. The

sporting events can be seen on their website, www.wcsn.com, and on television through

WCSN's weekly syndicated television program. This program is available in more than 45

million homes in major markets across the U.S. (WCSN.com, 2007).

Multicast (Standard-Definition) Business Model

Mindful of the opportunity that multicasting presents, many U.S. broadcasters are utilizing

this unique technology to increase their audience base and to build station revenue. According to

Mike Ruggiero, chairman of ATV Broadcast and the ALL TV Companies, "Hundreds of stations

are currently multicasting" (Careless, 2007). ALL TV Companies, as mentioned in the prior

section, is the company that runs the Spanish-language multicast channel LATV and the group

behind the development of Motor Trend TV. In addition to LATV and Motor Trend TV, a

growing number of commercial stations are multicasting local news and weather, NBC Weather

Plus, The CW, My Network, World Championship Sports Network, AccuWeather, and qubo.

Model of Program Choice

The implications of an increase in the number of SDTV signals broadcast due to

applications of digital compression will lead to an increase in the diversity of programs. The

model of program choice, first issued by Steiner in 1952 before being expanded by Beebe and









Owen, Beebe, and Manning in the 1970s, predicts that the diversity of programs offered to

viewers should increase as the number of channels increases. Broadcasters will match each other

by introducing new programs of the most preferred type, with also the largest number of viewers,

and carve up its audience until a new program's share of the audience for the most popular

program type would be smaller than the audience accessible to a broadcaster offering the next

most popular type of program (Wildman, 2001).

The result of expanding the number of channels while keeping the number of broadcasters

the same will be an even larger increase in program diversity than would have occurred if each

new channel had a separate owner for the simple reason that multiple channel operators will be

disinclined to duplicate programming on channels they already operate. Offering a channel that

draws viewers away from a competitor's offering is a net gain and an addition to profits whereas

transferring audience from one to another of a station's channels, makes no contribution to

revenue (Wildman, 2001).

Allowing each broadcaster to control a number of channels will help to increase the overall

number of channels offered and, subsequently, the variety of programming. However, the

audience for each channel will drop as the number of channels increases. This will lead to

broadcasters producing less expensive programs as increases in production expenditures will

result in smaller increases in advertising revenues (Wildman, 2001).

Dual Carriage in a Multicast Environment

In addition to offering a multitude of free over-the-air television channels, multicasting

allows for new potential revenue streams for broadcasters. From now until the analog signals are

turned off in February 2009, broadcasters have the difficult task of maintaining their analog

channels while also expanding their digital channels. Stations need to have creativity in

developing ways in which they can use their new digital feeds to help them gain revenue to









overcome the high expenses of running both an analog and a digital signal simultaneously and

the cost of converting from analog to digital. The areas of promotion, programming, and ad

sales all need to be focused on and used in conjunction to build station revenue and overcome

these expenses.

Advantages of Multicasting

The technology of multicasting provides broadcasters with a number of potential strategic

advantages. These advantages are primarily driven by the media technology characteristics of

the technology discussed earlier in the chapter. This section reviews the advantages of

multicasting and the primary media technology characteristic associated with the advantage. The

advantage is first listed followed by the characteristic.

Improved affiliate/network relations: Complementarity

One key advantage of multicasting is that the new channel space will lead to improved

affiliate/network relations. By having additional digital channels at their disposal, stations can

continue coverage of a breaking news story on either their digital subchannels or their main

channel while continuing to carry network programming. This capability has led to a reduction

in the need for affiliate preemptions of network programming. In Augusta, Georgia, in January

2005, WRDW-TV simply moved its CBS lineup to then UPN affiliate (now My Network)

WRDW-DT to allow for 18 straight hours of coverage of an area train crash. Gray Television,

which owns the station, places a premium on news on its major-network affiliates and on profits

(Greppi, 2005b).

Creation of new national networks: Newness

Second, multicasting has allowed both affiliates and networks to work together to create

new national digital-only networks, such as NBC's Weather Plus and ABC's AccuWeather.

These new digital networks allow affiliates and their networks to combine resources in such a









way that the viewer sees a product that is a unique meshing of local and national features

(Halonen, 2003).

Ability to target advertising to particular market segments: Utility observability and
efficiency

A third advantage of multicasting is that it allows broadcasters the ability to target their

advertising to particular market segments. The technology gives stations an opportunity to reach

different audiences with different channels, similar to what is done at the cable systems. For

multicasting to make sense, it must not cannibalize revenue the station already earns from selling

commercial time on its primary station. One way to avoid that is specialization. "When you go

to multicasting, you start to specialize," says Paul Turner, vice president of product marketing

for Omneon Video Networks, a producer of video server infrastructure. He continues by stating,

"As you do that, you can deliver more targeted advertising. So, if someone is doing a home do-

it-yourself (DIY) channel, they can guarantee potential advertisers that viewers are interested in

DIY." By delivering targeted programming to viewers with a specific interest, stations could get

advertisers to pay premiums to advertise on these channels because they hit the precise audience

advertisers are trying to reach ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

One example of utilizing multicasting to reach specific audiences is that of offering a

Spanish-language channel on one of the digital subchannels (Decherd, 2004). The Hispanic

population is the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population today and advertising agencies

have separate budgets allocated for Spanish-oriented programming. Because of these two

factors, the Hispanic market represents a valuable audience to broadcasters. Many broadcasters,

including NBC Universal, had mentioned offering a Spanish-language channel, but it was not

until the ALL TV Companies developed LATV was one actually broadcast (Careless, 2007).









Not only could stations offer a variety of channels for different audience types with

multicast technology, but they could also target their advertising to particular geographic

segments within their coverage radius. NBC had put together a proposal that would allow their

affiliates to target local news to towns in a coverage area and then sell more affordable ads to the

local businesses in these towns. As stated by Roger Ogden, head of the NBC affiliate board,

"We get to play at that party," referring to the flexibility that cable systems have in targeting

their advertising to particular segments of a viewing area (Davidson, 2004). The proposal has

not been carried out as of yet; however, the technology is available.

Outlet for extended/enhanced news programming: Content distribution

A fourth advantage of multicasting is that it can offer a local station an outlet for extensive

news or public affairs programming. Local information that currently goes unreported or under-

reported on television can make a station invaluable to viewers, and multicasting is a logical way

to distribute such programming ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004). When a station becomes

one of the primary sources for news and information in a local market, sizeable ratings and

revenue will follow. This is especially the case when a station is the first in a market to offer a

new local news and informational broadcast ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

Not only can a local station have access to an additional outlet for extensive news

programming, but multicasting can actually enhance and expand the news product. Digital

technology creates the possibility of new programming forms, utilizing data, graphics, and

different camera angles to make television a more interactive and informative experience

(Decherd, 2004).

Relatively inexpensive once infrastructure is in place: Technology cost

A fifth advantage of multicasting is that once the infrastructure is in place, it is relatively

inexpensive to add multicast channels. It typically will only cost 10 percent per additional









channel when compared to the initial DTV start-up costs. Furthermore, it usually requires the

same level of human resources as a single-channel operation as well (Boston & Brown, 2004).

Opening up bandwidth for multicasting for locals could mean additional 24-hour local

news or sports channels, claims Tim Hanlon, senior vice president and director of emerging

contacts, Starcom MediaVest Group, a full-service media agency. "Since those formats are so

popular in the cable universe, it makes perfect sense to extend those kinds of franchises into

other channels," he says. "It's a great way to amortize your talent costs, to amortize all the

footage that never makes it to the 6 or 11 news; it's a great way to amortize your editorial

resources. The 11 o'clock news could just be a 'best of all the things that ran on your other

channels. All the signs point to that being the route" (Kaplan, 2004).

Cross-market penetration: Complementarity

A sixth benefit of running a multichannel operation is that it allows for cross-market

penetration. If a newscast is to be cannibalized by another channel, the same broadcast outlet

might as well do it, thus conserving its views and advertising revenue (Boston & Brown, 2004).

In addition, a station can run spots promoting programs or specials on the other multicast

channels. By doing this, stations can fill their unsold airtime with content that will draw

viewers' attention to their other multicast offerings.

Similar to existing business model: Compatibility

A seventh advantage of multicasting is that it is similar to the existing business model,

programming-viewership-ratings-commercial-sales ("Re-thinking Broadcasting," 2004). This

makes it initially more attractive to television broadcasters than other digital technologies, such

as datacasting or video-on-demand. However, these ancillary services could prove to be more

lucrative for broadcasters in the future.









Other Uses of Multicast Technology

Broadcasters are utilizing the advantages offered by multicasting in other ways. They are

using the additional channels to air programming from different networks as well as using the

digital subchannels to get stronger signal carriage for their low-power stations.

Digital signal used to air programming from different networks: Content distribution

Multicasting not only means sending programs formatted differently at the same time, but

it also means using the digital signal to air programming from different networks. There are a lot

of cases of this taking place ever since the merging of WB and UPN and the subsequent creation

of the My Network and The CW networks. One example of this is Media General's WNCT,

which began doing this in September 2006. The Greenville, NC station simulcasts CBS and the

The CW programming on digital channels 9-1 and 9-2 respectively (WNCT.com, 2007). This

arrangement demonstrates another advantage of multicasting, the ability to reach specific

demographics with different channels. WNCT is able to reach an older demographic, P25-54,

with CBS and a younger audience, P18-34, with The CW.

Better carriage for low-power stations: Utility observability and efficiency

Some stations, like WKPT, an ABC affiliate in Kingsport, TN, begin multicasting to get

better carriage for their low-power stations. WKPT currently airs their My Network affiliate,

WAPK, a low power station, on digital channel 27-2 while airing their full-power ABC affiliate

on channel 27-1 (WKPT.com, 2007). WKPT General Manager George DeVault says, "We're

reaching a wider audience with a clearer, more consistent signal. Cable carriage is very

important, and low power does not have must-carry. If you're not on the cable system, you've

got a problem" (Berger, 2001).









Revolutionary Uses of Multicast Technology

There are several revolutionary uses of multicast technology currently being considered.

Broadcasters are looking into the potential to utilize multicasting to deliver flight information

from local airports as well as traffic reports to viewers in their coverage areas.

Broadcast of flight arrival and departure information: Newness

Airports are requesting that local stations broadcast flight arrival and departure

information. "It's of value to someone wishing to check the status of his or her flight before

leaving for the airport, and it's an advertising value to operators of companies such as taxi

services or airport shuttle businesses- or even a company like Starbucks," according to Glen

Sakata, director of sales for broadcast and telecom at Harmonic, a leading provider of video

delivery solutions ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

Traffic reporting: Newness

An additional area with a recognized worth to viewers is traffic reporting. About 14 years

ago, Los Angeles started distributing information from on-ramp cameras and metering to a cable

carrier to show "traffic-flow density in a high-level way." Roadmaps with arteries displayed in

red signified traffic was stopped; green meant it was moving. Similar local traffic coverage

could provide local viewers of a multicast station with timely and important information ("Re-

thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

Benefits to Advertisers Through Use of Multicast Technology

Brian Wieser, National TV Analyst for media negotiator Magna Global, sees multicasting

as a chance for advertisers to more narrowly target consumers and to invest directly in the new

programs needed to fill the digital channels. Such investment, he says, may involve taking an

interest in someone else's multicast offering, supplying infomercials for a new digital channel, or

developing networks/channels and pitching them directly to stations. He refers to Coke's $15









million investment in digital cable net College Sports TV as a potential model, mentioning that

Coke is positioned to mix its marketing efforts with the channel and to benefit directly from its

success (Eggerton, 2004).

Wieser argues that multicasting provides a "more compelling business case" for advertiser-

created nets than digital cable does, if must-carry protection is granted (Eggerton, 2004). As

examples of advertiser channels, he advocates an automobile-enthusiast channel developed by a

car company or a baby boomer channel supported by a pharmaceutical company. According to

Wieser, broadcasters could strike deals with various advertisers to carry prefab networks

(Eggerton, 2004). At this point, however, there is no mandated must-carry requirement so there

will probably be limited development of advertiser-created channels.

Challenges of Multicasting

Although the technology of multicasting provides broadcasters with a number of potential

strategic advantages, it also brings with it a number of unique challenges. These disadvantages

are primarily driven by the media technology characteristics of the technology discussed earlier

in the chapter. This section reviews the challenges of multicasting and the principal media

technology characteristic associated with each challenge. All but one of the challenges listed

below are primarily due to the technology cost characteristic.

Securing the capability to digitally deliver a signal: Technology cost

The greatest challenge facing stations is securing the technical capability to digitally

deliver a signal. First, broadcasters need transmission apparatus that will allow a standard-

definition signal, or multiple SD signals, to be broadcast alongside a station's HD feed. The

equipment is expensive as it costs about $50,000 to put the technology in place for one HD and

one SD channel. Second, stations will also need available bandwidth. As previously mentioned,

a station's digital bandwidth allocation is 19.39 Mbps. The typical SD channel will require only









about 2 Mbps, which leaves a lot of room for a station's HD signal. However, there may be a

bandwidth crisis if a station is multicasting a weather service or some other channel

simultaneously (Kerschbaumer, 2004b).

Producing more with the same staff or same capital expenditure: Technology cost

A second major challenge that many broadcasters face is producing more with the same

staff or same capital expenditure. According to Thomas Zugmeyer, the product manager in

charge of the DaletPlus Media Library, having access to the ideal digital equipment is key to

combating this problem. He says, "Technology allows you to use more shared content by one

station to rebroadcast it on another station, all from a central repository" ("Re-Thinking

Broadcasting", 2004). Sakata from Harmonic agrees. "I'll always go back to the operational

side. There's not much incremental cost to put it on another station," he says ("Re-Thinking

Broadcasting", 2004).

Acquiring programming to fill secondary channels: Complementarity

A third serious obstacle for broadcasters wishing to multicast is programming. Many

broadcasters wonder where they will acquire the programming to fill secondary channels as they

are already challenged enough in filling up their primary channel with compelling content.

Repurposed newscasts and magazine shows provide one potential source of multicast content.

Fortunately for broadcasters, they will not face the same rights issues as they would if they were

broadcasting syndicated programming. Therefore, repurposing their own station-originated

programming is a sensible way to generate content to be run on their digital subchannels ("Re-

Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

Adding more channels does not mean there are more advertisers: Technology cost

A fourth major challenge of multicasting stems from the fact that adding more channels to

a market does not mean there are more advertisers. This creates a problem in a case in which a









broadcast operation has to start paying for content in any meaningful way and because it is not

reaching a large enough audience with its multicast channels, the station struggles financially.

Advertising revenue is critical to cover the expense of buying the rights to programming since

distributors, particularly cable operators, are not paying high enough subscriber fees to offset

these costs (Chunovic, 2003). However, since the industry is committed to pushing digital

penetration forward, the audiences for multicast channels will continue to grow. Larger

audiences mean that not only can broadcasters generate more advertising revenue, but

broadcasters will be able to ask the cable and satellite industries to start paying subscriber fees or

to pay higher fees for the carriage of their multicast programming.

Although multicast channels may be able to generate solid advertising revenue for

broadcasters, "Those channels won't generate as much as the main channel and that's why

automation will be important," according to Dave Polyard, Omnibus Vice President of Sales and

Marketing (Kerschbaumer, 2004a). Stations are working to make the multicast business model

more efficient by automating their facilities and infrastructure.

Automation in a Multichannel Operation

According to Robert Johnson, president of automation vendor Sundance Digital, "The

broadcast operations of today are simply too complex to be run without automation. Certainly,

efficiency is a word with which we are all well acquainted, but in many cases, stations are adding

more channels and want to operate with the same staffing levels" (Kerschbaumer, 2004a).

Station automation is about easing the content-gathering process, regardless of the content's final

form, commercials, programming, or interstitials. Adding a multicast that includes a 24-hour

loop of newscasts (with new commercials) and a 24-hour weather channel may sound like basic

additions, but both represent the growing complexity of broadcasting today (Kerschbaumer,

2004a).









"If a station wants its multicast offspring to have the same quality of appearance as the big

channel, the challenge is even greater," says John Wadle, Omnibus Vice President of

Technology (Kerschbaumer, 2004a). Setting up the secondary channels can actually be more

time-consuming and labor-intensive than the main channel. Inserting squeeze-backs, the graphic

device that shrinks the onscreen image as one show ends to allow space for another image,

becomes problematic. This is also the case with other transitional graphic elements that give

viewers the visual cues they have come to expect from technically advanced broadcasters.

Viewers do not want to watch multicast channels that look low-budget and these transitional

graphic elements are an important part of broadcasting a quality channel (Kerschbaumer, 2004a).

In addition, the type of content carried on secondary channels is a major factor in the level

of difficulty involved in automation. Brian Lay, Harris director of product marketing,

automation solutions, states, "Channels that are primarily based on prerecorded content require

very little manual intervention. But channels that contain live sports or news may require an

operator per channel" (Kerschbaumer, 2004a).

Communication between the automation and traffic systems is a critical interaction and it

continues to be a challenge. The modules use Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol

[TCP/IP] connectivity to allow changes to be made to the current on-air schedule directly from

the traffic system. Also, a graphic timeline display lets operators make last-second schedule

changes (Kerschbaumer, 2004a).

Ancillary Services

Ancillary services can provide stations with new, largely untapped, business possibilities.

The technologies of datacasting, subscription television, teletext, and interactive television are

possible when there is a return path from the home, school or business to the source of the

broadcast.









Media Technology Characteristics

Ancillary services are inherently different from broadcasting, according to Glen Sakata,

who, as mentioned previously, is the director of sales for broadcast and telecom at Harmonic.

"There's a push vs. pull paradigm," he says. "Broadcasters can push all the data they want. It

goes back to video over IP. It could be data or video, but it has to be persuasive enough for a

consumer to want it." For these ancillary services to be successful, they must improve the

availability of local information in a way that is not real-time. "There are a number of video and

data services that don't have to be delivered in real time, and if they don't it can be a data model.

For example, airport schedules don't have to be on a real-time video channel. They could be

streaming," claims Sakata ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

The Return Path Will Have Major Impact on Television Advertising

When it comes to ancillary services, there are two basic variations. First, there is the direct

viewer interaction with program content and broadcasters. This could be in the form of choosing

on-screen items for purchase or clicking on a player during a live sporting event to view their

stats. Second, there is the less direct information that might be gathered about the audience

members of a program. This is the information that is made possible through a return path. Such

facts as buying behavior, lifestyles, and viewing habits make up this less direct information.

Over time, the viewing habits of a viewer or household could be stored in a set top box for access

by broadcasters and cable companies that may either sell or lease the boxes (Wildman, 2001).

Currently, the advertising model used by advertisers and broadcasters is centered around

audience demographics. These demographics are used to predict viewer purchasing habits. If

ancillary services are utilized to an interactive extent, then broadcasters and advertisers alike

would be able to see the true buying preferences of the audience for a particular program. This









information would provide broadcasters with the ability to price and sell their advertising time

much differently than they do presently (Wildman, 2001).

As digital television and its ancillary services develop, broadcasters can expect a

significant increase in revenues due to more accurate and in-depth information on viewers'

product preferences and buying behavior. Furthermore, at some point in the future, it will be

possible to target advertisements to individual viewers regardless of the programs they are

watching. This targeting could be accomplished by preloading advertisements in an individual's

set top box so that in-program cues could signal the box to play a particular commercial. Also,

with regards to ad content, the actual broadcast could be interactive (Wildman, 2001).

Ancillary services also will affect the ability of the television medium to compete with

other mediums for advertising dollars. For instance, the ancillary services of the future will be

able to provide viewers with detailed information on products right on their television screens.

Viewers looking for a particular make and model of a automobile would be able to watch a

program and then click on a car showcased in either a commercial or a program and receive in-

depth information about the vehicle. This type of detailed information is normally accessed

exclusively through the newspaper or the Internet (Wildman, 2001).

Variations of Ancillary Services

There are questions about whether datacasting is truly feasible in the near future. A high-

end interactive TV show, one in which most all of the interactive elements are video, can be

three or four times the budget for a non-interactive, linear TV program (Carey, 1999). Not only

is the expense a consideration, but also there exists a great deal of confusion over an appropriate

business model for datacasting.

Versions of interactive TV that mix interactive text over a one-way path (instead of one

with a return path) or interactive still images and sound may provide an interim, less expensive,









business model for broadcasters. These interim forms of interactive TV are a good match for

such services as banking, home shopping, and some interactive games (Carey, 1999). Once a

broadcaster successfully integrates this form of interactive TV into its current offerings then it

can more easily transition into a full interactive video model.

Another version of ancillary services that broadcasters will be able to utilize to encourage

viewers to stay with a program that has just gone into a commercial break is a model in which

some content is provided on part of the screen while a commercial airs. This is considered to be

a newspaper model of content in that advertising and content are shown on the same screen much

as a newspaper provides both news stories and ads on the same page (Carey, 1999).

Nevertheless, advertisers, both locally and nationally, will be able to benefit from the

various capabilities that interactive TV provides, particularly the ability for consumers to click

on the screen to order a product. Direct marketers, especially, have the means to pursue

advertising in an interactive format since they typically have an open-ended budget. This open-

ended budget, for example, would allow them to test out advertising on an interactive channel

without affecting their existing analog budget (Knight, 2004).

WRAL-TV 5: A Digital Pioneer

HD pioneer Jim Goodman, owner of WRAL-TV (CBS) and WRAZ-TV (Fox) in Raleigh,

NC, is a convert to multicasting. He says, "I believe that HD is the primary driver of digital,

though SD is great, too. We're a much better TV station because we can televise a local event or

trial on the news channel (WRAL NewsChannel)." WRAZ's digital station offers two simulcast

digital stations, one provides HD when it is available (SD the rest of the time) and the other

offers only an SD signal. Also, WRAZ carries a 24-hour local weather channel on its third

digital subchannel (Eggerton & Kerschbaumer, 2003).









WRAL, the station which pioneered digital broadcasting nearly 11 years ago, splits its

digital bandwidth allotment into an HD channel, an SD channel, and a 1MB/s to 1.5MB/s

channel for datacasting. Through a process known as statistical multiplexing, bandwidth is

dynamically assigned to the channels as needed ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004). In

statistical multiplexing, a fixed bandwidth communication channel is divided into several

variable bit-rate digital channels. This, along with efficient encoding, the process in which a

signal is transformed into a form optimized for transmission or storage, maintains optimum

picture quality on the SD and HD channels (Chandra, 2003). "The picture WRAL delivers using

statistical multiplexing and efficiency of encoding is superb," says Goodmon. "We can deliver

HD and SD with no degradation, and we expect to see a 10 percent to 15 percent improvement in

the encoding process every year" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

Multicasting

As discussed previously, the technology of multicasting has the potential to provide

broadcasters with a number of promising strategic advantages. This section reviews the benefits

of multicasting of which WRAL-TV has taken advantage. The advantage is first listed followed

by the associated media technology characteristic.

Outlet for extended/enhanced news programming: Content distribution

In July 2001, the station launched the WRAL NewsChannel. The channel includes local

news, special local coverage, original programming, and weather updates every half-hour. The

WRAL NewsChannel replays newscasts, letting viewers watch the latest headlines at almost any

hour of the day. Besides rebroadcasting WRAL-TV's newscasts, the digital channel offers live

coverage of local events, including press conferences, trials, and special celebrations. Recent

coverage on the NewsChannel included news conferences following the ACC Tournament and

coverage of local forums, including Emerging Issues and Horizon 2100. WRAL NewsChannel's









on-screen format offers scrolling news headlines from WRAL.com and updated weather

forecasts. The channel provides the Raleigh-Durham area with the latest poll results and race

coverage, during the election season. Also, during inclement weather, the channel airs constant

school and business closing information (WRAL.com, 2007).

In addition, WRAL also offers the WeatherCenter Channel, a 24-7 digital weather network

providing local, regional, and national forecasts. The channel, which launched in February 2003,

is carried over-the-air on digital channel 50.3 and on Time Warner digital cable on digital

channel 252. The channel works on a 10-minute wheel that is repeated six times an hour. The

10-minute wheel includes a two-minute video forecast by WRAL's meteorologists. The local

video forecast is usually updated four times a day, following each daily newscast (WRAL.com,

2007).

Improved affiliate/network relations: Complementarity

The WRAL NewsChannel has allowed for a stronger affiliate/network relationship while

also providing viewers with important local information. When a major storm hit Raleigh in

May 2005, the station preempted its analog channel and moved As The World Turns and other

CBS soap operas to a multicast channel (Donohue, 2006). The NewsChannel has provided

WRAL with another outlet to accommodate both network and local programming at times when

distributing live information to the public is critical, such as during a weather crisis.

Relatively inexpensive once infrastructure is in place: Technology cost

Repurposing material from the Web site and the news operation of WRAL-TV allowed

management to put WRAL NewsChannel on the air for a fraction of the price of starting a station

from scratch. "With very low personnel and equipment costs, we have started a new channel,

says Goodmon. "We need to be clear that it is a balancing act," he explains. "We don't want to









take anything away from the capacity of WRAL news. We want to use it to add to the

NewsChannel when we have extra capacity" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

The station has a producer and designates its digital media manager to assimilate material

for the station's Web site onto the NewsChannel. Otherwise, the WRAL NewsChannel draws on

existing resources from what Goodmon calls "the big news operation" to shoot, gather, produce,

and air news ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

One example of using the resources of the primary channel for the WRAL NewsChannel is

a car chase that occurred in the area several years ago. Goodman explains, "We broke into

coverage on WRAL news but couldn't stay with it the whole time as it unfolded. But on WRAL

NewsChannel, we could punch right in and stay with the chase. All that required was a

producer/director and font coordinator, and we were live" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

Datacasting: Newness/Utility Observability and Efficiency

Not only does multicasting bring with it a number of advantages, but also datacasting as

well. The two primary media technology characteristics which drive these benefits are newness

and utility observability and efficiency.

WRAL uses the 1 Mb/s to 1.5 Mb/s committed to datacasting for a variety of offerings,

including distribution of video-on-demand from WRAL news, the WRAL.com microsite, games,

software, and other local programming. "This is program content that we couldn't deliver

before," says Goodmon ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

While the current offerings are good, Goodmon asserts that the future will be even better.

He made this clear by saying, "We have been experimenting with ideas that will be great for the

future- approaches that are not interactive per se but send information out that can be stored in

the memory of the users' computers that they can access as desired." Moreover, ancillary

services, such as datacasting, will allow for an enhanced experience for the sports enthusiast.









According to Goodmon, "If you are watching WRAL News and our sportscaster comes in with

news about Duke basketball, with datacasting you will be able to get instant stats from the game.

That's the future" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004). Since introducing datacasting to the

Raleigh-Durham, NC market, the number of people for WRAL's service has expanded beyond

the introductory test audience of 100, but Goodmon does not know by how much. However, he

expects the role of datacasting to grow as interactivity becomes achievable. "Interactive is

growing- one step at a time," he says. "That is an important move for broadcasters to make"

("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

There are three primary lessons concerning multicasting and datacasting that can be

observed from the experience of WRAL-DT in Raleigh-Durham, NC. First, multicasting and

datacasting may, ultimately, lead to significant revenue for the station, but they have not as of

yet. Second, the new technologies should be utilized to position a station to compete with cable

and satellite broadcasting in the future and be able to thrive in that environment. Third,

multicasting and datacasting need to result, ultimately, in delivering a better product. WRAL

Programming and Special Projects Manager Jimmy Goodmon Jr. explains this point further by

saying that multicasting and datacasting are about being more competitive. All of these things

are made possible through these digital technologies and their ability to help stations maximize

their branding capabilities ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

Successful branding in the broadcast business is about enhancing a station's presence in a

market by becoming an indispensable resource to residents of that market. "We are guided by a

person who believes in long-term branding," states Jimmy Goodman Jr. "These things

(datacasting and the NewsChannel) will enhance our image in the community. We have to be









everywhere that viewers or seekers want to find us. It's not a revenue play at this point, but a

branding play" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

KUSA-TV 9: A High-Definition Newscast Pioneer

One approach stations are taking to obtain a competitive edge is by capitalizing on the

transition to high-definition. While most national sports events and network prime-time

schedules are broadcast in HD, local HD broadcasts have lagged, demonstrating a growth area.

"It will drive more viewership that we can translate into revenue," says Fred Reynolds, president

and CEO of Viacom Television Stations Group (Bachman, 2005).

High Definition

The technology of HD brings with it a number of potential strategic advantages. The

primary media technology characteristics which affect the adoption of an HD newscast, in

particular, are discussed in this section.

Content Distribution

A few TV stations such as KUSA-TV, Gannett Broadcasting's NBC affiliate in Denver,

have launched local newscasts in HD. Some Viacom TV stations are also broadcasting local

sports in HD, such as the NBA's Lakers on CBS owned-and-operated KCAL in Los Angeles and

baseball's Red Sox on CBS O&O WBZ in Boston. "HD is a game changer, offering

broadcasters a huge competitive advantage," says Chris Rohrs, president of the Television

Bureau of Advertising (Bachman, 2005).

HDTV news is flourishing in the Denver market. KUSA Denver was the first station to

transmit live HD video from a helicopter to a station. Microwave-transmission-system

manufacturer MRC and KUSA worked together to solve the difficulty of sending large amounts

of HD data, allowing this transmission to become possible (Kerschbaumer, 2004c).









The station began investigating the idea of airing an HD newscast in 2003. Roger Ogden,

KUSA general manager and president and Gannett senior vice president, says the station

contemplated three factors: the price of HD sets was falling, more HD shows were available

from NBC, and the local Comcast MSO offered an HD tier (Kerschbaumer, 2004c).

When Comcast and Soundtrack, a local retailer, became HD advertisers on KUSA, the

decision to move forward with an HD newscast was finalized. Even though the rates are much

lower than spots on the SD broadcast, Ogden had expected to recover the incremental cost of HD

gear within two years. "It's actually a fairly short return," he says, "when you look at the normal

way of doing business." There is not any information confirming whether or not the HD start-up

costs have been recouped as of yet (Kerschbaumer, 2004c).

Technology Cost

The complete newscast is not in HD yet because the electronic news gathering (ENG) gear

is still too costly to allow shooting in HD. The camera operators, however, shoot in wide-screen

16:9 aspect ratio (see Appendix A). Don Perez, KUSA Chief Engineer, says that a mix of HD

and SD material during a newscast is still compelling for the viewer. "Standard-definition 16:9

provides good-quality images, so not everything has to be shot in HD," he says. Furthermore,

Perez declares that the most important thing to remember in strong upconversion of SD material

is to be certain that the material was obtained digitally (Kerschbaumer, 2004c).

Cable Is Using High-Definition Advantage in Battle With Satellite

According to Glen Sakata, the strongest motivator for cable multiple service operators

(MSOs) to accommodate broadcasters' need for multicast carriage is the threat from direct

broadcast satellite (DBS). "The number-one issue with cable MSOs is HD," Sakata says. "They

are in a hot battle with DBS. DBS will have problems having a lot of HD. Cable is realizing

their take rate for HD set-top boxes is growing exponentially, and local HD programming could









be something that gives them an edge in the market over DBS" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting,"

2004).

Considering the significance ofHD to cable in doing battle with DBS providers, Sakata

says he believes MSOs will be inclined to work with broadcasters to carry multicast SD channels

as long as part of their offering during the day is HD. "Cable would just rather take the HD," he

states. "They will give you the bandwidth and let you play around with it. They'll commit the 6

MHZ to broadcasters. Then the cable operator won't mess around with the broadcaster's

signals" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

The cable industry has been willing to carry multicast channels as long as the

programming will attract a significant viewing base. If cable operators are offered a "mix of

compelling local and national shows," Martin Franks says, they will be more likely to carry all of

the stations' digital offerings (Albiniak, 2004). An example of this has been Time Warner

Cable's Raleigh, NC division carrying four multicast channels simultaneously for WRAL of the

NCAA Basketball Tournament since 2000 (Donohue, 2006).

Rather than arranging a formal must-carry agreement between DTV broadcasters and the

cable industry, Sakata proposes that cable operators be flexible with television broadcasters on

an individual basis. "These cable MSOs would really rather deal at the individual level," he

states ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).

In addition to the competition that cable operators feel from broadcasters, carriage of

broadcasters' SD signals also creates a management issue for cable operators. This is especially

true in cases in which broadcasters air HD for a portion of the day and then switch to multiple

SD channels later in the day. According to Glen Sakata, "In the beginning, it was a

philosophical objection, but now it's a management issue" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting," 2004).









The cable systems would rather not manage all of these channels coming and going.

Sakata says, "If a broadcaster sometimes has two channels, sometimes five, and sometimes one

channel, that's hard for the cable system to manage. On the cable electronic program guide

(EPG), they'll indicate a channel is there but just off the air" ("Re-Thinking Broadcasting,"

2004). These management issues and others will need to be effectively dealt with in order for

broadcasters and cable operators to be successful in collectively serving their market areas.

USDTV: A Low-Cost Alternative

In an effort to provide a low-cost, over-the-air alternative to cable, USDTV chief Steve

Lindsley asked broadcasters to combine their capital and their digital TV channels in ajointly-

owned pay multicasting venture. Lindsley felt that such an endeavor would be an opportunity to

create a direct relationship with consumers and eliminate the cable and satellite middlemen who

have relied on broadcasters to create $350 billion in value for themselves (Jessell, 2004). The

company rented extra digital bandwidth from broadcasters and then used the bandwidth to send

channels to subscribers using set-top boxes. After four years of offering a service that was being

utilized by some 7,200 subscribers, USDTV ceased operations in March 2007 (Moss, 2007).

While in operation, USDTV offered a package which included 12 cable channels and sold

for $19.95 per month. The package also included another 18 or so over-the-air channels, which

brought the total number of channels to 30. The cable networks included Fox News Channel,

Disney Channel, Toon Disney, ESPN and ESPN2, Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie

Network, Home & Garden Television, Food Network, Discovery Channel, Starz, and TLC. In

addition, USDTV served four markets: Salt Lake City, UT; Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX; Las Vegas,

NV; and Albuquerque, NM (Moss, 2007).

The company finally ran out of money and had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One of

the major problems faced by the company was that it was challenging and expensive to acquire









new customers. The company lost around $100 for every $99 box sold and their customer base

was largely lower-end customers that in many cases did not pay their bills. A second major

challenge faced by USDTV was that it had high customer chum, which averaged 4 percent

monthly. A major part of this was due to the fact that many subscribers were not satisfied with

the limited number of channels offered (Higgins, 2006).

Conclusion

In this chapter, the researcher looked at the theoretical, regulatory, and technological issues

surrounding digital television, specifically multicasting and ancillary services. The digital

initiatives pursued by industry participants to capitalize on the capabilities of this new

technology have been detailed.

The theoretical basis of the adoption and evolution of digital technology are reflected in

the principal drivers of the new technology, the core, supporting, and environmental factors

which make up the framework of new media adoption by media firms. The elements were

discussed in detail early in the chapter and then applied to multicasting and datacasting at the

local station level later in the chapter. The social movement theory was detailed to demonstrate

the actions taken by various groups which interacted to give the digital transition momentum.

The regulatory issues are addressed and the FCC rulings discussed, which include the

mandate for TVs to be digital over-the-air compatible and digital cable ready, the bill calling for

complete shut of analog on February 17, 2009, and the denying of cable carriage of multicast

channels for broadcasters. The debate over the carriage of broadcaster's secondary streams has

been ongoing for both broadcasters and cable operators as both groups have plenty of rationale in

defense of their positions. The technological issues behind HD and SD, the various uses of

multicast and datacast technology, and the complications involved in running these varied

formats have been requiring that broadcasters have flexibility in their business strategies.









There are a number of digital initiatives being pursued at the network, corporate, and local

levels. CBS, NBC, and ABC each have several digital undertakings either currently in operation

or being developed. In addition to these major networks, several networks have been created

solely for the purpose of use as multicast channels or ancillary offerings. At the local level,

stations will have many options to consider and they will need to weigh the advantages of this

new technology to the challenges that it presents. The media technology characteristics of each

advantage and challenge are highlighted as well to emphasize the variables which are affecting

the adoption of these technologies. One station, WRAL-TV, has been a pioneer in the area of

multicasting and datacasting whereas stations such as KUSA-TV have been

capitalizing on HD specifically. The efforts of the local broadcasters further complicate the

battle going on between cable operators, satellite companies, and other service alternatives such

as, now defunct, USDTV.









CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

In this chapter, the research method used in this study is discussed. The rationale for

choosing an interview methodology, the selection of study participants, and the procedure that

was followed prior to the actual interviews are discussed. Next, the chapter focuses on the

research questions and the ways in which the actual interviews were administered. The chapter

closes with detail as to the procedure used for analyzing the respondents' comments.

Data Gathering Method Used

Semistructured interviews were utilized for this study. According to Hollifield and Coffey

(2006), a semistructured interview consists of preset questions, but the interviewer will add or

remove questions as seems relevant or pursue new topics or lines of inquiry that may be

suggested by the respondent. Information regarding the appropriate research method was also

ascertained from Wimmer and Dominick (2000).

Since the investigator was conducting exploratory research, this method was considered

for several reasons to be the optimal research method. According to Hollifield and Coffey

(2006), gathering data from senior media executives needs to be in the form of an interview

method as these executives will usually not respond to telephone or mail surveys. Wimmer and

Dominick (2000) cite several key advantages of what they refer to as an unstructured intensive

interview. It is proposed that these same advantages apply to a semistructured interview

methodology as well. First, a large variety of detail can be ascertained. This is a result of the

flexibility of the method and the ability of the interviewer to ask follow up questions relating to

the unique answers given by each of the study participants. The majority of responses made by

the subjects differed in such a way that the information gathered by the follow up questions was

vital to this study. Second, this research method provides for more accurate responses on









sensitive issues which can be the result of the rapport established between the interviewer and

the subjects (Wimmer & Dominick, 2000). The executives were asked about the monetary

investments they have made to realize the capabilities of digital television as well as their

thoughts on their relationship with the cable providers in their coverage areas, subjects that may

not be answered or elaborated on using another research method due to their sensitive nature.

Third, intensive interviewing is truly the only practical technique for assessing the thoughts of

television station general managers on digital multicasting and ancillary services. For example,

it would be difficult to get these busy television executives to take the time to fill out surveys.

Similarly, it would be quite challenging to coordinate the schedules of a number of executives to

make a focus group possible.

Although there were many advantages to this research method, it did bring with it some

challenges. First, it required an enormous amount of resources, in terms of both time and money,

to travel to the various television stations within the four D.M.A.s (see Appendix A). Second,

since the interviews were semistructured, each of the participants may have answered different

versions of the same question or different questions entirely. Third, there was the possibility of

bias by the researcher both in terms of the way in which he asked the questions, but, also, the

way in which the executives' answers were interpreted. This is discussed further in Chapter 5

under the limitations of the study section.

Selecting the Study Participants

The researcher began by determining the characteristics of the ideal interview subject.

The first determination made was that the subjects needed to be executives familiar with the

strategic direction of the commercial television stations they represented. The reasoning for this

is that the researcher aimed to evaluate how stations are utilizing digital technology to more

effectively compete and generate revenue for their broadcast operations and only commercial









stations are in the pursuit of revenue. Ideally, the investigator wanted to only interview general

managers, but he decided that he would be willing to speak with an operations or engineering

manager, in certain cases, if he was referred to these people by the general manager. After

careful consideration, it was decided that the best way to investigate the research questions was

to compare the executives' answers to the interview questions using their market area size as a

means of identification and grouping. To do this, the researcher considered the fact that there are

211 designated market areas (D.M.A.s) in the United States. From this, the researcher arbitrarily

chose to divide these D.M.A.s into four distinct groupings based on size. In addition, the

investigator only wanted to analyze stations affiliated with one of the Big 4 networks, ABC,

NBC, CBS, and Fox, because these stations would have the greatest likelihood of being

sufficiently invested in digital technology.

This strategy represents a purposeful sample. According to Patton (1990), a purposeful

sampling strategy selects information-rich cases for comprehensive study. Specific numbers and

types of cases are deliberately and strategically selected and are suitable to the evaluation's

purposes and resources. This type of sampling is used in cases in which a researcher wants to

ensure that certain cases varying on preselected parameters are included. In this case, market

size was the primary parameter intended to vary. Although this kind of sampling is statistically

nonrepresentative, it is, from a purposeful sampling standpoint, informationally representative

(Trost, 1986).

Using a stratified purposeful sampling technique, interviews were set with managers of Big

4 affiliated and independent stations from the four different television designated market areas

(D.M.A.s). These D.M.A.s ranged in size, and they included one from a 1-25 sized D.M.A., one

from a 26-75 sized D.M.A., one from a 76-125 sized D.M.A., and one from a 126+ sized D.M.A.









The stratified sampling technique is ideal for this study in that its aim is to illustrate

characteristics of particular subgroups of interest, in this case the four different grouping based

on size, and then to make comparisons between each of the groupings. The preselected

parameter in this case is market size and the various core, supporting, and environmental factors

which affect the adoption of multicasting and ancillary services are the groupings which are to be

compared. These sizes were chosen because the dynamics of these market sizes suggested that

these D.M.A.s would substantially differ and would provide for the widest diversity of market

characteristics and competitive situations. The aim of the researcher was to interview executives

from several stations within each market size. Three were interviewed from 1-25 sized D.M.A.

(2 from the same station), three from 26-75 sized D.M.A., two from 76-125 sized D.M.A., and

one from 126+ sized D.M.A. As previously mentioned, the investigator intended to interview

executives at stations whose primary channel was affiliated with one of the Big 4 networks.

However, one of the stations, the station in which 26-75 ES is employed, is an independent

station. Although this station fell out of the initial selection criteria, the researcher thought it

would be valuable to see what differences might exist between this station and the stations

affiliated with the four largest networks.

The stations represented varied in size from 25 employees on the low end to 150-175 on

the high end. After deciding on the criteria of the ideal study participant and the markets to be

used in the study, the researcher gathered basic contact information for each of the stations and

then proceeded to contact each of the stations.

Pre-Interview Procedure

After gathering contact information online, the investigator called each Big 4 affiliate

station in each market and attempted to speak with the general manager. In cases in which the

names of the general managers were not found on the stations' websites, the researcher would









telephone each station and ask the receptionist for the name and phone number for the general

manager. Subsequently, an introductory letter was mailed out that introduced the researcher and

the details of the study. This was done so that the station executives and their assistants would

be somewhat familiar with the researcher and his intentions by the time he made his first follow-

up phone call to the station. During this follow-up call, the researcher began by introducing

himself and indicating that he needed 45 minutes of the executive's time to discuss the station's

multicasting and ancillary/datacasting initiatives and the challenges they were currently facing.

The investigator mentioned that he was a graduate student in telecommunications at the

University of Florida and that this interview would be part of a graduate thesis. Then, the

researcher gained verbal approval to conduct the interview in-person and with the use of a tape

recorder. The tape recorder was used to ensure an accurate and detailed account of the

interviewees' comments and insight.

Before conducting the research, the study methodology needed approval from the

University of Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB). A submission form was completed and

submitted and contained such information as the scientific purpose of the investigation as well as

the research methodology. The IRB asked about the selection process used to gather subjects as

well as the potential benefits and any anticipated risks that the subjects might experience. Also,

the IRB asked for a copy of the informed consent letter that would be sent to the television

executives. After the submission form was reviewed by the IRB, an approval letter was mailed

to the investigator. Since the study was to involve interviews with the removal of all identifiers,

the IRB approved the study and mailed the approval out in about two weeks.

Conducting the Interviews

For this study, nine television executives at eight different commercial television stations

were interviewed. Seven were interviewed in person and two were interviewed by phone over









the course of approximately two months. The first interview was held on September 21, 2006

with the last taking place on November 16, 2006. The in-person interviews were conducted with

the use of a tape recorder to record exact responses while handwritten notes were used in the

phone interviews. Prior to the interviews, the researcher had each of the participants sign an

informed consent form which confirmed their willingness to participate in the study. It detailed

the way in which the information shared would be used by the researcher and it promised the

interview subjects that all identifiers would be removed during the transcription stage. The

phone interviews were completed as a back up plan for the researcher. Two of the executives

were not able to meet in person and did not feel comfortable having their phone conversation

recorded. Therefore, the methodology and the informed consent form were amended to allow for

this as the viewpoints of these executives were valuable to the study. The researcher submitted a

protocol revision form to the IRB including the option of allowing the researcher to take notes

while on the phone. The interviews were put on hold for two weeks until the researcher received

a letter of approval from the IRB for the revision.

The researcher aimed to interview only general managers, but, in two of these cases, the

researcher was referred to another department. In one case, the researcher was referred to the

station operations manager and, in another, he was directed to a supervisor within the

engineering department. In these two instances, these people were considered by station

management to be the most knowledgeable on the topic area and, therefore, the best sources to

answer the questions of the study.

Research Questions and the Actual Interviews

After a thorough review of the literature, the investigator was able to generate some

questions which would be used to gauge the executives' understanding of multicasting and how

their stations were utilizing the technology to their benefit. The questions were open-ended and









there was no set order for them so that the interviewer could gain the widest variety and most in-

depth information possible. The interviews ranged from 20 minutes to 2 hours, with the majority

of them lasting about 45 minutes.

Following a basic question to confirm the broadcast ownership group that each station

belonged to, the interviews consisted of subquestions that were drawn from the three major

research questions. Since these subquestions collectively answer the major research questions,

the study is considered internally valid. The questions were grouped into three sections. The

first section included questions intended for an understanding of multicasting and the factors

influencing multicast programming stations were planning to broadcast on their digital streams.

The first section relates to research question #1 (See Interview Question Protocol in

Appendix D).

RQ1: What are the primary factors which are driving the adoption

of multicasting at broadcast outlets?

The interviewees were asked about the number of digital streams they are currently

broadcasting and whether they are, in fact, multicasting. For the purposes of this research study,

multicasting will be referred to as the use of two or more digital streams to broadcast two or

more "separate and unique" programming streams. For example, if a station is simply

simulcasting the programming of the primary stream on a second channel, this is not considered

multicasting in the eyes of the researcher. In addition to the question concerning multicasting,

the executives were asked about the level of influence that the networks had over their selection

of multicast channels and whether they were aware of any multicasting initiatives within the

broadcast group. Other questions included the costs involved in carrying these multicast

channels as well as the methods for selling these streams to potential advertisers. Lastly, the









interviewees were asked about whether they were familiar with USDTV, the now out-of-

business, low-cost alternative to cable, discussed in Chapter 2, and whether they felt that the

service was a viable business concept. At the time of the interviews, USDTV was still in

operation, although it had already declared bankruptcy.

The second research section asked about ancillary services such as datacasting,

subscription television programming, teletext, and interactive services. This section relates to

research question #2 (See Interview Question Protocol in Appendix E).

RQ2: What are the primary factors which are driving the adoption of various ancillary

services (datacasting, subscription television programming, teletext, and interactive services,

etc.) at broadcast outlets?

The interviewees were asked whether they were familiar with these digital ancillary

services and whether or not they were currently offering them to viewers in their respective

market areas. A similar line of questioning followed that mirrored that of the multicasting

questions, such as the influence of the network, any potential station group initiatives, the costs

involved in carrying these channels, and the selling of advertising on these channels.

The third section deals with the cable carriage of multicast channels. This section pertains

to research question #3 (See Interview Question Protocol in Appendix F).

RQ3: How is the current FCC decision mandating that cable systems only have to carry a

broadcaster's "primary video" programming stream effecting the multicasting and ancillary

service adoption decisions being made at broadcast outlets?

The executives were asked whether or not they felt that their digital strategy would be any

different if cable systems were mandated by the FCC to carry every multicast channel offered by

broadcasters. Furthermore, the interview subjects were asked whether or not they felt that









affiliates in small markets have more or less of a chance of getting their multicast channels on

cable systems. Similarly, the following question asked whether affiliates of the Big 4 networks

have any more or less of a chance of getting their multicast channels on cable systems than

affiliates of the smaller networks or independent stations. Furthermore, the executives were

asked whether cable systems currently carried their multicast channels or not and what steps

were involved in the process of enticing these cable systems to carry these channels. The final

question asked whether or not the interviewees felt that their network affiliation or the clout of

their broadcast group had any bearing over their ability to get cable carriage of their multicast

channels.

Data Analysis

Following the interviews, detailed transcriptions were completed of the seven audio-taped

interviews and the notes, taken during the two phone interviews, were summarized and

organized by research question. After reading each of the transcriptions and notes twice, several

key themes were identified and the sections pertaining to these themes were highlighted using a

color-coded scheme. The findings were first grouped into the three groupings of factors

identified in the framework of new media adoption discussed in Chapter 2, core, supporting, and

environmental. After findings were placed into each of these three major groupings, findings

were further divided into subgroupings. For instance, those characteristics dealing with the firm

and media technology, in this case, multicasting and ancillary services, were separated. The

perceived overall strategic value, managerial knowledge/incentives, and strategic networks made

up the three subgroupings of the supporting factors. Data pertaining to the environmental factors

were classified into three subgroupings: market conditions, competition, and regulation/policy.









Conclusion

A stratified purposeful sample and semistructured interviews with these sample groupings

were the chosen method by which the researcher looked to answer the research questions. Since

this study was exploratory in nature, this methodology made the most sense as the investigator

was not sure what themes would arise from the interviews not to mention the plethora of

information given by the interview subjects. The researcher had a clear understanding of the

ideal participant and had a pre-interview procedure that maximized the possibility of scheduling

this subject for an interview. The first two major research questions focus on multicasting and

ancillary services and the factors which are driving the decision whether or not to adopt the

technologies and in what form. The third major research question focuses on the effect of the

current FCC decision mandating that cable systems only have to carry a broadcaster's primary

video stream on the decisions that broadcasters are making in regards to multicasting and

ancillary services. Following the administration of the interviews, the researcher identified

themes and then segregated each theme into one of three categories based on the framework of

media adoption: core, supporting ,and environmental. Using these groupings as a guide, the

researcher systematically reviewed the comments of each interview respondent and placed them

into one of the three groupings.









CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS

In this chapter, the answers and comments provided by the study participants in response

to the interview questions posed are detailed. After profiles are provided for each of the

respondents, their answers and comments regarding the three research questions are examined.

The responses of the interviewees are ordered in a format following the framework proposed by

Chan-Olmsted (2006) of new media adoption by media firms. The themes will be highlighted

such that the characteristics that deal with the core, firm and media technology, are first

discussed. The second group of themes will focus on the supporting areas which include the

perceived overall strategic value, the managerial knowledge/incentives, and the strategic

networks within which media firms become involved. Third, the environmental factors which

include market conditions, competition, and regulation will be detailed. As discussed in Chapter

2, all of these variables collectively influence the adoption of new media technology, in this case,

multicasting and ancillary services.

The first research question asks about the multicast business model stations are planning to

adopt and the factors leading up to these decisions. There were a variety of subquestions that

dealt with this major research question and, subsequently, a variety of answers provided. The

subquestions ranged from the number of digital streams being offered and the programming

offered on these streams to questions pertaining to the influence of the network and the

multicasting initiatives which may be in place at the ownership group level. The broad range of

these questions evoked an equally diverse array of answers. Questions were also posed about the

methods by which advertising is sold on the digital subchannels offered by the broadcasters

questioned. The final subquestion tied to research question #1 asked the study participants about

their thoughts on USDTV, the wireless alternative to cable which is now out of business.









The second research question asks about the types of ancillary services that stations are

planning to offer and the variables which are influencing these decisions. Although the original

list of interview questions mirrors that of the first research question, only a few of the

subquestions are discussed in this chapter due to the limited involvement of the interview

subjects with ancillary services at the time the study was conducted. The interview questions

asked, and the answers provided, deal with the plans that broadcasters have to offer these

advanced services and the types of content they are intending to broadcast.

The third research question delves into the impact of the current FCC decision requiring

that cable systems only have to carry a broadcaster's primary video stream on the digital

business models being developed. There were a number of subquestions that dealt with this

major research question. The comments provided by the interview subjects detailing their

thoughts on the strategic differences that would exist in reaction to an FCC mandate requiring

cable systems to carry all the secondary streams broadcast by stations are reviewed. Next, the

interview participants were asked about the effects of market size and a network affiliation with

one of the Big 4 networks on the likelihood of broadcasters receiving carriage of their secondary

digital channels. Another question asked about the current cable carriage arrangement that each

station is receiving and the elements involved in the negotiation process.

As an aside, the researcher promised anonymity to the interview subjects. Whenever a

specific identifying word was provided in the interviews, it was replaced with a generic word in

parenthesis during the transcription process. These generic words and their format have been

transferred from the interview transcriptions to this chapter.

Profile of Interview Participants

Before exploring the research findings, the investigator feels that it is necessary to provide

a brief descriptive profile of each of the interview participants. Each of the interview subjects is









identified as either in-person or over the phone, depending upon the nature of the actual

interaction.

1-25 GM A (in-person) is a vice president and general manager of a Big 4 network station

in a Top 25 D.M.A. He has an extensive news management background and serves on the

executive committee for the Florida Association of Broadcasters.

1-25 GM B (phone) is general manager of a Top 25 D.M.A. Big 4 network station. He

also serves as senior vice president for a major broadcast ownership group and has extensive

sales and sales management experience.

1-25 OM (in-person) is the director of broadcast operations and engineering for a Top 25

D.M.A. Big 4 network station. He has a comprehensive background in television engineering.

26-75 GM A (phone) is the general manager of a 26-75 D.M.A. duopoly. This duopoly is

made up of two Big 4 networks and includes an analog and digital channel for each network.

Also, this broadcast operation carries a digital subchannel for one of the two stations. He serves

on the executive committee for the Florida Association of Broadcasters as well.

26-75 GM B (in-person) is the general manager of a 26-75 D.M.A. duopoly. The duopoly

consists of two Big 4 networks and includes an analog and digital channel for each network. She

has an extensive background in sales management and as a general manager and she serves on

the affiliate board of one of the Big 4 networks.

26-75 ES (in-person) is an engineering supervisor for a 26-75 D.M.A. independent station.

He has an extensive background in radio and television engineering. Also, he has a Masters

degree from the University of Florida in telecommunications.

76-125 GM A (in-person) is the general manager of a 76-125 D.M.A. digital duopoly.

This duopoly is possible as one of the networks is first broadcast off of a low-power transmitter









and then microwaved to a full-power transmitter and broadcast on the digital subchannel of the

primary network. He has a comprehensive background in news, sales, and sales management.

76-125 GM B (in-person) is the general manager of a 76-125 D.M.A. digital duopoly.

This duopoly is possible as one of the networks is broadcast on the digital subchannel of the

primary network. This executive also serves as a regional vice president for a major broadcast

ownership group.

126+ GM (in-person) is the general manager of a 126+ D.M.A. digital duopoly. This

duopoly, similar to that of 76-125 GM B's station, is made possible through broadcasting of the

secondary affiliation on the digital subchannel of the primary network. He has an extensive

background in radio and television sales and sales management.

Status of Multicasting as of Interview

Before delving into the framework of new media adoption by media firms, the status of

multicasting will be discussed. The status is considered as of the date of the interview with each

of the stations' executives.

As the researcher expected, all of the executives were quite familiar with multicast

technology. As mentioned in Chapter 3, multicasting refers to the use of two or more digital

streams to broadcast two or more "separate and unique" programming streams. Although the

executives were familiar with multicasting, not all of them were utilizing the technology as of

Table 4-1. Stations Multicasting as of Interview Date
Broadcast Outlet Multicasting?

Yes No
1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x
1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A (duopoly) x
26-75 GM B (duopoly) x
26-75 ES x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x









their interview, as illustrated in Table 4-1. The station where 1-25 GM A and 1-25 OM served as

managers was not multicasting as of the interview date. Also, the stations, where 26-75 GM B

and 26-75 ES were employed, were not multicasting as well.

To fully assess the multicasting that was taking place at the various television stations as of

their interview, it is necessary to examine the specifics of the digital streams broadcast.

As seen in Table 4-2, the majority of the stations were offering two digital streams. 1-25 GM A

and 1-25 OM's station was broadcasting two digital streams, one HD (primary stream) and one

SD stream, which simulcasted the content of the primary stream. Naturally, the only content on

the primary stream that was in HD was the network HD programming, such as some prime

programming, select sporting events, and a few news programs and talk shows. Also, 26-75

ES's station simulcasted its analog content on its .1 and .2 digital subchannels. The .2 digital

Table 4-2. Number and Format of Digital Streams Broadcast
Broadcast Station Number & Type of Digital Stream

1 HD 1 HD & 1 SD 1 HD & 1 SD
Simulcast Simulcast
"Separate & Unique"

1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x
1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A 1 x
26-75 GM A 2 x
26-75 GM B 1 x
26-75 GM B 2 x
26-75 ES x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x


channel was being used to help feed cable companies in outlying areas that were unable to pick

up the analog signal. This is not considered multicasting under the researcher's aforementioned

definition. However, 1-25 GM B, 76-125 GM A, 76-125 GM B, and 126+ GM offered one HD









and one SD stream with "unique and separate" programming broadcast on the second channel,

which was considered multicasting under the definition used by the researcher for the purposes

of this study. 26-75 GM A was broadcasting one HD and one SD channel for one of his two

stations while 26-75 GM B was broadcasting only one digital channel for each station.

Two of the broadcast operations planned to begin multicasting within six months, whereas

another broadcaster was not sure (see Table 4-3). 1-25 GM A and 1-25 OM who, as previously

mentioned, represented the same station, stated that they would begin multicasting

"in the next month or two" and would thus cease the digital simulcast that they were currently

broadcasting (1-25 GM A, personal communication, October 16, 2006). In addition, 26-75 GM

Table 4-3. Time Frame for Non-Multicasters to Begin Multicasting
Broadcast Outlets Not Currently Multicasting Time Frame to Begin Multicasting

Within 6 Months Not Sure

1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x
26-75 GM B (duopoly) x
26-75 ES x

B mentioned that her multicast channel would be launched at the first of the year (2007) on the

digital subchannel of one of her two existing channels. 26-75 ES, however, did not know when

his station would start multicasting. He stated that his company had entertained the idea and

may have been in negotiations to carry a couple of multicast channels, but no agreement had

been made as of the time of the interview.

Viewpoints on USDTV: The Wireless Alternative to Cable

Before discussing the framework of new media adoption proposed by Chan-Olmsted, it is

necessary to briefly look at the perception the respondent's had of USDTV's wireless alternative

to cable. The study subjects were asked whether or not they believed the company had a viable

business concept.









Reasons cited for why USDTV's business model was not viable

As summarized in Table 4-4, nearly all of the executives believed that the business model

was not viable. 26-75 GM B said that since USDTV had declared bankruptcy, then apparently it

did not have a viable business concept. She mentioned that the industry has reached "a

plateau, a point where we've been prodded and picked at from all covers now in the television

Table 4-4. Reasons Why or Why Not that USDTV was a Viable Business Concept
Broadcast Outlet Was USDTV a Viable Concept?

Yes No/Ahead of Its Time
26-75 GM B x
*Problems with chur
*Limited channel offering
*Difficult to deal with variety of owners

26-75 ES x
*Competition from established cable &
satellite companies
*Having to compete with consumer habits

76-125 GM A x
*Challenging road ahead
*Could ultimately succeed as people
become educated about the days when
people picked up over-the-air signals
with antennas

76-125 GM B x
*Legitimate, especially
in markets in which the
Big 4 affiliates are
broadcasting 3 or 4
subchannels

126+ GM x
*Could not offer service in smaller markets
because of lack of bandwidth
*Needs to be in market where all of the
transmitters are in one location









business and we're pretty consistent" (personal communication, November 7, 2006). When

looking into broadcasters using their own spectrum to deliver cable signals, 26-75 GM B did not

know if there was that much demand. She felt that the cable companies and the satellite

providers do a pretty decent job of delivering a wide variety of content.

The second problem with USDTV was that people are accustomed to receiving a wide

variety of channels. She stated, "If you're going to belly-up for cable or DirecTV, you know the

basic packages include significantly more [channels] than a station's ability to provide [various

channels] using their spectrum as a cable provider" (26-75 GM B, personal communication,

November 7, 2006).

The third problem with USDTV's wireless cable alternative, as stated by 26-75 ES, was

that it was "at best, ahead of its time" (personal communication, November 7, 2006). One of the

major challenges that the company faced was that it tried to compete with some well-established

cable and satellite companies not to mention the "habits of the consumer" (26-75 ES, personal

communication, November 7, 2006). Consumers are accustomed to a cable installer coming to

their home, hooking up their television set to a cable and cable box, and, immediately thereafter,

receiving nearly one hundred channels.

The fourth major challenge faced by USDTV was that although its overall service price

was lower than other multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) (see Appendix A),

the cost-per-channel was higher than either cable or satellite. This higher price per channel

coupled with the limited variety of channels represented, in the opinion of 26-75 ES, two

obstacles that made it especially difficult for USDTV to draw subscribers from either cable or

satellite (personal communication, November 7, 2006).









Although USDTV eventually went out of business, as of November 1, 2006, 76-125 GM A

said that he would love to see them succeed. However, he felt that it would be a challenging

road ahead for the company. He felt that there was a chance that USDTV could ultimately

succeed as people become more educated about what it was like in the days before cable when

antennas were used to pick up free, over-the-air television signals. If people could be

reeducated that they can pick up a variety of channels for free over the airwaves, or for only $20

a month, then it could, potentially, be a whole different story (76-125 GM A, personal

communication, November 1, 2006).

126+ GM said that one of the problems that was experienced by USDTV was that for the

company to service a particular market, it would need to have sufficient bandwidth available. He

states, "They couldn't do it in (126+ market) because they couldn't get enough bandwidth,

there's not enough stations" (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). Not

only would it have to be a larger market, but it also would have to be a market in which all of the

television transmitters are in one location (personal communication, September 21, 2006).

Reasons cited for why USDTV's business model could have been viable

76-125 GM B felt that the business concept used by USDTV was legitimate; especially

when you look at a local market in which the ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox affiliates are each

broadcasting three or possibly even four digital subchannels. This means a "potload" of stations

that people can pick up either over-the-air for free or through an MVPD, such as another

USDTV-type service, cable, or satellite operator (76-125, personal communication, November 1,

2006). If a distributor were to add a 24-hour weather channel, a 24-hour news channel, or yet

another network to the mix, then a company like USDTV would be able to start competing with

the satellite and cable companies (personal communication, November 1, 2006).









Core Characteristics

The first major segment of factors to be discussed is that of the core. The core consists of

both firm characteristics and media technology characteristics. The firm characteristics in this

research study deal with the affiliation of the station as well as the broadcast ownership group to

which it belongs. An important part of this is also the organizational strategic traits of the

station, its degree of entrepreneurship, and its competitive repertoire. Also of consideration are

current new media holdings, historical performance, size, and age. All of these components

apply to the network to which the station is affiliated, the ownership group to which the

broadcaster belongs, and the management of the television operation itself.

Firm Characteristics

The first variable to be discussed is that of a station's affiliation and its affect on the

multicast and datacast model chosen by the broadcaster. Although a station's affiliation does

serve as an example of a strategic, for the purposes of this research study, the affiliation is

classified as a firm characteristic. The reasoning for this is that a station's affiliation is one of

three entities, the others being the ownership group and the station's management team, which

dictate the station's organizational strategic traits, degree of entrepreneurship, and competitive

repertoires. The current new media holdings, historical performance, size, and age of the

network to which the station is affiliated are also of influence to the broadcaster.

Station affiliation

In this research study, the network being referred to is the network which is carried on the

station's primary video stream not the network being carried on the secondary stream.

As demonstrated in Table 4-5, there was a strong consensus among the executives

interviewed that the network had very little influence over what multicast channels their stations









Table 4-5. Level of Influence of the Network over Local Multicasting
Broadcast Outlets Currently Level of Influence of Network
Multicasting
None Moderate High No Answer

1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A x
(partnership)
26-75 GM B x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x

were broadcasting. 1-25 GM B, 26-75 GM B, and 76-125 GM A all claimed that the network

had no influence over the content carried on their multicast channels.

1-25 GM A mentioned that his network has "toyed with the idea of doing a 24-hour news

channel, but those talks have languished and have probably fallen apart." He continued, by

saying, "And as far as I know, those talks have stalled over revenue models and how to split

potential revenue from a second channel that would be an all-news channel" (1-25 GM A,

personal communication, October 16, 2006).

Naturally, however, the networks do have some influence in cases in which they

distribute programming to their affiliates. 26-75 GM A mentioned that although his network,

one of the Big 4, conceived the idea of (weather multicast channel), it is not something that they

mandated that all of their affiliates carry. The idea behind the weather multicast channel was to

be a partnership between the network and its affiliates. 26-75 GM B mentioned that one of the

Big 4 networks that she carries had discussed providing programming for a subchannel, but the

idea just never materialized.

Effect of Big 4 affiliation. The effect of having a Big 4 affiliation is further assessed by

comparing it to the effect of carrying an affiliation with one of the smaller networks, such as The

CW or My Network, or broadcasting as an independent station.









As illustrated in Table 4-6, four of the executives claimed that there is more of a chance for a Big

4 affiliate to receive multicast carriage. 1-25 GM B remarked that "there is more value

associated with the four major networks" (personal communication, November 15, 2006).

Table 4-6. Likelihood that Having a Big 4 Affiliation Will Influence Multicast Cable Carriage
More Than Will a Smaller Network or Independent Station
Broadcast Outlet & Its More or Less of a Chance to Receive Multicast Carriage?
Primary Affiliation
More of a Chance Less of a Chance Depends on Other
Factors

1-25 GM B
(Big 4) *More value associated
with the four major
networks
*Gives a broadcaster
more leverage


26-75 GM A
(Big 4 Duopoly)


x
*Offering compelling
content is the way to
increase value
*Big 4 networks have
the greatest capacity
to do this


26-75 GM B


(corporate deals that


*Based on market
demand and politics

are already in place)


26-75 ES
76-125 GM A

76-125 GM B
(Big 4 Digital Duopoly)


x
*What matters is
carriage on the
cable analog tier
*Timing of
retransmission
negotiations is
important









Having one of the top four network affiliations gives a broadcaster more leverage in their

negotiations with cable systems. In the case of his station, 1-25 GM B stated that if a cable

system wants to carry (Big 4 network), then the cable system will also have to carry (local

multicast ii either channel) (personal communication, November 15, 2006).

26-75 GM A felt that affiliates of the Big 4 networks in a market do have more of a

chance of getting their multicast channels on cable systems than affiliates of the smaller

networks or independent stations. He declared that "offering compelling content is the way to

increase value and the Big 4 networks have the greatest capacity to offer the most alluring

content" (26-75 GM A, personal communication, November 16, 2006).

26-75 ES felt that the Big 4 networks have a greater chance of getting their multicast

channels on cable systems than the smaller affiliates and independent stations. As mentioned

earlier, his station is an independent. He mentioned that (localMSO) carries the digital streams

of the Big 4 affiliates as well as PBS in his market, while The CW and his independent station

are not carried. Both his station and The CW affiliate were in negotiations for cable carriage at

the time of the interview (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

26-75 ES claimed, "Part of our handicap, right now, is getting high-def programming to

showcase" (personal communication, November 7, 2006). A good deal of the syndicated

versions of many television series are not being distributed in high-definition. For instance,

when his station first began running the syndicated version of CSI, he was told that they could

not gain access to the high-def version as it was being reserved to run on the network (CBS). 26-

75 ES believed that stations did not contest this much because many of them were unable to play

high-definition. As suggested by 26-75 ES, "It's kind of chicken and the egg. You don't go out









and try high-def because it's been expensive, unless you've got something you can play with it"

(personal communication, November 7, 2006).

76-125 GM A responded to this issue by saying that there is "absolutely" more of a

chance for an affiliate of one of the Big 4 networks to negotiate carriage of its digital secondary

channels than if the station were an affiliate of one of the smaller networks or an independent

station (personal communication, November 1, 2006). He continued by agreeing with 1-25 GM

B that when a broadcaster has a Big 4 affiliation, they have more leverage. 76-125 GM A then

mentioned a competitor in his market that threatened to take their primary, Big 4 affiliation

channel away from the cable company since the cable operator would not carry its digital

subchannel on its analog tier. He said that the broadcaster really could not afford to have the

cable operator not carry its Big 4 affiliate signal and, therefore, it was an empty threat. He

maintained that there has to be other ways to negotiate carriage in situations in which you cannot

really threaten the local cable operator.

Strong effect of network affiliation on cable carriage. Since to date there is no

multicast carriage mandate, stations need to rely on voluntary carriage. The interview subjects

were asked about network affiliation and its effect on a station receiving voluntary carriage.

Three of the current multicasters felt that network affiliation is a strong determinant of voluntary

multicast cable carriage (see Table 4-7). 1-25 GM B stated that "the network has a lot to do with

our ability to get cable carriage of our programming" (personal communication, November 15,

2006).

26-75 GM A said that he believes that his network affiliation was key to his ability to

receive multicast cable carriage. He remarked, "We are a strong (Big 4 affiliation) and (Big 4

affiliation) affiliate and we are in a growth mode so cable companies will want to carry our









Table 4-7. Multicasters' Views on the Effects of Network Affiliation and Broadcast Ownership
Group on Ability to Receive Cable Carriage
Current Multicasters Dominant Factors & Their Level of Effect
on Multicast Cable Carriage

1-25 GM B *Network has a lot to do with ability to get carriage
*Most negotiating done on a local level

26-75 GM A *Network has a strong influence on ability to receive
cable carriage
*Station has two strong affiliations and the operation
is in a growth mode

76-125 GM A Respondent provided no comment

76-125 GM B Respondent provided no comment

126+ GM *Network affiliation has a great deal to do with ability
to get carriage
*If he still had only a minor affiliation, he would have
some problems


programming" (26-75 GM A, personal communication, November 16, 2006). In addition, he

mentioned that "high-profile programming, such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl, help (Big

4 network) and (Big 4 network) affiliates a great deal in their negotiations with cable providers"

(26-75 GM A, personal communication, November 16, 2006).

126+ GM answered this question by claiming that his network affiliation had a lot to do

with his ability to get cable carriage of his digital subchannel. He said that if he still had only a

minor affiliation then he would have some problems. He added, "Frankly, (multicast digital

channel) is on because of the (Big 4 network) and the HD" (126+ GM, personal communication,

September 21, 2006).

Ownership group

The second variable to be discussed is that of the ownership group to which a television

station belongs. The ownership group can have a strong impact on the multicast and datacast









model chosen by a broadcaster. As with affiliation, the ownership group also could fall under

the category of a strategic network, when its relationship with a broadcaster is taken into

account. However, in this study, the ownership group is considered a firm characteristic. The

reasoning for this is that a station's ownership group is one of three entities, the others being the

network with which the station is affiliated and the station's management team, which dictate the

station's organizational strategic traits, degree of entrepreneurship, and competitive repertoires.

The current new media holdings, historical performance, size, and age of the ownership group

are also of influence to the broadcaster.

Involvement of ownership group with multicasting. As illustrated in Table 4-8, two of

the station executives interviewed mentioned definite multicast initiatives being realized at the

Table 4-8. Multicast Initiatives Within Station Group

Broadcast Outlets Multicast Initiatives Within Station Group



26-75 GM B *Creation of a multicast channel
(not music or weather)

*Negotiating completed at the corporate level, but was
done locally in the past

26-75 ES *Local weather channel launched in a Top 25 market
*Internet and webchannel full of news & video

76-125 GM B -Picking up My Network, The CW & Fox to run on
digital channels

the station group level. The first television executive mentioned that her ownership group was

actually creating a channel for multicast. 26-75 GM B said that the channel will not be a

syndicated product and that it will not be a type of weather or music channel. The channel will

be primarily programmed by the broadcast group; however, stations will have the option of









incorporating their own local programming as they see fit. 26-75 GM B mentioned that her

station will be "developing local programming as time moves on" for the channel (personal

communication, November 7, 2006). The second executive (26-75 ES's comments are detailed

below), 76-125 GM B, claimed that "(station ownership group), as a company, has really gotten

into multicast" (personal communication, November 1, 2006). The executive mentioned that his

group had picked up My Network and The CW to run as multicast channels for both of their

Florida stations as well as one of their Alabama stations. Another station, in Georgia, had picked

up My Network and, in smaller markets, the broadcast group had picked up Fox to run on its

digital subchannels.

Furthermore, several television executives mentioned that they have a lot of autonomy in

deciding how multicasting can most effectively meet their stations' needs. 1-25 GM B, 26-75

GM A, and 26-75 GM B all claimed that their station groups allow them a lot of control over

what they feel is best for their individual communities. However, as mentioned by 1-25 GM B,

"the more stations that group together in a multicasting effort, the more clout that these stations

will individually have" (personal communication, November 15, 2006).

Broadcast ownership groups in many cases work with cable systems in determining cable

carriage of their broadcasters' signals. 26-75 GM B's digital subchannel is also carried on the

cable systems in the market. In this case, the negotiations with the cable systems took place at

the corporate level. At one point, the broadcast ownership group gave its broadcast stations the

autonomy to negotiate cable carriage individually. 26-75 GM B felt that it is "probably most

beneficial if they're negotiated locally because generally you can get to know the people and you

work a good deal" (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006). However, she

was satisfied with the deal her station received.









1-25 GM A says that his broadcast ownership group has more leverage with the cable

companies than most in that it owns two popular cable networks in addition to broadcast

television stations. His broadcast ownership group gives his station some "bargaining chips

because most cable companies want to clear those channels" (1-25 GM A, personal

communication, October 16, 2006).

Ownership group explores multicasting in another market. 26-75 ES mentioned that

his broadcast ownership group is looking into different ways in which multicast technology can

be utilized to generate revenue. The ownership group has a station in a Top 25 market that is

currently broadcasting its version of a local weather channel. That weather channel includes a

radar box, a box containing news clips and promos, and a ticker along the bottom, much like

CNN or Fox News Channel. However, in the case of 26-75 ES's station, the company wants "to

be careful because they don't want to detract from the independent and doing eight hours of

news a day" (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). Whatever multicast

model is chosen, it needs to "supplement" not "detract" from their primary, news-focused

channel. Currently, the broadcast ownership group is delving into the Internet and is focused on

providing a webchannel full of news and video which will be of interest to not only viewers, but

advertisers as well (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

Ownership group's effect on development of HD news. In exploring the new options

arising from the conversion from analog to digital, 1-25 OM's station is considering HD news.

He mentioned that if he gets the appropriate funds and it is what management wants to do, then

his station will move forward. The station ownership group has introduced it in a few markets

already.









Involvement of ownership group with ancillary services. As ancillary services are a

relatively unexplored digital phenomenon, the involvement of the ownership groups in the

individual stations' development of these services vary greatly.

As detailed in Table 4-9, some of the executives felt that the decision to pursue ancillary

services is more of a corporate decision. 1-25 OM stated that his broadcast ownership group had

looked into datacasting and other ancillary services. (Broadcast ownership group) was a

member of a consortium of companies that had an interest in a firm that would develop

datacasting. This entity would supply data and other content, whether it was in the form of

movies, games, or software, to broadcast stations. 1-25 OM felt that the company had "what

appeared to be a good business model" (personal communication, October 16, 2006). Despite

the business model and the number of ideas shared by the various companies within the

consortium, the ancillary/datacasting service just never materialized (1-25 OM, personal

communication, October 16, 2006).

Table 4-9. Involvement of Ownership Group in Decision to Pursue Ancillary Services
Broadcast Outlet Involvement of Ownership Group in Decision
to Pursue Ancillary Services
More of a Local Decision More of a Corporate Decision

1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x
1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A (duopoly) x
26-75 GM B (duopoly) x
26-75 ES x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x



26-75 GM B affirmed that she was familiar with datacasting and ancillary services, but

she did not have plans to provide this kind of service. Furthermore, she stated that it is possible

that her station could do it in the future. She declared that providing ancillary services, such as









datacasting and subscription television, would be more of a corporate initiative than a local

decision. However, if her broadcast ownership group were to approach her and say that it had

solidified a deal with AT&T or whomever and the ownership group provided specifics as to the

bandwidth they would be necessary among other things, then she would be confident in moving

forward with the technology. As of the interview, this had not happened.

26-75 ES responded to this issue by saying that he was not aware of any plans to datacast

or provide subscription programming, although he admitted that some plans could be in the

works. He said that the broadcast ownership company tends to look at ways of building

nontraditional revenue first. 26-75 ES mentioned that his company is always open to

considering new and innovative ways of generating revenue, but it is careful in implementing

these ideas. Most importantly, he stated, "They don't want to throw money at something that

would detract, or take away, resources from the core, existing business" (26-75 ES, personal

communication, November 7, 2006). Also, the company considers how long it will take before it

sees a return on its investment when considering new business ventures.

Various ownership groups created one of the biggest challenges for USDTV. One of

the potential reasons for USDTV not working out is that it did not have all of the local stations

on board with the service. According to 26-75 GM B, it was very difficult to do this because the

company had to negotiate with different ownership groups, network owned-and-operated stations

(O&Os), and independent stations. To prove this point she stated, "The objectives and the

priorities of the ABC television network are going to be substantially different than the priorities

of the Emmis or the priorities of a Harry Pappas who, you know, an individual owner who's

really the wild card" (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006).









Media Technology Characteristics

The next set of variables deal with the nature of new media technology, in this case,

multicasting and datacasting.

1-25 GM A stated that it is the hope that local television stations will have what the FCC

promised years ago, a multicasting system allowing each station to have as much as 16 MHZ of

bandwidth. According to 1-25 GM A, broadcasters are "dug" in as an industry because four

distinct signals could potentially be sent out from one station (personal communication, October

16, 2006).

Nevertheless, 26-75 ES sees the challenges that lay before the cable systems in dealing

with multicasting and datacasting. He said that if he were the technical guy over on the cable

side he might feel differently about having "to try and squeeze everything into a cable." He

continued by stating, "I'll say, being a technical person, I feel his pain" (26-75 ES, personal

communication, November 7, 2006).

USDTV and its media technology characteristics

One of the primary problems with the business model that was used by USDTV,

according to 26-75 GM B, was that its customer base was a lower-income household as the

company was offering only a basic package with a limited number of channels. 26-75 GM B felt

like there probably was a lot of chum as people neglected paying their bills and later got shut off.

Newness and content distribution

Multicasting and ancillary services can be examined by looking into their degree of

newness to a station and a local market. In addition, the need to distribute a content product

more efficiently is an important factor in determining the feasibility of these digital technologies.

126+ GM said that his station produces a local show about various destinations within a

short distance from the city served by his station. The station will also be producing and









carrying a high school basketball program in addition to several political shows that it is doing in

conjunction with the local cable franchise. 126+ GM stated, "We have more room to run them

on (multicast channel). We actually can use that multicasting digital tool to run more local stuff

because we have more avails on that than we do (Big 4 affiliate)" (126+ GM, personal

communication, September 21, 2006). Also, local churches, a college coach's show, a local

police show, and a locally-produced program for sportsmen are run on its multicast channel.

To gauge the amount of new programming being offered by broadcasters, a look at the

types of in-house programming being developed on these multicast channels is necessary.

The broadcasters involved in this study were producing weather, news, and local interest

in-house programming. 1-25 GM B said that his station was running a 24-7 local weather

channel and that it was fully automated. "Every three hours a meteorologist shoots a new

segment. There is a 5-minute wheel which continually airs throughout the day that includes one

minute of commercials" (1-25 GM B, personal communication, November 15, 2006).

Table 4-10. Type of In-House Programming Being Aired on Multicast Channels
Broadcast Outlet Type of In-House Programming Being Aired

NoneWeather News Local Interest
1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x


76-125 GM B stated that he ran news on his digital subchannel. In regards to the news, he

said, "We do a potluck. I mean, we're the dominant station in this market" (76-125 GM B,

personal communication, November 1, 2006). His station currently runs a 7pm. newscast on his

multicast channel.









Complementarities

Complementarities in terms of digital television refer to a situation in which multiple

channels broadcast are more valuable than simply offering a single channel. The new program

content on the secondary channel is an example of horizontal complementarity. There is a

variety of content being broadcast by the operations of the executives interviewed. There were

also a variety of reasons behind the selection of a combination of programming.

Reasons cited by stations currently multicasting for a particular combination of

multicast programming. As highlighted in Table 4-11, there were are a number of reasons

provided for the current multicasters to carry a particular combination of programming.

Table 4-11. Reasons Provided by Current Multicasters for Carrying This Combination of
Programming
Broadcast Outlets Currently Reasons for Carrying this Combination of
Multicasting
1-25 GM B *Weather is the #1 area of interest in news studies
*Wanted to offer completely local weather

26-75 GM A Respondent provided no comment

76-125 GM A Respondent provided no comment

76-125 GM B *Wanted to have flexibility to program channel
*Wanted to offer local news as station
dominates the market
126+ GM *Wanted to provide an outlet for local businesses
*Local involvement
*Place for syndicated programming that did not
have an outlet


1-25 GM B decided to air a 24/7 local weather channel on his multicast channel for two

major reasons. First of all, weather is the #1 area of interest in many news studies. Second, the









weather product differs from NBC Weather Plus, which airs on a competitor's station in the

market, because it is completely local (1-25 GM B, personal communication, November 15,

2006).

76-125 GM B is pleased to air My Network as it gives him flexibility to program the

channel the way he prefers. He actually had an opportunity to carry The CW on digital, but he

did not for the simple fact that he would lose the flexibility to program the channel. My Network

only ties up two hours of prime at night five days per week and these two hours are all he is

losing by using this network as a digital multicast channel. When his station carried UPN in the

past, his local programming had better ratings than UPN Prime so he felt that carrying My

Network would be the best avenue for his digital subchannel. Also, he liked the idea of being

able to carry a local news product as his station, as previously mentioned, dominates the market

in news (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006).

126+ GM claimed that his station uses its combination of programming to "get some

local flavor and give them [local businesses] an outlet for their shows" (126+ GM, personal

communication, September 21, 2006). By having a multicast channel available, it allows 126+

GM's station to bring more shows to the marketplace, such as syndicated programming that did

not have an outlet. His station carries a lot of the syndicated shows that cater to an African-

American audience, like My Wife & Kids, One on One, and Girlfriends, that did not have an

outlet on which to air in the market (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006).

Reasons cited by stations not currently multicasting for a particular combination of

future multicast programming. Two of the stations, represented by 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM and

26-75 GM B, are not currently multicasting. However, they did provide rationale as to why they









would be launching digital subchannels in the few months following their interview with the

researcher (see Table 4-12). 1-25 GM A stated that his station is going to launch a weather

channel because that is the "smart thing to do as far as business goes and marketing yourself

goes and making the commitment to the community goes, and having our brand of weather on"

(1-25 GM A, personal communication, October 16, 2006). He also mentioned that some people

like (local meteorologist), his station's main meteorologist, and they want his opinion as to what

is going on in regards to the weather. Furthermore, 26-75 GM B mentioned that her station's

plans to broadcast a channel created by its broadcast ownership group is an appropriate avenue

Table 4-12. Reasons Provided by Future Multicasters for Carrying This Combination of
Programming
Broadcast Outlets Planning Reasons Cited for Particular Combination of
to Multicast Multicast Programming

1-25 GM A/1-25 OM -Marketing/branding
*Commitment to community
*Popularity of local weathercaster

26-75 GM B *Ability to localize to their market
*Branding by providing a unique product

because her station will have the authority to localize it to its particular market. She said, "We

believe in the localness of the whole thing and that we will differentiate ourselves by providing

something that no one else can. And the only thing that we can provide that others can't are

purely local" (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

Station considers an additional multicast channel. 1-25 GM B said that his station is

considering a Spanish-language channel and a Motor Trends channel as of now. The Spanish-

language and Motor Trends channels would be aired only during the day as the necessary

bandwidth will not be available during the evening hours since most of the programs at this time

will be broadcast in HD.









Technology cost

The cost of implementing multicasting is considerable and a major factor in the desire of

broadcasters to adopt the new technology. The executives were asked about these technology

costs.

Table 4-13. Costs Involved in Carriage of Multicast Channels
Broadcast Outlets Costs cited in the carriage of multicast channels


1-25 GM A/1-25 OM


1-25 GM B


26-75 GM A


76-125 GM B


126+ GM


*More money spent on analog side as compared to digital
*HD cameras cost $100K and studio anchors and sled cost $50K

*Major expense is on a server capable of handling multiple
channels

*Major expense is on a server capable of handling multiple
channels

*Electricity expense is substantial when broadcasting both analog
an analog and a digital signal
*$30K per month for both analog and digital
*$100-150K to acquire equipment to run 1 stream in addition to
HD and SD streams
*$50K for multiplexing of 4 signals
*$100K for conversion of signals to digital and then broadcasting
them


As illustrated in Table 4-13, there are a variety of costs associated with the upgrade to a

digital multicast facility. Some of the television executives mentioned similar technology costs,

while others mentioned differing technology expenses.

1-25 OM went into great detail about the necessary equipment needed in the analog to

digital conversion. On the digital side, the equipment includes the transmitter, the antenna, the

transmission line, and encoders. This includes the equipment that would allow the station to

switch back and forth between a local digital upconverted signal and network HD. On the

analog side, a fair amount of equipment is also needed, much of it simply to convert an analog

signal to digital. 1-25 OM mentioned that his station uses serial digital interface (SDI) type of









video where when an operator flips the switching device he is ensuring that when a video signal

comes out of the switcher, it is digital instead of analog. This conversion from analog to digital

is not part of the original capital expenditure for the DTV station. He said that he has spent a

little more since the conversion in 1999 in additional equipment for the DTV side, but it is small

compared to what he has spent for the analog side (personal communication, October 16, 2006).

As mentioned previously, this station is in the process of exploring the possibility of an

HD news. An HD camera with a field lense runs about $100,000 and studio anchors and a sled,

to mount the camera on, cost about $50,000. Although this sounds expensive, the prices have

gotten quite low on the HD gear as compared to what they once were in relation to the SD

cameras. According to 1-25 OM, it is advantageous to go ahead and purchase HD cameras even

if you only use the SD output for a while (personal communication, October 16, 2006).

1-25 GM B and 26-75 GM A mentioned that major costs are associated with getting

multicast channels up and running. "A major part of getting these channels operating properly is

a server capable of handling these multiple channels," according to 26-75 GM A (personal

communication, November 16, 2006). 1-25 GM B cited the computer server as the biggest

component to getting multicast channels operational. He said that the station's weather bug and

a variety of other information pull from this server (personal communication, November 15,

2006).

According to 76-125 GM B, the electricity expense alone is pretty substantial for

broadcasting a digital signal alongside an analog one. His analog transmitter costs about $8,000

a month in electricity and his digital is about three times as much. 76-125 GM B did not specify

as to the reasoning behind the significantly higher cost of electricity for his digital transmitter

over his analog. Nevertheless, he pays over $30,000 a month in electricity alone for both the









analog and the digital, which is frustrating for 76-125 GM B when he considers just how few

people are actually picking up his digital signal (personal communication, November 1, 2006).

According to 126+ GM, it would cost $100,000 to $150,000 just to acquire all of the

equipment that would be necessary to run an additional stream or two on top of the HD and SD

streams already being broadcast. It costs around $50,000 to actually do the multiplexing of four

signals and about $100,000 converting the signals to digital and then getting those streams

broadcast (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006).

Supporting Factors

These factors include the perceived strategic value of the new media technology, the level

of knowledge that managers have of the technology in question as well as the incentives they

have in pursuing a new alternative. In addition, the various strategic networks to which a

broadcast operation belongs also is a major supporting factor.

Perceived Strategic Value

The value of a new media technology can be analyzed by examining its perceived

contribution to the firm's overall strategic posture. Porter (1980) suggested three major

approaches: market segmentation, low cost, and differentiation. The methods by which the

broadcast outlets represented by the respondents are currently or planning to sell advertising on

their multicast channels serve as examples of these major approaches.

Methods of selling advertising on multicast channels: Stations currently multicasting

Table 4-14 details the methods of selling advertising for the broadcasters currently

multicasting. As can be seen, most of the broadcasters are utilizing more than one method.

Both 1-25 GM B and 26-75 GM A, are selling advertising on their multicast weather

channels. 1-25 GM B has his sales staff sell most of the advertising on long-term contracts of 6-









Table 4-14. Current Multicasters' Methods of Selling Advertising
Current Multicasters Method of Selling Ad Time on Digital Channels

Spots Packaged Spots Bundled Fixed Spots on
with Primary with Website Billboard Digital
Station Only Channel Only

1-25 GM B x x x x
26-75 GM A x x x x
76-125 GM A x x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x x

12 months or more. Both stations sometimes sell just a fixed billboard to be placed on the screen

throughout the weather forecasts. Other times, they sell both the logo space and 30-second spots.

According to 26-75 GM A, he is given 12 minutes per hour to sell on his network-developed

multicast channel (personal communication, November 16, 2006).

In addition, the selling of advertising on the weather multicast channel is sometimes

bundled with that on the core channel as well as the stations' websites. 26-75 GM A claimed

that "there is no opportunity that we wouldn't look at, but at what point do you reach critical

mass. It is important to reach critical mass before you have invested too much into the business

model" (personal communication, November 16, 2006).

The smaller market stations are all selling advertising on their existing multicast

channels, which are either affiliated with The CW or My Network. They are primarily selling

30-second spots on these digital subchannels.

76-125 GM A said that it was hard to tell whether or not he would sell spots specifically

for yet another digital multicast channel. He revealed that there were plenty of advertising

schedules bought that were for (Big 4 network) that his account executives ended up selling some

CW time on as well. He realized that some of these advertising dollars are cannibalized from his

primary station, but, for the most part, the sales team keeps the stations separate. The other









factor that 76-125 GM A pointed out about carrying digital subchannels is that it is critical to

have must-carry on the area's cable systems. His CW station is in a unique situation in that it is

first broadcast off of a low-power 200 ft. tower and then microwaved to a full-power 2,000 ft.

tower. From the full-power tower, it is rebroadcast as a secondary digital subchannel on channel

(number).2 (personal communication, November 1, 2006).

When asked whether his sales staff packages advertising on the digital subchannel with

that of the main channel, 76-125 GM B stated that they do not really package it together, but they

sell both. Having both stations available provides the salesperson with "more tricks in his bag."

He said, "You can walk in and go, well look, if you want to get in that time period, and you're

looking at that demo, or you're looking for some cheap spots, I've got some on (multicast

network)" (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006).

Methods of selling advertising on multicast channels: Stations not currently multicasting

In looking at the three future multicasters, two of them are planning to sell advertising on

multicast channels (shown in Table 4-15). 1-25 GM A reported that he could sell 30-second

Table 4-15. Future Multicasters' Methods of Selling Advertising
Current Multicasters Method of Selling Ad Time on Digital Channels

Spots Packaged Spots Bundled Fixed Spots on
with Primary with Website Billboard Digital
Station Only Channel Only
1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x x
26-75 GM B x x

spot ads or he could sell space on the L-bar of his planned multicast weather channel, which will

be a national multicast weather product tailored by his station for the local market. He stated,

"The revenue model is they get a percentage of advertising space and time and you get a revenue

percentage space and time. They sell nationally, you sell locally" (1-25 GM A, personal

communication, October 16, 2006). He claimed that since the viewership numbers will be









fractional compared to what, for instance, a football game gets on a Sunday, the sales department

will sell it for "peanuts" (1-25 GM A, personal communication, October 16, 2006). He

continued by saying that you have to start somewhere and that if you become valuable and

actually start to get ratings, then you can make a fair amount of money. 1-25 GM A completed

his comments by mentioning that he did a calculation that even if his station were to sell a spot

for $30 on average, then, over the course of a year that equates to $5 million, if he were to sell

out full (personal communication, October 16, 2006).

26-75 GM B mentioned that since her multicast channel will also include My Network,

her sales department will have a slightly different product to sell than just selling a new digital

subchannel with new content 24/7. She mentioned that the channel will be sold in a number of

ways. 26-75 GM B made the following point with respect to selling airtime on the channel

instead of simply giving it away. She declared, "If you position your product that it doesn't have

value, then your clients aren't going to give it any value" (personal communication, November 7,

2006). She continued by saying that the sales department has to start from the beginning

positioning this as a valuable product. Nevertheless, the channel will be sold much like the

website is sold, as a separate product. Advertisers will have the option of buying it

separately or in conjunction with the other stations. When bought along with the other stations,

advertisers will, most likely, receive a more competitive price (personal communication,

November 7, 2006).

Managerial Knowledge/Incentives and Multicasting

The role of the executives interviewed as part of this research and their influence on the

multicast business model chosen cannot be undervalued. The managers, in particular, the

general managers, have power in terms of the strategic direction of the television stations. 126+

GM had very specific thoughts on the likelihood of his operation selling advertising on future









multicast channels. 126+ GM does not intend to sell advertising on any additional digital

channels he may pick up in the future unless he is able to pick up one of the Big 4 networks or if

he is able to first garner ratings from a digital-only or non-network digital channel. As

mentioned previously, however, he already broadcasts a digital subchannel and sells 30-second

spots as well as local 30-minute programs on the channel (126+ GM, personal communication,

September 21, 2006).

126+ GM would sell spots if he could on any channel, but his station would have to get

the spots into his automation system and then have them trafficked through VCI (Sales/AR

software). Doing these two things would require that his station pay fees. He mentioned that he

could end up spending "$10,000 a month and stuff trying to get a dollar a spot from somebody"

(126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). (Digital-only national network) does

the traffic and insertions for you, but the other digital-only networks do not. If a future digital

channel is picked up by the cable companies and it starts to get ratings, then, at that point, his

sales staff will start to sell commercials on it. He declared, "In this business, if you don't have

ratings, then you really don't have a product to sell" (126+ GM, personal communication,

September 21, 2006).

126+ GM said that there are two ways of approaching multicasting. His boss thinks of

multicasting in terms of whether or not the digital stream will be able to receive cable carriage.

126+ GM looks at multicasting as an opportunity to compete with the cable systems and build a

larger over-the-air audience.

None of the executives interviewed by the researcher are utilizing any ancillary services.

However, as seen in Table 4-16, some do express an interest in them.









1-25 GM B asserted that his station has an interest in datacasting and that it is in the

process of considering the technical and business issues associated with the technology. One of

his concerns is the "degradation of the primary and secondary digital streams" (1-25 GM B,

personal communication, November 15, 2006). Currently, his station has three streams which

could be utilized without affecting video or audio quality.

Managerial Knowledge/Incentives and Ancillary Services

Table 4-16. Stations Planning to Offer Ancillary Services
Broadcast Outlet Plans to Pursue Ancillary Services?

Yes No

1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x
1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A (duopoly) x
26-75 GM B (duopoly) x
26-75 ES x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x

26-75 GM A mentioned that he is familiar with ancillary services. However, his

broadcast operation has only looked into several opportunities and potential revenue models. He

declared that the most important thing, with regards to ancillary services, is that "we [26-75 GM

A's station] need to have value in whatever is broadcast" (26-75 GM A, November 16, 2006).

26-75 GM B admitted that ancillary services, such as datacasting, are a business in which

a lot of managers are not that familiar. She said that managers may say that they do not have a

business model and give other excuses for not utilizing the technology, but what they are really

saying is that "we don't understand that business, and that's not our business, and I wouldn't

even know how to approach it, if you asked me" (26-75 GM B, personal communication,

November 7, 2006).









76-125 GM A stated that ancillary services are something that his station has discussed

briefly. However, he admitted that he does not know enough about it and he is not sure whether

he has the necessary bandwidth available for such a service. He does not know what kind of

services will be available with it in the future as it is "too early in the game" to find out (76-125

GM A, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 76-125 GM A felt strongly that if there is

no money in the business model for various ancillary services, then they are not likely to be

developed. He said that unless he were charging subscribers for his signal, he does not feel that

he could rely on ancillary services and datacasting as a solid business model. He suggested that

broadcasters have to depend on "actually entertaining people and getting ratings to get the

eyeballs so that we can generate the advertising [revenue]" (76-125 GM A, personal

communication, November 1, 2006).

76-125 GM B said that he does not currently broadcast any types of ancillary services

such as datacasting. As a matter of fact, as of the interview, he had no plans to pursue the idea.

His response to the interviewer's question, besides claiming he had no plans for ancillary

services, was "Tell me how that would work?," as both the researcher and 76-125 GM B joined

in laughter (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006).

126+ GM claimed that he does not have any plans for ancillary services or datacasting at

this point. His engineer has some ideas on how to move forward with the technology, but 126+

GM does not think he is ready to delve into it. The station's engineer was primarily considering

delivering cable programming through various data lines, including high-speed Internet data

lines. 126+ GM said that he believes that the phone companies are going to be increasingly

involved in this in addition to the cable and satellite companies.









Strategic Networks

Strategic networks play an important role in the digital business models used by the

television executives interviewed. Although strategic networks can take the form of either the

network with which a station is affiliated as well as the broadcast ownership group to which it

belongs, in this study, the strategic networks encompass only the partnerships between a station

and its network to develop specific multicast programming (i.e. NBC Weather Plus) or datacast

services.

Table 4-17. Type of Network Programming Being Aired on Multicast Channels

Broadcast Outlet Type of Network Programming Aired on Multicast Channels

None Maj or Network Weather News
1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x


Network-broadcaster partnerships

As shown in Table 4-17, 26-75 GM A is airing a 24/7 network-developed weather

channel as his multicast channel. It is "a revenue share that the (Big 4 network) is doing with its

affiliates. Not only is (network 24/7 71 e iller channel) broadcast over-the-air, but it is also

carried on digital cable" (26-75 GM A, personal communication, November 16, 2006). In

addition, at one time, the broadcast outlet had carried a 24/7 network-developed multicast news

product as an experiment during a political window in 2004.

The three smaller market stations are using their digital streams to carry other major

networks such as My Network and The CW. These newer networks need an outlet in each

market and they have developed partnerships with broadcasters to get the nationwide coverage









they need to be successful. These stations are represented by 76-125 GM A, 76-125 GM B, and

126+ GM.

Broadcaster-cable provider relationship

There are a variety of reasons cited for the voluntary carriage of multicast channels, as

illustrated in Table 4-18. However, three of the respondents stated specifically that it is the

broadcaster-cable relationship that is the most important variable affecting the ability of

broadcasters to receive voluntary carriage of their additional digital channels and services

26-75 GM B agreed and stated that the ability to receive voluntary carriage of multicast

channels by cable systems is "purely a function of the relationship you have with the cable

company, corporately and locally" (personal communication, November 7, 2006). According to

26-75 GM B, the preferred relationship is one in which the stations and the cable systems work

together. When this happens, the customers and viewers in the market are satisfied. She

continued by revealing that she is not going to fight the cable companies by holding her digital

channel or analog channel "hostage" (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7,

2006). She said that she would like to receive compensation for her signal, however, and she felt

that her signal is much more valuable than any cable channel.

26-75 GM B conveyed her belief that cable carriage of digital secondary channels is a

demand thing. She said that if a secondary channel is operated by a strong independent station,

then it will have leverage. However, if it is, for instance, run by an ex-UPN station that is now

independent, then it will have a problem. She also mentioned that politics definitely enter into

this as well. She stated that "cable companies are fairly consistent in the way they work with

stations in a given market excepting to the degree that they have corporate deals that are already

in place" (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006). In addition, she claimed









Table 4-18. Rationale Provided for Voluntary Carriage of Multicast Channels
Broadcast Outlets Key Considerations Provided in Explaining
Voluntary Cable Carriage


26-75 GM B The relationship a station has with the cable company,
corporately and locally

26-75 ES The channel capacity of the cable system
Large markets have more capacity,
but also have more signals to carry

76-125 GM A *The relationship a station has with the cable company
and the overall market
*Channel capacity of the cable systems
Large market stations may have more of a chance
because the cable systems are more likely to be
upgraded

76-125 GM B The competitiveness of the cable market
(which cable systems are in the market)
If no dominant player, then competition is a factor
Cable operator may choose to place a station
on a digital tier

126+ GM The relationship a station has with the cable operators
The content of the digital channels is a factor in
receiving cable carriage
Big cable operators have been told by their
corporate offices not to carry digital subchannels

that she does not think that smaller stations or non-network affiliates have any disadvantage in a

market.

76-125 GM A believed that the ability of affiliates to receive cable carriage is individual.

He said that it depends on the relationship between the station and the cable system as well as the

market. He did mention, however, given the fact that cable systems in larger markets are more

likely to be upgraded, it may be easier for these larger market stations to receive cable carriage.

He mentioned that in his market, there are cable systems which do not have the capacity to add









any more channels unless the systems were to spend a "couple million dollars" for the necessary

infrastructure for an upgrade (personal communication, November 1, 2006).

According to 76-125 GM A, broadcasters are going to soon start asking cable systems for

subscriber fees in nearly all of their retransmission negotiations. As a result, television stations

will be more willing to stand firm and deny cable systems the ability to carry their signals. The

executive mentioned, however, that it might hurt broadcasters some in the short term, but that it

would not take long for cable systems to reevaluate their stance and decide to make the necessary

changes to their retransmission agreements to pay subscriber fees to broadcasters for carriage of

their signals. The reasoning for this, as stated by 76-125 GM A, is that the cable companies

really want to avoid getting phone calls from unhappy customers. The cable operators want to

avoid letting customer complaints reach the franchising authority. When that happens, "it can

cause some serious problems, very serious problems" (personal communication, November 1,

2006). 76-125 GM A concluded his comments on the subject by saying that if residents in his

market could not see NFL Football or one of the top-rated programs on the Big 4 networks, like

American Idol, the phone lines at the local cable systems would "melt" (personal

communication, November 1, 2006).

One of the greatest challenges to receiving voluntary carriage of digital subchannels is

planning to hold the negotiations at the opportune time, according to 76-125 GM B. If his

station had known it was going to be carrying UPN when it went into retransmission negotiations

with the cable operators, then he could have demanded that cable operators carry the digital

subchannel (which was affiliated with UPN) in addition to the primary Big 4 network channel.

In other words, the cable operators would have to take the secondary digital channel and air it on

the basic cable tier to also receive the primary, Big 4 affiliate station. The primary Big 4 affiliate









stations are extremely important to cable systems as a large portion of their subscribers view

these channels. 76-125 GM B continued by saying that there is no way that a cable system can

say that it has everything and it does not need a (Big 4 network). It becomes especially important

during major sporting events, such as a big college football game, that cable systems carry all of

the major affiliates. "It's the sporting stuff that just absolutely draws people" (personal

communication, November 1, 2006).

126+ GM responded to this topic by saying that as of now cable is fighting carrying these

digital channels in all markets. He mentioned, as did 26-75 GM B, that a big part of receiving

cable carriage is the relationship that a particular broadcaster has with a cable system. The

content of those digital channels also has a bearing on their likelihood of being carried. 126+

GM mentioned that on his digital subchannel, he has good content, but the cable companies still

have fought carrying his channel. He added that his digital channel has sports (college and

professional), comedies, dramas, and local programming, some of which is produced by the

station, but the dominant cable system in the market still says "we've got a lot of that [already]"

(126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). In addition, 126+ GM declared that

the big cable companies are fighting carrying these digital subchannels because they have been

mandated to do so by their corporate offices. Also, the cable companies are using these digital

channels as leverage to extend their retransmission agreements in cases in which they are not

having to pay subscriber fees to broadcasters for carriage of their signals. In turn, broadcasters

are not willing to extend these agreements and are having to, in many cases, tolerate not

receiving cable carriage of their digital signals (126+ GM, personal communication, September

21, 2006).









Current multicasters and cable carriage. As shown in Table 4-19, three of the five

current multicasters are carried only on the digital tier of the cable systems in their markets. Two

of the smaller market broadcasters have been granted a channel on the analog tier; however, one

of them is considered must-carry and, therefore, does not represent any special negotiation

process between the broadcaster and the cable operators.

Table 4-19. Multicasters Receiving Current Cable Carriage
Current Multicasters Current Cable Carriage of Multicast Channels

Digital Tier Only Analog Tier

1-25 GM B x

All four of the primary
systems in the market
Required a good deal
of negotiation

26-75 GM A (duopoly) x

76-125 GM A x
All systems in market
Considered must-carry
76-125 GM B x

126+ GM x



With respect to their relationship, 1-25 OM stated that the local cable companies have been

pretty good to his operation, especially (cable MSO). However, none of the cable systems carry

his digital subchannel, which is simply a simulcast of the primary channel. He felt pretty

confident that when his station starts offering a multicast weather channel that it will receive

carriage (1-25 OM, personal communication, October 16, 2006).

1-25 GM B said that the local cable systems are, in fact, carrying his multicast channel.

The channel is carried on the digital tiers of all four of the primary cable systems in the market.









However, he does mention that it took a good deal of negotiation for this carriage. One thing

that made it easier in 1-25 GM B station's negotiations was station management's belief in the

value of (local multicast i.' el/r channel). As with 1-25 GM B's station, 26-75 GM A's station

is carried on the digital tier of the cable systems throughout his market (personal communication,

November 16, 2006).

76-125 GM A said that all of the cable systems in his market are carrying his multicast

channel because it is considered must-carry. He mentioned that his station did have to buy the

cable operators converter boxes to convert the digital signal back down to analog so that it could

be placed on the analog channel tier. The process was simple, 76-125 GM A sent out a must-

carry letter and then his station was, without any hesitation, placed on the area's local cable

systems. In regards to a local competitor with a multicast channel that is not considered must-

carry, he said that his competitor is receiving carriage on the digital tiers of the local cable

companies. 76-125 GM A asserted that this is the "solution that most systems offer." He added,

"They won't offer an analog position next to all the other stations, that'd put you way up there"

(personal communication, November 1, 2006). He claimed that the cable systems will make

your digital multicast channel available to viewers, but that is as far as they will go.

76-125 GM B declared that his digital station does not currently have must-carry status,

and consequently, is not carried on the basic analog tier. He mentioned that one of his

competitors has must-carry even though his digital subchannel is first carried on a low-power

analog transmitter and then microwaved to the main digital transmitter. He continued by saying

that he could have a low-power, independent station and still receive must-carry status as many

small, religious networks are doing in his market.









126+ GM stated that the local cable systems do carry his digital subchannel. He

maintained that if he were to add another digital channel that the dominant cable operator in the

market would fight carrying this other channel. However, he said that the smaller cable systems

would probably carry the additional channel without any hesitation. 126+ GM claimed that the

smaller systems are quite a bit easier to deal with than the larger systems because they want free

content for their customers and they are not in the business of selling advertising as are the major

MSOs. GM 126+ stated, "They want all the free channels they can get because it means that

they don't have to pay Home & Garden $.50 [per subscriber]" (126+ GM, personal

communication, September 21, 2006). He mentioned that the systems, however, will want to

place this multicast channel on their digital tiers. In fact, the cable systems wanted to put his

multicast channel on their digital tiers. In order to persuade the cable operators to carry the

channel on the analog tiers, he emphasized that his station is a community station with a plethora

of local community programming. The cable systems, however, will request to place any

additional multicast channels on the digital tiers because they also carry local community

programming and they feel that 126+ GM's station is in competition with them in serving the

local community (personal communication, September 21, 2006).

126+ GM negotiated a deal with the cable company in that the cable system would get to

carry (Big 4 network) and HD if it also carried the digital multicast channel. Although the two

parties reached an agreement and both stations are carried on the analog tier of the local cable

system, the cable operator is now attempting to break the deal. 126+ GM replied to the cable

system by saying, "If you don't want that [multicast digital channel], then you don't get any of

my stuff because that wasn't the deal" (personal communication, September 21, 2006). At the









time of the interview, he was working with the cable company on a retransmission agreement as

the current agreement is set to end in 2008.

Future multicasters and cable carriage. As previously mentioned, the local cable

companies are not carrying the digital subchannel of 26-75 ES's station, a simulcast of the

primary channel. His station, at the time of the interview, was in negotiations with the local

systems. He felt that his station will probably be able to settle on retransmission agreements

with the cable systems as his station is a strong independent with respectable ratings and market-

dominating newscasts (personal communication, November 7, 2006). In addition, 26-75 ES

remarked that it is going to be a real challenge to get cable carriage for those independents that

do not have a strong viewer base (personal communication, November 7, 2006).

26-75 GM B discussed the first station that she worked at and the fact that it did not have

a lot of clout, but it did have a great relationship with the local cable operator (as detailed in

Table 4-20). The relationship even helped the station achieve its revenue goals as the cable

company was one of their biggest clients. 26-75 GM B said, "There is just a lot more to it than

just the carry my signal question" (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

She continued by saying that there are a number of ways to reach an agreement with a cable

provider. She declared, "There's trade, there's promotional opportunities, there's VOD, there's

all sorts of things we can do together and, ultimately, it benefits the viewer" (26-75 GM B,

personal communication, November 7, 2006). Furthermore, she claimed that her goal is to bring

more people to the television set. She would rather see viewers tune to another television

channel, such as NBC or CNN, than have them go to their MP3 player or somewhere else.

26-75 GM B said that her station negotiated an agreement with Comcast and they are

going to carry a multicast channel which is set to launch after the first of the year (2007). She











Table 4-20. Future Multicasters' Views on the Effects of the Broadcaster-cable relationship on
the ability of broadcasters to receive multicast Cable Carriage
Future Multicasters Dominant Factors & Their Level of Effect
On Multicast Cable Carriage

1-25 GM A *His broadcast ownership group has more
leverage than most because it owns two popular
cable networks
*Most cable companies want to clear those
channels

26-75 GM B *It depends on the relationship between the station
and the cable operators
*There are a number of ways to reach an
agreement with a cable provider (trade,
promotional opportunities & VOD)

26-75 ES *Level of clout in market and respectable ratings



affirmed that her station has a very good relationship with Comcast and she realized that this

relationship was important as the cable MSO has a 90 percent share of the cable homes in her

market. When looking at all viewing whether cable, satellite, or over-the-air, Comcast has a 60

percent market share, half of that being digital subscribers. The cable company has been

supportive as well because the new multicast channel gives the prominent MSO something else it

can offer its subscribers. Comcast can push their digital tier and if 26-75 GM B's broadcast

operation offers unique programming on this new channel then "that just gives them (Comcast)

something else that puts them in a unique position" (26-75 GM B, personal communication,

November 7, 2006). 26-75 GM B did reveal that if she did not have the relationship she has had

with Comcast and a negotiated agreement for cable carriage, she might launch the digital

subchannel differently. She would, in that case, probably have to use her own air to promote the

channel and it would be strictly an over-the-air offering.









Environmental Factors

These factors make up the condition of the market and affect a firm's adoption decision

of new media technologies, such as multicasting and ancillary services. These variables include

the regulation of the entire broadcast/multichannel video programming distribution (MVPD)

industry, various market conditions, and the competition experienced by the various cable

systems..

Regulation of the Broadcast/Multichannel Video Programming Distribution Industry

The regulation of the broadcast/MVPD industry is a critical driver of the digital strategies

incorporated by various television stations. The executives commented on issues centering

around a hypothetical multicast carriage mandate requiring cable systems to carry all the digital

subchannels of the broadcasters in their respective markets.

As shown in Table 4-21, four of the executives claimed that their strategy would be different and

that such an FCC mandate would have a major impact on a lot of broadcasters. Three of the

other respondents stated that their strategy would not differ if the FCC mandated multicast cable

carriage.

Table 4-21. Responses of Executives When Asked if Their Strategy Would Differ
Broadcast Outlet Would Multicast Mandate Result in a Different Strategy?

Yes No No Answer Provided
1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x
1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A x
26-75 GM B x
26-75 ES x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x









Reasons cited for differing strategy

First, an examination of the comments of the executives which maintained that an FCC

mandate requiring cable systems to carry all of the multicast streams of every broadcaster would

change their strategy needs to be conducted. There were a wide variety of comments made

concerning the perceived effects of a hypothetical multicast mandate requiring cable systems to

carry each and every multicast stream broadcast by television station (as shown in Table 4-22).

Table 4-22. Comments and Perceived Effects of Multicast Mandate for Broadcasters Claiming
Their Strategy Would Differ
Broadcast Outlets Claiming Their Comments/Perceived Effects of
Strategy Would Differ Regulatory Change


26-75 GM A





76-125 GM A


Broadcasters have the opportunity and the
right to be carried on cable systems
(especially when a station provides for
a sizeable portion of the primary
viewership in a market)

Would motivate his station and a lot of
broadcasters to more aggressively air
multicast content

*Would result in a major impact on his
station
*Key consideration is that you have carriage
on the cable systems' analog tiers

*Mandate would be groundbreaking
*Most all broadcasters would begin
multicasting, including the big stations
in the big markets


76-125 GM B


126+ GM


The first respondent, 26-75 GM A, replied that his strategy probably would be different.

He felt that a broadcaster should have the opportunity and the right to be carried on cable









systems, especially in the case in which a particular station provides for "a sizeable portion of the

primary viewership in the market" (26-75 GM A, personal communication, November 16, 2006).

The second respondent, 76-125 GM A, mentioned that such a mandate would motivate his

station as well as a lot of other broadcasters to more aggressively air multicast content. Most

importantly, it would also "spur on a lot of programmers and writers and producers and directors

to get out there and start producing more content" for all the new channels that will be carried on

cable systems (76-125 GM A, personal communication, November 1, 2006).

76-125 GM B declared that such an FCC mandate would have a major impact on his

digital strategy. However, when the analog signals finally do go dark, everything will change

and then, most likely, his strategy would not differ as much. 76-125 GM B stated that the key

consideration is whether or not you have carriage on the cable system's analog tier, the lower tier

of which all of a cable system's subscribers have access. His digital subchannel is currently

carried on the digital tier of the local cable companies, the largest one of which is Comcast (76-

125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006).

126+ GM said that a mandate requiring carriage of every multicast channel broadcast by

television stations would be "huge" (personal communication, September 21, 2006). He

mentioned that then you would see most all broadcasters multicasting, including the big stations

in the major markets. 126+ GM mentioned that the attitude of many broadcasters today is that if

they cannot get cable coverage, then multicasting is not going to do them any good.

Furthermore, he stated that if the FCC were to come down with such a ruling that it would

probably mandate just one extra stream, not three or four.









Reasons cited for not differing strategy

As detailed in Table 4-23, there were a few reasons provided by these station executives

for not differing their digital strategies in response to a multicast carriage mandate. 1-25 GM B

and 26-75 GM B provided specific rationale while 26-75 ES commented on the issue.

Table 4-23. Rationale Stations Gave for Not Differing Their Strategy
Broadcast Outlets Claiming Their Rationale for Not Differing Strategy
Strategy Would Not Differ

1-25 GM B The cable systems will want to carry his
programming because the content is
compelling

26-75 GM B *She has a good relationship with the
dominant MSO in the market
*A new multicast channel on the cable
system will give MSO something else to
offer its subscribers

26-75 ES Respondent provided no rationale



1-25 GM B said that his strategy would not be different because his station is "airing, and

will continue to air, programming that people want to see and; therefore, the cable systems will

want to carry it (our programming)" (personal communication, November 15, 2006). 26-75 GM

B would not differ her strategy. She felt that because she has a strong relationship with the

dominant MSO in her market she would not differ her strategy in reaction to an FCC multicast

carriage mandate.

26-75 ES did not believe that his station's strategy would be any different if it were to have

mandated cable carriage of all its multicast channels. However, he felt that multicast must-carry

would be "nice to have for the future and to have that option open" as the station negotiates deals









(26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). As of his interview, 26-75 ES felt that

mandated carriage would not lead to any immediate negotiations or changes in business strategy.

Market Conditions/Size

26-75 ES felt that stations in both small and large markets will have some problems getting

cable carriage of their multicast channels. He stated, "Typically, the smaller market cable

companies don't have the channel capacity of the larger ones. But, on the other hand, the [cable

systems in the] larger markets have more signals to have to put on them" (26-75 ES, personal

communication, November 7, 2006). The larger cable companies have a larger "pipe" in which

to carry multicast channels while the smaller ones have a smaller "pipe." Because of the limited

capacity of cable systems, 26-75 ES believed that cable systems are now becoming

"gatekeepers" (personal communication, November 7, 2006). With this unique position within

the video programming supply chain, cable companies have the ability to place "premiums on

their bandwidth" (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

In addition, 26-75 ES discussed his opinion that the smaller market stations are investing

more in newer technologies than are the larger market stations at this point in time. The smaller

market stations are in more need of revenue and are, therefore, more willing to risk the capital

expenditure required to buy the necessary equipment to do such things as multicasting.

According to 26-75 ES, manufacturers are further enabling these smaller market stations to begin

multicasting by developing more inexpensive ways for stations to get multiple streams broadcast

to a market area. Also, larger market stations, as opposed to the smaller markets, do

not want to interfere with their current revenue streams too much and, consequently, will move

in the direction of new technology very cautiously (26-75 ES, personal communication,

November 7, 2006).









Table 4-24. Structure of Sales Team Selling Multicast Channels
Broadcast Outlets Structure of Sales Team Selling Multicast Channels

One Sales Team 2 Sales Teams Separate No Answer
Sells Primary & Sell Own Team For Provided
Secondary Primary Plus Secondary
Secondary
1-25 GM A x
1-25 GM B x
26-75 GM A x
26-75 GM B x
26-75 ES x
76-125 GM A x
76-125 GM B x
126+ GM x

In looking at the differences existing between large and small markets and how this affects the

digital business model chosen, a look at the structure of the sales department is necessary. This

structure is developed primarily in reaction to the affiliations carried and the size of the particular

D.M.A.

As shown in Table 4-24, the structure of the sales teams for each broadcast facility seems

to vary depending upon the overall market size and the affiliations carried. The large market

broadcasters have only one sales team, the mid-sized stations operate with two sales teams that

each sell one station, and the small market stations each have one sales staff that sells both the

primary and secondary digital streams.

The large market stations are only affiliated with one network at this time, and; therefore,

each of them operates with only one sales team. No comments were provided by the large

market broadcasters (1-25 D.M.A.s) with respect to the structure of the sales team and their

selling of multicast channels.

The mid-sized affiliated stations, ranging from D.M.A.s 26-75, operate duopolies and

operate with one sales staff per affiliation. Each of the affiliations is with one of the Big 4









networks. 26-75 GM A stated that he not only has a sales team for each affiliate, but that he also

has a convergent sales manager who "creates packages and pursues opportunities that involve the

selling of banner ads on the website and billboards on our primary and secondary channels"

(personal communication, November 16, 2006). Each affiliate sales team is involved in the

selling of the digital weather network broadcast on his station's digital subchannel. 26-75 GM B

said if her station were to add a third channel, a digital subchannel, then she would have each

sales team sell advertising on that additional channel. It would be handled similarly to that of

non-traditional revenue (NTR), she uttered. She continued by estimating, "When sales gets to

the point where its justifiable, what will happen is, they [sales managers] will hire salespeople"

(26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

The smaller market stations each have one sales staff at the moment that sell advertising on

their primary channel, which is a Big 4 affiliation, along with either The CW or My Network. If

126+ GM were to pick up another Big 4 affiliation, then he would split his sales staff into two

separate teams. One team would sell their existing Big 4 affiliation along with My Network

while the other team would sell the new Big 4 affiliate in addition to My Network (personal

communication, September 21, 2006).

Competition

There are three basic forms of competition that were referenced in this study. They are

competition between various stations in a market, the competition that broadcasters have with

area cable operators, and the level of competition experienced by a cable operator as a result of

the actions of other cable operators.

Station vs. station

Competition exists between various broadcasters and their management teams. The area

of competition is primarily covered in the section on strategic networks. However, the









competition that exists between large market broadcasters in the area of HD news is important to

discuss in this section. For instance, 1-25 OM's station management will monitor the other

stations in the market to see if these other stations might attempt HD news. 1-25 OM mentioned

that there is the potential for three local competitors to run an HD news, especially one whose

ownership group has introduced it in other markets. Nationally, there are differences amongst

the stations broadcasting an HD newscast; however, as some are bringing footage from the field

in as HD while others are only using HD with the cameras in the studio (1-25 OM, personal

communication, October 16, 2006).

Broadcaster vs. cable operator

Competition takes place between broadcasters and cable companies. This has become

increasingly intense as the cable industry has increased its audience share to the dismay of

broadcasters. In the area of content, one of the cable companies does directly compete with 1-25

GM B's station. The cable system carries its own local weather channel (1-25 GM B, personal

communication, November 15, 2006).

1-25 GM A cited the phone companies as a new source of competition of which cable can

expect to experience. He believed that such a development would benefit broadcasters. "The

phone companies are coming along and saying fiber optic is limitless and we can deliver it so if

you cable companies can't deliver it, then maybe we can and who knows if, years from now, the

phone companies win out over cable and you look at cable the way you used to look at an 8-

track" (1-25 GM A, personal communication, October 16, 2006). He stated that cable's

viewpoint is that it does not have room for these additional digital channels and the MVPD

would not be able to maintain the signal quality of these channels. 1-25 GM A believed that

cable companies are using these reasons as an excuse instead of admitting that carriage of









multicast channels presents too much competition for them. He claimed that the compression

technology is available to carry these multiple channels.

126+ GM made the point that through all of these technological changes, broadcasters will

be the one constant because their signals are going to be carried by all of the MVPDs. The

phone companies, however, are the most interesting. According to 126+ GM, they spoke a

couple of years ago to the Florida Association of Broadcasters and they claimed that they would

carry all of the broadcasters' digital signals. They said, "We want everything you've got" (126+

GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). To the contrary, the cable and satellite

companies have claimed that they either do not want some of the digital streams or that they do

not have the capacity to carry the broadcasters' digital streams. 126+ GM mentioned

nevertheless that the phone companies were speaking at a broadcaster's conference so, naturally,

they are going to speak of accommodating broadcasters in every way possible (personal

communication, September 21, 2006).

126+ GM claimed that he does not, however, want the cable system to have all of his

content. He does not mind going to the cable companies and showing them what he has if it is a

good product. He said that they are so "anti-broadcasters" that they do not want to carry a

multicast channel because "they're in the advertising business too" (126+ GM, personal

communication, September 21, 2006). He likened the scenario to that of going to another

broadcast station in town and trying to get that station to air one of your station's programs.

Cable operator vs. cable operator

Competition also exists between the various cable providers. The television executives

commented on this form of competition extensively.

As shown in Table 4-18, 76-125 GM B stated that what when it comes to multicasting

and ancillary services what really matters is "the set-up of the particular market, whose there,









whose not, whether there's a competitive cable set-up there or not" (76-125 GM B, personal

communication, November 1, 2006). He said that in his market Comcast dominates so

broadcasters are limited in their ability to influence the cable systems, but in (nearby small

market), where you have Mediacom and CNS competing, the situation is different. "One's not

going to let the other have something," he added (76-125 GM B, personal communication,

November 1, 2006). Moreover, 76-125 GM B made the point that the cable systems have

"created monopolies on the distribution channel," which is bad for consumers and broadcasters.

He continued by mentioning that if the telephone companies start carrying video in the form of

cable networks and broadcasters' signals, then everyone will benefit. He said that he does not

mind competing with other television stations, but he finds it extremely difficult competing with

the distribution channel (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 76-125

GM B cited an example in which his local cable system took his secondary affiliation and moved

it to the digital cable tier and replaced it with a weather channel and a shopping channel on the

analog tier. He remarked that if the cable operator had 100 percent digital penetration in the

market then he would have been more accepting of this move. However, it has a digital

penetration of less than 50 percent. He mentioned that if the analog truly goes away in 2009 then

Comcast will have a basic tier which will, most likely, include all of his digital channels (76-125

GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006).

Not only do cable MSOs compete with each other, but they also compete with other

MVPDs, primarily satellite operators. 26-75 GM B made the point that cable is going to be more

challenged in the future as satellite providers continue to siphon off potential cable subscribers.

She mentioned that anytime a business reaches a point of maturity, as the cable industry has,

different challenges will arise (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006).









Conclusion

In this chapter, the responses of the nine television executives that were interviewed for

this study are reviewed. The respondents comments are grouped under each of the eight factors

included in the proposed framework of new media adoption by media firms detailed in Chapter

2. To aid reader understanding, tables have been placed throughout the chapter as a means of

clearly comparing and contrasting the various interview responses.

Research question #1 covered the topic of multicasting and it looked at the current

adoption of the technology by broadcasters in terms of the number of digital streams, the types of

programming aired on these multicast channels, and the kinds of network and local programming

run on these streams. It was found that all but one of the broadcasters are either currently

offering multicasting or would be shortly following the date of the interview. The smaller

market broadcasters, D.M.A. sized 76 and higher, are airing My Network or The CW on their

multicast channels, whereas, the larger market stations are airing local and network-developed

weather multicast channels. In the area of in-house programming, the stations both large and

small are offering a variety of formats, weather, news, and local interest. The reasoning behind

these formats was provided as well. In the case of weather programming, it was chosen because

it is considered the number one area of interest in news studies. As far as news and local interest

are concerned, the rationale had hinged upon effectively branding a station and having the ability

to tailor programming to the local market. Furthermore, the influence of the network over the

selection of the multicast channels and the multicasting plans of the broadcast ownership groups

are reviewed. The network appeared to have a limited effect on the choosing of particular

multicast formats whereas the multicast initiatives at the corporate level focused on the creation

of a multicast channel, a local weather channel, and the picking up of My Network, The CW, and

Fox in the smaller markets. Next, the costs involved in carrying these multicast channels were









discussed and it was found that the major expenses surround the expenses of acquiring the

equipment to run multiple streams of SD alongside an HD stream, the server needed to handle

multicast channels, and the cost of electricity, particularly prior to the actual shutoff date for

analog. Furthermore, the area of advertising sales is discussed and it was found that stations, for

the most part, plan to sell their advertising on multicast channels both separately and in

conjunction with spots on the primary channel. Also, the larger market stations appear to also

sell these digital secondary channels as part of a package that includes a presence on the stations'

websites as well as fixed billboards on the digital weather channels. The television executives,

who responded to the question concerning sales team structure, all claimed that they would use

their existing sales teams to sell the multicast channels. 126+ GM mentioned that if he were to

pick up a second Big 4 affiliation on a digital multicast channel in the future that maybe he

would hire a second team to sell advertising on this channel. In addition, the executives'

thoughts on the, now defunct, USDTV are detailed. It was found that all but one of the

television managers felt that USDTV was not a viable business concept because it was unable to

effectively compete with cable and satellite operators.

The second research question covered the topic of ancillary services, primarily that of

datacasting. The questions posed to the television executives centered around the types of

ancillary services being adopted, the involvement of the broadcast ownership groups versus the

local stations in deciding which format to invest in, and the type of content to be provided. The

answers indicate that the larger market stations, those D.M.A.-ranked 75 and larger, had plans to

pursue ancillary services. Also, the majority of the executives claim that the decision whether or

not to pursue these offerings were more of a local decision than a corporate one. Also, only 1-25

GM B's station had any specific ideas for content in mind.









The third research question and the interview questions tied to it were focused on the

adoption of multicasting and ancillary services by broadcasters as a result of the current FCC

decision to only carry a station's primary broadcast stream. The responses indicate that four of

the eight stations included in this study would differ their strategy if multicast must-carry were

mandated by the FCC. These broadcasters felt that such a mandate would be major and would

result in a lot more multicast content. The stations which felt that their strategy would not differ

felt that way because they consider their content to be compelling and something that the cable

operators will voluntarily carry. Furthermore, the issues surrounding the voluntary carriage were

assessed and were based on such factors as market size and station affiliation. The answers to

the questions illustrate that market size has no bearing on the ability to receive multicast carriage

whereas station affiliation has a big impact. Instead of market size, the study subjects referred to

the importance of the relationship they have with local cable operators, the channel capacity of

cable systems, and the cable competition present in the market. Station affiliation of the primary

channel with one of the Big 4 networks, and their ability to offer HD and other compelling

content, give broadcasters leverage in their negotiations with cable systems. The current carriage

of digital subchannels is looked at and it was found that two of the current stations multicasting

are carried on the digital tier only of local cable systems whereas two of them are carried on the

analog tier of local cable operators. The stations carried on the analog tiers have this carriage

because, one of the stations is, technically, a must-carry station while the other is a digital stream

of My Network. The final subquestion dealt with the dominant factors involved in the ability of

broadcasters to receive multicast cable carriage. It was found that the network has a strong

influence on the ability of stations to receive carriage of their secondary channels. In addition,









one other factor was discussed in great detail, the relationship between a station and the cable

operators in that market.









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

In this chapter, the findings from the interviews with the nine television executives are

examined and their relevance to the field of telecommunications is discussed. There are a variety

of themes that will be uncovered which pertain to the topics of multicasting, ancillary services,

and multicast cable carriage.

Multicasting was examined through the comments relating to research question #1. This

research question asked about the primary factors that are driving the adoption of multicast

technology at broadcast facilities and the form this adoption is taking. The executives were

questioned as to whether they were broadcasting multiple streams and the types of content they

were currently airing or looking to air on these digital subchannels. In addition, the respondents

were asked about the costs associated with multicast technology, the ways in which advertising

would be sold on these digital streams, and their thoughts on the wireless alternative to cable that

was USDTV.

Ancillary services were examined through the comments dealing with research question

#2. This research question inquired about the principal factors that are driving the adoption of

ancillary services. The respondents were asked about whether they were currently offering any

ancillary services and the form of services they hoped to offer in the future. Furthermore, the

executives were questioned as to their reasoning for choosing these services, which include

datacasting, subscription television programming, teletext, and interactive services.

Multicast cable carriage was examined through the comments relating to research question

#3. The third research question analyzed the adoption of multicasting and ancillary services by

broadcasters as a result of the current FCC decision that cable operators only have to carry a

station's primary broadcast stream. The executives commented on the effect that a hypothetical









mandate requiring cable systems to carry every stream broadcast by television stations in a

market and the effect that such a mandate would have on the digital model adopted.

The Multicast Business Model

The following list includes five critical themes discovered that explain the current form

that multicast technology is taking. The themes also analyze some of the key factors influencing

the adoption decisions that broadcasters are making with respect to multicasting. The themes are

as follows:

* Weather for the large market stations
* My Network and The CW for the small market stations
* Networks have a limited influence on digital model adoption
* Broadcast ownership groups are a primary factor in digital model adoption
* Importance of cable carriage to assigning value to a digital multicast channel
* USDTV failed because of its inability to successfully compete with cable and satellite
providers


Weather Is the Most Popular Multicast Format, Particularly in the Larger Markets

The first area to be discussed is that of the multicast format chosen by the broadcasters

interviewed. Weather is, far and away, the most prominent multicast format that the television

stations included in this study are adopting.

Managerial knowledge (supporting)

There are several key reasons for weather being the most prominent multicast format used.

These reasons are centered around the supporting factor of managerial knowledge. First,

numerous news studies show that weather is the greatest area of audience interest. Second, the

localness of weathercasts helps to differentiate a station not only from the other stations in the

market, but also from the national cable networks as well. Successful differentiation results in

effective station branding.









Media technology characteristics/technology cost (core)

The media technology characteristic of technology cost is also a primary driver of the

weather format. This is the case because broadcasting a multicast weather channel is cost-

effective. Stations have already invested in the weather forecasting, presentation software, and

talent needed to produce such a channel. In most cases, the morning, noon, 6pm, and 11pm

weather forecasters on the primary channel record a quick segment to run on the multicast

channel. This segment airs until the next meteorologist arrives to do the weather on the main

channel. Also, the same set, or one slightly altered, can be used to record these segments. In

some cases, a station may run a 24-hour weather radar loop on a multicast channel. This form is

certainly inexpensive, but it does not produce very compelling programming.

The value of this information is that industry professionals who are investigating the

multicast business model need to consider using weather as a means of, at least, initially delving

into the use of the new digital technology. It is a way of getting another channel operational

without having to spend a great deal or having to develop entirely new content. It is also a way

to brand a station which, in today's world of intense audience fragmentation, is extremely

important.

Smaller-Market Stations Are Multicasting My Network TV and The CW Network: Market
size (environmental)

The second noteworthy theme is that there may be more alluring content being multicast

by the smaller-market stations. This is because the smaller-market stations have the opportunity

to carry such networks as The CW and My Network, popular national networks that may not

already be airing in the smaller markets. In the larger markets, all of the major network

affiliations are spoken for, including the newer My Network and The CW networks. The only









opportunity to pick up a national network in these markets might be with such a network as

LATV or WCSN, national digital networks lacking the popularity and viewership of The CW or

My Network.

Market characteristics, such as market size, have an effect on the digital content chosen by

the broadcasters interviewed as part of this study. The significance of this is that the smaller-

market stations have a better opportunity to acquire a multicast channel that will have compelling

content. In the larger markets, nearly all of the major affiliations are going to belong to a

broadcast outlet currently and the stations are going to have to be a little more creative in finding

compelling content for their multicast channel. However, the fact that these larger market

stations are generally bigger operations, they tend to have more resources from which to pull

from to either produce or purchase programming that has the potential to garner sizeable ratings.

Networks Have a Limited Influence on Digital Model Adoption: Managerial knowledge
(supporting)

The broadcast networks do not have much influence over what their affiliates carry on their

secondary channels. Aside from network owned-and-operated stations, networks cannot require

any affiliate to carry its digital service. Those affiliates that choose to carry a network-developed

secondary channel are under some influence by the network in that the network has developed

the primary content for the channel. For instance, NBC, with its NBC Weather Plus, obviously

dictates to an affiliate the programming to be aired on this secondary digital channel. However,

NBC would not have the authority to dictate to this same affiliate the types of programming it

can air on a third digital channel, such as a local, 24-hour public-interest channel.

The importance of this finding is that it truly is the local broadcaster's decision to select

and air the programming it feels will generate the greatest return on investment while also

serving the local community in the best manner possible. The decision is lead by the station's









management team, especially the general manager. It is a good idea for broadcasters to observe

stations in other markets to see what kinds of multicast programming these stations are airing

and to try and gain an understanding of how profitable these multicast channels are for these

broadcasters.

Broadcast Ownership Group Makes a Difference

The broadcast ownership group to which a station belongs can have an influence on the

multicasting content offered by the station. Broadcast ownership groups vary greatly in their

approach to multicasting. Also, the ownership groups appear to be important to broadcasters that

are in need of support in developing and broadcasting HD newscasts.

Diverse strategic postures: Firm/entrepreneurship (core)

There is a great amount of variation when it comes to the broadcast ownership groups and

their approach towards multicasting. Some broadcast groups are extremely proactive, such as

Gray Television, in that they are running additional digital streams and then acquiring The CW,

My Network, and even Fox affiliations to air on these channels. Some broadcast groups are even

going to the extent of creating their own multicast channel for their stations to broadcast, as in

the case of 26-75 GM B's broadcast ownership group. On the other end of the spectrum, you

have broadcast groups that give their local stations complete decision-making authority to air the

multicast programming they prefer. It is the philosophy of a number of the broadcast ownership

groups that it is best to give stations the ability to do what they feel best serves the needs of their

market areas.

The implications of this fourth theme are that a station's ability to develop an appropriate

multicast strategy is largely a function of the broadcast ownership group to which it belongs.

Some broadcast ownership groups are going to dictate to stations the types of programming that

it can air, especially in the case of the groups that are producing their own multicast









programming channel. Many stations will prefer this arrangement, but many more will be more

comfortable developing the content which they feel will best work for their communities. It all

depends on the management teams of these stations and whether they prefer to adhere to a

directive and air previously produced programming or instead make their own decisions and take

on the task of developing their own multicast programming.

Broadcast ownership groups are important in providing funding and support of HD
newscasts: Firm/entrepreneurship/organizational strategic traits (core)

It is important for broadcasters to run an HD news in cases in which one or more of its

competitors in a local market are already doing so. A large portion of the capability of the

broadcaster to offer an HD news product stems from its ability to receive funding and support

from its broadcast ownership group. Therefore, those stations which belong to a broadcast group

that have begun running an HD news in other markets have an advantage in that their company

believes in the technology and is willing to invest in it.

The relevance of this theme is that a broadcaster needs to maintain a good relationship with

its ownership group. Since the ownership group helps to provide the resources that a station will

need to run an HD news, the broadcaster needs to value this relationship because the station will

reap financial rewards from the ownership group's investment. As the broadcaster begins to air

an HD newscast, its value in the local marketplace can potentially rise significantly allowing the

station to achieve the leverage it needs to successfully negotiate multicast cable carriage.

Cable Industry as a Mediator of Strategy: Managerial knowledge and broadcaster-cable
provider relationship (supporting)

The sales departments of broadcast stations must position their multicast channels as

valuable. In order for these channels to be sellable, the channels must be seen to have value in

the eyes of the advertiser. It is the responsibility of the management team to ensure that the

multicast channels have value from the perspective of the advertiser. Although some









cannabalization of the primary channel will take place, the audience of the secondary channel

will also be made up of viewers that were drawn from the fare of competing broadcasters. One

very important part of demonstrating that a multicast channel has value is its carriage on the local

cable systems within a market. Many station executives realize that once a multicast stream is

picked up by the cable companies and starts to get ratings, then it can be looked at as valuable

and broadcasters can start generating revenue from it. One consideration that station managers

must make, though, is at what point does a station reach critical mass and can start to profit from

the airing and selling of spots on multicast channels. Critical mass, in this case, refers to the

minimal level of viewership necessary to enable a television station to overcome the start-up

costs of broadcasting a digital channel. Not only must management consider the costs of

converting to digital and the investment in the servers, multiplexers, and transmitters, but it must

also consider the expense of an automation and traffic system for this digital multicast channel.

The value of this information is that the management team must, first, work with the cable

companies to get cable carriage of their multicast channels. Once the channel has cable carriage,

the broadcaster must promote the station through various mediums and avenues to ensure that the

channel will generate some sizeable ratings. The management team must clearly communicate

the value of the multicast channel to the sales department so that the sales team can sell the

channel at a rate high enough to overcome the expenses of carrying the channel and running

advertising on it. If a station were to try and sell a multicast channel without cable carriage, it

would be difficult to convey a level of value to the potential advertiser in airing his/her spots on

the channel. Even if a broadcaster is able to secure cable carriage, it might want to delay setting

up the automation and traffic systems until it sees an audience for the channel.









USDTV Failed to Successfully Compete with Cable and Satellite Providers

USDTV was an over-the-air, low-cost alternative to cable that once operated in four major

U.S. markets. The company utilized unused bandwidth on digital television stations to send

around a dozen cable channels in addition to all the local digital streams to subscribers with

special set-top boxes for a price of only $19.99 per month. In July 2006, the company filed for

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy before ceasing operations in March 2007.

Competition (environmental)

USDTV struggled to compete in the video programming arena for several reasons. First,

USDTV tried to grapple with well-established cable and satellite companies that carry many

more channels at a cost-per-channel that was lower than USDTVs. Consumers certainly viewed

receiving 30 channels instead of, approximately, 100 as a step backwards, even if these

consumers never watched the majority of the channels.

Market conditions (environmental)

Second, the company tried to counter the habits of the consumer. These habits are largely

centered around the fact that a majority of people are accustomed to receiving their television

through either a cable or a satellite provider. Viewers are controlled to a large extent by their

habits and their perceptions and they, for the most part, are comfortable paying a cable or

satellite company for television service. Those that do not subscribe to cable or satellite are

accustomed to receiving their over-the-air signals for free with the use of an antenna, not for a

subscription fee and the use of a set-top converter box.

Firm/entrepreneurship (core)

Another major challenge that USDTV had to deal with was the variety of station

ownership groups which, as previously mentioned, vary widely in their philosophies on

multicasting. This made it especially difficult to negotiate with these ownership groups because









they each not only operated differently, but they looked at digital technologies and content

differently.

Market conditions (environmental)

In addition, the company was limited to only larger markets because the smaller markets

did not have enough stations and, therefore, not enough bandwidth for USDTV to have carried

much of a selection of channels.

The value of this information is that other potential future low-cost wireless alternatives to

cable and satellite will have difficulty gaining market share as did USDTV. Most consumers

have it ingrained in their minds that they must pay for television service through either cable or

satellite or receive it over-the-air for free. Also, they have a need to have access to a large

variety of channels from which to choose to watch and be entertained. The consumer demand

for USDTV's service was just not what it needed to be in order for the company to survive the

overwhelming competition provided by the cable and satellite companies.

Ancillary Services/ Datacasting

There is only one major theme uncovered that relates to research question #2, the limited

adoption of ancillary services by broadcasters. Before discussing this theme, research question

#2 needs to be restated. The question asked about the major factors which are driving the

adoption of ancillary services. The respondents were asked about the services they were

planning to offer as well as the rationale behind their decisions. Also, the method stations would

use to achieve profitability with these ventures was ascertained.

There appears to be limited adoption of ancillary services/datacasting at this point in time.

Many television executives do not understand the business and they do not view it as part of the

familiar business of broadcasting. Executives are concerned about investing money in

something that could detract from the core, existing business of broadcasting, the airing of









programming to gain viewership and then selling advertising based on the audience for this

programming. One major concern of television professionals is that these ancillary services will

use up the bandwidth necessary for a clear signal to be broadcast on both the primary and

secondary digital streams.

Of the nine executives interviewed, only 1-25 GM B could discuss any specifics in regards

to his station's intentions to utilize ancillary services. This, in conjunction with the fact that the

larger markets stations, those in D.M.A.s ranked 75 and larger had intentions to pursue ancillary

services, demonstrate a possible increased adoption level at larger market stations. However,

more research needs to be conducted to determine whether or not this is true.

The importance of this finding is that television executives need to invest the time to

understand the capabilities of ancillary services. The stations that truly embrace the broad-range

of capabilities will have a strategic advantage over those stations that do not invest the time or

effort to understand the wide array of possibilities that these services can provide. The reason

for this is that station management will have a variety of digital services that may be possible

methods of generating revenue. Only those stations whose management teams place a focus on

these potential services would be capable of reaping the financial benefits. Furthermore, these

additional services are the result of the digital revolution and stations need to embrace them in

order to remain competitive. Otherwise, broadcasters will eventually lose market share in their

respective D.M.A.s for not having the foresight to invest in these new technologies.

Current Federal Communications Commission Decision to Not Mandate Multicast Cable
Carriage

There are four themes which relate to research question #3. Before reviewing these

themes, research question #3 needs to be restated. The question asked about the adoption of









multicasting and ancillary services by broadcasters as a result of the current FCC decision to

only carry a station's primary broadcast stream.

The first area reviews the far-reaching effects of the FCC mandating multicast cable

carriage. The focus is that of the cable industry and its ability to act as a gatekeeper to the video

service distribution channel. Three different themes account for the propensity of cable systems

to voluntarily carry a broadcaster's multicast channels. They are as follows:

* the broadcaster-cable relationship
* a station's affiliation and access to HD programming
* the competitiveness of the cable market.

The first of the themes concerning the likelihood that cable systems will voluntarily carry

multicast channels states that it is the relationship between the broadcaster and the cable operator

that has the strongest impact. Topics covered that directly relate to this relationship begin with

the need to tie carriage of the digital subchannels to that of the primary channel when it comes to

negotiating retransmission agreements. The second theme suggests the idea that it

may be easier for broadcasters to deal with the smaller cable systems. Also, the fact that

broadcasters will soon be asking for subscriber fees, and, in some cases, higher subscriber fees,

is mentioned in this section of the chapter.

The station's affiliation and access to HD programming have a strong influence on the

ability of broadcasters to receive cable carriage. A key consideration is a station's affiliation

with a Big 4 network on its primary channel because this affiliation gives the station the leverage

it needs to successfully negotiate cable carriage of its secondary digital channels.

The last of the themes, the competitiveness of the cable market, also appears to impact the

ability of a broadcast outlet to receive cable carriage for its digital subchannels. In a competitive









market, cable operators do not want one of the other cable systems to carry a channel to which it

does not have access.

Mandate in Favor of Multicast Cable Carriage Would Be Significant

All but one of the broadcasters who claimed that their strategy would differ in reaction to a

multicast carriage mandate stated that such a regulatory change would have a major impact by

encouraging a lot of broadcasters not currently multicasting to begin doing so. Not only

broadcasters, but the entire distribution channel, including producers and programmers, would be

affected. They would be motivated to start producing more content for all the new channels that

would be carried on cable systems.

This finding has major ramifications for the broadcasting industry. Multicast cable

carriage is very important to broadcasters, especially carriage on the analog tier. There are a lot

of people and companies waiting in the wings for such a mandate, and if it were to be approved

by the FCC, which, at this point, seems unlikely, there would be a mass of people ready to

capitalize on the technology. Multicasting has recently become fairly widespread without such a

mandate, allowing one to only imagine the influx of new content that would flood the market in

the event of a multicast carriage mandate.

The Cable Industry Has Become a Gatekeeper: Competition (environmental)

Cable companies have become gatekeepers because of the limited capacity of their

systems. The cable companies have created monopolies on the distribution channel as they

determine which programming will actually reach their subscribers, which make up the dominant

share of television viewers in the United States. The cable industry uses the lack of available

bandwidth and its effect on the ability to maintain clear signal quality as reasons for not carrying

multicast channels. In the view of some of the executives interviewed, this means that cable

operators are experiencing too much competition from broadcasters and their new multicast









channels and, thus, feel the need to stifle the competition by using bandwidth limitations as an

excuse.

This finding shows a lack of trust between broadcasters and cable providers. If the two

entities are to work together in a way in which both parties will benefit, they need to develop a

stronger sense of trust. Broadcasters need to attempt to break through the excuses of the cable

operators and see if they can convince them that by carrying their stations' multicast channels,

cable systems will be providing a better-quality product to their subscribers. Cable operators, on

the other hand, need to be careful in evaluating these multicast channels so that they do not

disregard a channel with compelling and unique content that could be a valuable part of their

channel lineup. Concurrently, they need to be cautious not to retransmit a multicast channel

lacking in alluring content or one that directly competes with one of the national cable networks

already airing on their systems.

Themes of Multicast Carriage

The results indicate market size has no bearing on the ability of broadcasters to receive

cable carriage of their multicast channels. Instead, three possible themes which may explain the

likelihood of a cable system carrying a broadcaster's multicast channels) were found: the

relationship between the broadcaster and the cable systems in a market area, the competitive

nature of the cable industry in a market, and the affiliation of the broadcaster's primary channel.

Multicast carriage theme 1: Broadcaster-cable provider relationship impacts multicast
carriage

The ability of broadcasters to receive multicast cable carriage correlates to the relationship

that a broadcaster has with a cable company, corporately and locally. At the corporate level, the

broadcast ownership groups meet with the corporate offices of multiple service operators

(MSOs) to work out an arrangement in which the cable operator will carry some or all of the









digital channels the broadcast ownership group's stations air in each of the markets in which the

MSO operates. However, in many cases, the broadcast ownership group is not very involved in

the negotiating of cable carriage as it is completed at the local level. At the local level, stations

work with the various cable companies to arrange a carriage agreement. As stated by one the

television executives interviewed, there are a number of ways for stations to reach an agreement

with cable operators, trade, promotional opportunities, and video-on-demand, to name a few.

Furthermore, given the fact that the larger-market cable systems have a larger channel capacity

than the smaller-market cable systems, one might think that it would be easier for broadcasters in

larger markets to receive carriage. However, this is often not the case as the larger market cable

operators have more broadcasters and, therefore, more multicast channels to place on their

systems than do smaller-market cable systems.

The importance to a broadcaster of having a strong relationship with a cable operator

cannot be overemphasized. Sometimes a great relationship with a cable company is more

important than having a lot of clout in an effort to receive multicast cable carriage. It is

important that broadcast stations try to work together with cable operators on local promotional

and community events in order to strengthen the bond that they have with the cable companies.

The relationship could go a long way in improving the likelihood of receiving cable carriage,

including placement on the analog tier instead of the digital tier.

The relevance of this finding is that if a broadcaster wants to receive cable carriage of its

multicast channels, it should focus on developing a strong partnership with the cable companies

in its market. If a broadcaster has an adversarial relationship with the local cable companies, it

may only be impeding its ability to receive cable carriage of its digital signals.









Important for broadcasters to tie carriage of secondary channels to that of the

primary channel. In Chapter 2, some attention was focused on retransmission consent and the

fact that the current regulatory environment calls for the carriage of only a broadcaster's primary

channel in the case of a digital broadcaster. The findings of this study suggest that broadcasters

may be able to receive carriage of their secondary channels in their retransmission consent

agreements with cable operators. For instance, a broadcaster, who is an affiliate of CBS and has

a variety of HD programming to offer a cable system, could tie the carriage of this channel to

carriage of its secondary channel, on the analog channel tier, which could be a 24-hour all-news

channel. The cable system could refuse this offer and counteroffer by stating that it could,

instead, place the 24-hour all-news channel on its digital tier. Many cable systems, instead of

denying broadcasters carriage of their multicast channels altogether, will offer broadcasters

multicast carriage on their digital tiers. These are the high-numbered channels that only a cable

system's digital subscribers can receive. This is the solution that many cable companies will

choose to offer as it does make the channel available to viewers and it will not compete directly

with cable networks such as the Discovery Channel, which can be found on both the digital and

analog tiers. This solution keeps broadcasters from complaining that they are not receiving

carriage, while ensuring that the viewership on these channels will not be high enough to

negatively affect viewing of the cable networks.

The relevance of this finding is that a broadcaster needs to be prepared to negotiate for

carriage on the analog tier of a cable system, the channel tier that all of their subscribers receive.

A broadcaster needs to be sure to emphasize the uniqueness of its programming and how it can

positively add to the program diversity of a cable system's analog tier. Not only will this

argument be effective for broadcasters on the basis of providing greater variety of programming,









but also on the fact that this unique programming, by its very nature, is less likely to siphon

viewers from the cable networks. On the other hand, if cable operators are willing to consider

granting a broadcaster carriage on their analog tier, they need to be sure that the broadcaster's

programming does contribute to the diversity of programming found on the cable system's

lineup. If it appears that the channel will not effectively add to the diversity of programming of

the cable system's analog lineup or that the channel will draw viewers away from some of the

cable networks, the cable operator needs to take measurers to defend its decision to relegate the

broadcaster's channel to the digital tier.

Broadcasters' negotiation with smaller cable systems may be easier. The smaller cable

systems in a market may be easier for broadcasters to deal with because these systems want all

the free content they can get and they are not in the business of selling advertising. These

smaller systems, in many cases, do not have the resources of the larger systems to pay the

subscriber fees to receive a wide array of cable networks. The multicast channels of broadcasters

give these cable systems a wide variety of channels without having to pay subscriber fees for

these channels, or, at least, not very high subscriber fees for these channels. In addition, these

smaller cable systems are not in the business of selling advertising so they are not as concerned

with carrying broadcast stations with similar content to that of their cable networks.

The importance of this finding is that broadcasters need to capitalize on these facts and get

as many of their multicast channels on these smaller systems as possible. This will give

broadcasters a wider audience base and it may also help to apply some competitive pressure to

the larger cable systems so that they might be more willing to carry a broadcaster's multicast

channels.









Subscriber fees paid by cable operators to broadcasters will become much more

prevalent. According to the executives interviewed as part of this study, broadcasters, in the

near future, will start to ask cable operators for subscriber fees for their secondary channels and

higher subscriber fees for their primary channels. In this case, broadcasters will be willing to

deny cable systems retransmission of their signals if they are not adequately compensated for

providing them to the cable operators. It is the belief of some of the television executives

interviewed that the cable companies may follow the directives of the broadcasters, if reluctantly,

because they want to avoid receiving customer complaints.

The significance of this finding is that broadcasters need to remain steadfast in their

willingness to deny programming to the cable companies in cases in which they are not being

adequately compensated. Broadcasters need to band together in a market to ensure that all of the

stations in their market do not agree to less compensation than the value of their signals dictate.

If one station is willing to accept a disproportionately lower level of compensation, it could

jeopardize the value of the other stations in the market. Broadcasters should be in a position of

influence for not only carrying compelling content that only they have available, but also

because cable companies have not fared well in a number of customer satisfaction studies. The

cable companies desperately want to and have been trying to reposition themselves in the minds

of consumers. As a result, they may be especially willing to work with broadcasters if it means

avoiding receiving complaint calls from unsatisfied customers.

Multicast carriage theme 2: Affiliation and access to high-definition programming
influence multicast carriage

A station's primary affiliation has a strong bearing on its ability to receive carriage of its

multicast signals. The television executives interviewed were nearly all in agreement that there

is more value associated with the Big 4 networks and that these networks have a greater capacity









to offer compelling content. A station has more leverage and more market influence when it

carries a Big 4 affiliation, especially when one considers the sporting events carried by these

networks. Other than ESPN, the only way to receive most marquee sporting events is through

one of the Big 4 networks. The Big 4 networks also carry a wide range of high-definition

programming, with the prime schedule of the CBS network, for instance, almost entirely

broadcast in HD. This highlights one of the areas of difficulty for independent stations and

stations affiliated with networks other than the Big 4; these stations have difficulty attaining

high-definition programming to showcase. Most syndicated series only come in standard-

definition format and it is expensive for independent stations, particularly, to produce their own

HD programming. However, some independent stations do have significant leverage and those

are the ones that have a strong news product as well as a diverse line-up including popular

syndicated dramas and sitcoms as well as local community affairs programming.

The significance of this is that affiliated stations need to consider the leverage they have

with the cable companies and realize that in their retransmission agreements, they have

significant power. They have the ability to offer the cable systems something that they cannot

get anywhere else and that is new dramas, sitcoms, and sporting events all in HD. What is most

important for cable operators to consider is that these networks carry the programming that will,

most likely, be viewed by a greater share of the television viewing public than will the

programming carried by the cable networks. The major broadcast networks have the greatest

resources and positioning within the marketplace to offer the most alluring content of any of the

networks available.









Multicast carriage theme 3: Level of competition experienced by cable operators influences
multicast carriage

The third theme is as follows: the level of competition experienced by cable operators in a

given market influences the ability of broadcasters to receive carriage of their multicast channels.

The level of competition refers to which cable systems are there and which ones are not and the

market power than any one particular cable provider has in that market. A cable system which

has a lot of market power is one that exclusively serves, or nearly exclusively serves, a particular

market and one that operates within a D.M.A. dominated by the delivery of video programming

via cable.

The cable industry needs to brace itself for increased competition, according to the

responses of the broadcast executives. The telephone companies are now stepping in the arena

of video program distributors as they are claiming to have the ability to carry every multicast

stream a broadcaster sends out. They say that their bandwidth is limitless unlike the cable

operators who claim they have limited bandwidth. This new form of competition to the cable

industry is good for both broadcasters and consumers alike.

The relevance of this finding is that a competitive cable market will work in the favor of

broadcasters receiving carriage of their multicast channels. This will be a strong factor in

determining the likelihood of cable cooperation with broadcasters in the carriage of their digital

signals. To the contrary, in a non-competitive cable market, one in which a cable company has a

monopolistic position, broadcasters may be less likely to receive cable carriage of their multicast

channels.

Limitations of the Study

The major limitation of this study was its scope. Due to the fact that the interviewer

conducted in-depth interviews with each of the television executives, he was unable to gather









information from a wide variety of subjects representing various television stations. Since the

researcher was conducting exploratory research, interviewing fewer subjects with each providing

a plethora of detailed information was the necessary approach. Because only nine executives

were interviewed, this research cannot be generalized to the overall population and its results are

intended to only reflect the views and thoughts of a few industry practitioners.

A second limitation of this study was that each television executive was not asked the same

series of questions in the same order. As this research was exploratory, the researcher had to

tailor each question to each specific interview and he chose particular follow up questions that in

some cases were only asked of one professional, which led to some gaps in the research findings.

The reasoning for this method of questioning was that the researcher's objective was to try and

gather as much information as possible from each of the executives. Had the research questions

focused on an area more widely explored then the researcher would have been more strict in

adhering to a specific series of questions in a specified order.

A third limitation of the study was that the researcher's personal biases may have entered

into some of the questions asked and the voice inflection he used in asking particular questions.

This may have been evident in both the actual interviews as well as the investigator's

interpretations of the interviews found in this chapter and Chapter 4. This is always a concern of

qualitative research and cannot be avoided.

Areas for Future Research

There are a number of areas of future research interest to the investigator. The areas of

interest are separated out by the topics affiliated with each of the research questions,

multicasting, ancillary services, and multicast cable carriage.









Multicasting

An area of future research would be to survey viewers in different markets and see if the

most popular multicast content broadcast by television stations will change, or remain the same,

over time. It would be of interest to see if another genre of local programming would be able to

surpass weather. The advantages of the weather format will make this difficult. It will be

sometime, if ever that another format will be able to take the place of weather as the number one

area of audience interest. The localness and cost-effectiveness of weathercasts also add to the

allure of the multicast format for television stations. One possibility might be a locally-produced

entertainment channel in that many people may find the content more intriguing, however, the

program would be more expensive to produce.

A second area of future investigation pertaining to multicasting involves a look into the

model of program choice. Since multicasting is just now becoming widespread, it would be

interesting to see, in perhaps, five or ten years, to what extent the larger selection of multicast

channels contributes to program diversity. Also, it would be of interest to see to what extent

broadcasters will imitate the way in which cable companies currently operate by repeating

programs over their multicast channels.

A third area of future research would be to take a look at a variety of television stations

that are broadcasting multiple streams and see in what cases they decide to dedicate a separate

sales team to the multicast channels. When a station adds a third or fourth channel, the station

will have much more programming that it can broadcast and sell to potential advertisers, but are

the potential revenue gains substantial enough to warrant the focus of an entire sales team?

Along with the number of multicast channels, it would also be of interest to see what types of

content will increase the likelihood that a separate sales team will be dedicated to the multicast

channels.









Ancillary services

An area involving ancillary services that warrants future investigation relates to the fact

that the larger market stations are further advanced in developing ancillary services as compared

to the smaller market broadcasters. The research could focus on the possibility that the smaller

market stations could achieve a similar level of development to that of the large market stations

in the case of ancillary services. Particularly, the ability of the smallest markets, those 126

D.M.A. sized and smaller, to reach a similar level to the largest markets, those stations in the top

25 of D.M.A.s in terms of size. It would be fascinating to see what variables come into play that

effect this in a positive or negative manner. Such variables may include various initiatives of the

broadcast ownership group to which a station belongs, technologies being employed by

competitors to a station in a market, and the vision of the broadcaster's management team.

Multicast cable carriage

An area of further research would be to investigate the relationship between broadcasters

and cable systems within particular markets to see what impacts a positive relationship between

the two entities would have on the prevalence of multicasting in a market. A researcher could

conduct surveys of both television station executives and cable system managers to ascertain the

status of the relationship between the two. The status would be considered to either be positive

or negative. From this information, a comparison could be made between the positive and

negative broadcaster-cable relationships to see if there are significant differences between the

two status groups when considering the amount of multicast channels that the television stations

are broadcasting.

A second area of interest for future research is that of the relationship between the

competitiveness of the cable market and the prevalence of multicasting in that market. Such

research would be based on the idea that the more likely cable systems are to carry multicast









channels, the more multicast channels that would be offered by broadcasters. In other words,

cable carriage would drive the creation and development of these channels by broadcasters.

Some evidence does suggest that the more competition there is in a market to the cable

companies, the more likely that these companies may carry multicast channels in an effort to

avoid a situation in which their competitors are carrying programming that they are unable to

distribute to their subscribers.

A third area of further research would be to look at the relationship between stations that

have strong leverage and the amount of multicasting they are conducting as compared to stations

that have weak leverage. Leverage could be measured in terms of a station's affiliation with a

Big 4 network or a station which broadcasts a significant amount of HD programming.

A final area of further research could be to look specifically at cable companies that sell

advertising and those that do not and see what differences exist as they relate to the carriage of

multicast channels. There is evidence to suggest that cable companies that sell advertising on

their systems may be less likely to carry multicast channels of broadcasters because they are

concerned that these channels will draw viewers and, subsequently, advertising revenues from

their networks and systems.

Conclusion

In this chapter, the researcher has summarized the results from Chapter 4 and has grouped

them together as common themes. These themes look at the implications of the

information provided by the nine television executives to the current and future states of the

broadcasting industry. As can be seen, there are a variety of themes that were uncovered in the

process of this research study. These themes were grouped into three major areas, the multicast

business model, ancillary services, and multicast cable carriage.









The first of the major groups is that of the multicast business model. It was found that

weather was the most popular format to be multicast, particularly in the larger market stations.

The other trend in multicasting content was that of My Network and The CW being broadcast on

secondary digital channels in the smaller markets. When the researcher looked at the influence

of the network on the content carried on the multicast channels, there was a limited influence.

However, when the investigator looked at the broadcast ownership group and its impact on

multicasting content, there was a strong correlation. Furthermore, it was discovered that cable

carriage is an important part of assigning value to a multicast channel. Lastly, in regards to the

multicast business model, it was discovered that the efforts of USDTV were unsuccessful mainly

because the business model used by the MVPD failed to compete effectively with the dominant

industry players, cable and satellite.

The second group contained only one major theme and that was the limited adoption

taking place of ancillary services. This seems to be the result of the limited understanding of the

technology and the fact that it is quite unlike the typical broadcaster's business model.

The third group contained a number of themes that centered around the current FCC

decision not to impose a mandate on cable operators to carry all of the secondary channels of

broadcasters. The first item discussed, as part of this theme, was that a mandate in favor of

multicast carriage of all of a broadcaster's signals would be a major development. The second

item discovered was that the cable industry has become a gatekeeper along the video distribution

supply chain.

Moreover, there are three major themes of multicast carriage. The first of these themes is

that the relationship that exists between broadcasters and cable operators has a major impact on

the ability of broadcasters to receive carriage of their multicast signals. The second of the three









major themes of multicast carriage is that the affiliation of a broadcaster's primary station and its

access to HD programming have a strong influence on the broadcaster's ability to receive

carriage of their secondary streams. The third of the major themes of multicast carriage is that

the competitiveness of the cable market influences the ability of broadcasters to receive

voluntary carriage of their secondary channels.

Furthermore, the researcher mentioned some of the limitations of the study. They include

the limited scope, the fact that the same series of questions were not asked of each study

participant nor were they asked in the same order, and the researcher's own unintended personal

biases and their effect on the actual interviews and the investigator's interpretations of the

information provided. The chapter concludes with a discussion of a few areas in which further

research is needed.









CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION

The digital revolution is rapidly advancing. Digital television set prices are falling, HD

programming is now more prevalent than ever, more television stations than ever before are

broadcasting multicast channels, and cable and satellite providers have more content than ever to

offer their subscribers. It is a time of great confusion and conflict, but also of tremendous

opportunity. Broadcasters and the multichannel video program distributors of cable and satellite

need to be constantly aware of new developments and new technologies which will be available

to their industries. Those companies that have the vision and flexibility to ride this wave of

change will be the ones that will successfully navigate their way to the shore. It is in this place,

where they will await the arrival of a tide of new technologies while remaining firmly poised in

the sand to, once again, ride the waves of change.









APPENDIX A
LIST OF KEY DEFINITIONS


Digital Television (DTV)


a new technology for transmitting and receiving broadcast
television signals. It delivers better pictures and sound, uses the
broadcast spectrum more efficiently, and adds versatility to the
range of applications. There are two levels of DTV:


(1) High-Definition Television (HDTV)





(2) Standard Definition Television (SDTV)


Multicasting


Ancillary Services


Datacasting


Designated Market Area
(D.M.A.)

Aspect Ratio


This is the highest quality DTV, with
resolution of 720p to 1080i or higher and
being produced in a 16:9 (wide-screen)
aspect ratio with up to six channels of Dolby
Digital sound.

This refers to a signal that is lower in clarity
than that of HDTV, but higher than the
analog signal being used today. This is
usually in the format of 480i or 480p and is
comparable to today's digital satellite and
DVD picture quality.


A technique by which two or more channels (programs) are
simultaneously broadcast on one major channel.

This refers to various advanced digital services such as datacasting,
subscription television, teletext, and interactive TV.

A technique by which additional program data or interactive
information is transmitted along with a program, such as catalog
pages or even Web content.

A region where the population can receive the same (or similar)
television station offerings.

The ratio of a TV picture's width to its height. Our current system
uses a 4:3 aspect ratio, whereas HDTV uses a wider 16:9 aspect
ratio.


Scanning Formats:


(1) Interlaced (i)


(2) Progressive (p)


A process where even-numbered lines are scanned first followed
by odd-numbered ones.

A process in which lines are scanned in sequences, from top to
bottom









Lines of Resolution


A measure of horizontal resolution in a video system. The actual
measure is how many vertical black-white lines can be resolved on
a display. The current NTSC format provides for 525 horizontal
lines while an HDTV standard provides for either 720 or 1080
horizontal lines.


Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD)


An entity such as, but not limited to,
a cable operator, a Multiple System
Operator (MSO), a multiple channel
distribution service, a Direct
Broadcast Satellite (DBS) service, or
a television receive only satellite
program distributor who makes
available for purchase by subscribers
or customers multiple channels of
video programming. MVPD
encompasses all providers of
multichannel TV, including MSOs,
Private Cable Operators (PCO)s,
Competitive Local Exchange
Carriers (CLEC)s and DBS systems.










APPENDIX B
INTRODUCTORY LETTER


Todd Holmes
Graduate Student
University of Florida
(My address here)


(Name typed here)
General Manager
(Address for Station)

Dear (Name of Executive):

I am a graduate student at the University of Florida and, as part of a Master's Thesis, I am conducting
interviews with television station general managers in various markets. The purpose of these interviews
is to see what digital business model stations are currently using, or looking to use, to increase audience
share and, subsequently, revenues. I am contacting you because I believe that your thoughts on
(broadcast station's digital strategy as well as your opinion as to the best ways for television stations to
remain competitive during the current transition to digital will prove to be of great value to the research
study.

The interview will take no more than 45 minutes. Specifically, I will be asking you questions about
multicasting (simultaneous broadcasting of two or more channels at the same time) and ancillary services
(additional program data and/or interactive content being transmitted along with a program). Your
responses to these questions will be kept confidential and your identity will not be revealed in the final
copy of the thesis.

I will be contacting you early next week to discuss the possibility of us setting up a meeting. Realizing
that you have many demands on your time and various important issues with which to deal, I would like
to set up this interview for a time that would be of most convenience for you. In the meantime, if you
have any questions about this research study or would like to take a look at the questions I will be asking,
please don't hesitate to give me a call at (352) 339-1515.

I look forward to speaking with you soon to discuss the possibility of an interview. I hope to have the
opportunity to meet you in the near future and I am very appreciative of your time and your consideration
of my request.

Sincerely,



Todd A. Holmes
Graduate Student
University of Florida










APPENDIX C
INFORMED CONSENT LETTER
Dear Station Executive:

I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. As part of my Master's Thesis, I am conducting in-
depth interviews. The purpose of these interviews is to see what digital business models stations are
utilizing to increase their audience share and revenues as the digital transition unfolds. Specifically, I am
looking into multicasting (simultaneous broadcasting of two or more channels at the same time) and
ancillary services (additional program data and/or interactive content being transmitted along with a
program). I am asking you to participate in one of these interviews because you have been identified as a
TV station executive with a great deal of knowledge about your station's digital business model and the
industry-wide transition to the new digital standard.

Interviewees will be asked to participate in an interview lasting no longer than 45 minutes. The schedule
of questions is attached to this form. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to
answer. Your interview will begin after I receive a copy of this signed consent from you. With your
permission, I would like to audiotape this interview. Only I will have access to the tape which I will
personally transcribe, removing any identifiers during transcription. The tape will then be erased. If you
decide to not allow me to audiotape the interview, I would like to take handwritten notes of your
comments instead with your permission. Whether the interview is tape-recorded or handwritten notes are
taken in lieu of an audiotape, your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law and
your identity will not be revealed in the final manuscript.

There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this
interview. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may discontinue your participation in
the interview at any time without consequence.

If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me at (352) 339-1515 or my faculty
supervisor, Dr. David H. Ostroff, at (352) 392-0463. Questions or concerns about your rights as a
research participant may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville,
FL 32611; ph (352) 392-0433.

Please sign this copy of the letter and hand to me if and when you wish to proceed. A second copy is
provided for your records. By signing this letter, you give me permission to report your responses
anonymously in the final manuscript to be submitted to my faculty supervisor as part of my Master's
Thesis.

Thank you,
Todd A. Holmes


I have read the procedure described above for the Digital Business Model Interview research. I
voluntarily agree to participate in the interview and I have received a copy of this description.

Signature of Participant: Date:

Signature of Investigator: Date:









APPENDIX D
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 1


General:


1. What is your name and job title?

2. What are your primary job responsibilities?

3. What networks) does your station carry?

4. What station group do you belong to?


Research Question 1:

What are the primary factors which are driving the adoption of multicasting at broadcast
outlets?


1. Are you familiar with multicasting?

a. Is it something your station is currently offering viewers?

b. If so, how many digital streams are you offering?

c. If not, when are you looking to begin using the technology?


2. What types of programming are you offering on these digital streams?

a. What kind of network programming are you airing?

b. What kind of in-house programming are you airing, if any?

c. How did you decide to use this combination of programming?


3. How much influence does the network have over your selection of multicast channels?

4. Are there multicasting initiatives you are aware of within the station group?
5. What are the costs involved in carrying these multicast channels?

6. Are you currently selling advertising on these channels?









a. If so, how are you selling ad time?

1. Are you offering program or channel sponsorships or selling individual spots?

2. Are you tying in your spot sales on the secondary channels with those on the

main channel?

3. Do you have or do you plan to have a separate sales team for these secondary

channels?

b. If not, why aren't you selling advertising on these secondary channels?


7. You may have heard of USDTV or Emmis Communications and how they are purchasing

unused spectrum from broadcasters in select markets to offer a low-cost alternative to cable. If

they were to call on you, would you be willing to sell them some of your unused

spectrum/bandwidth?

a. Do you believe that these companies have a viable business concept?









APPENDIX E
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 2


Research Question #2:

What are the primary factors which are driving the adoption of various ancillary services

(datacasting, subscription television programming, teletext, and interactive services, etc.)

at broadcast outlets?


1. Are you familiar with ancillary services, such as datacasting, subscription television

programming, teletext, and interactive services?

a. Is your station currently offering any of these digital services?

b. If so, how many streams of ancillary services are you offering?

c. If not, when are you looking to begin utilizing these services?


2. What types of information/ entertainment are you offering on these digital streams?

a. What kind of network-provided information are you datacasting?

b. What kind of in-house information are you providing, if any?

c. How did you decide to use these combination of digital services?


3. How much influence does the network have over your selection of digital services and the

type of information that your station sends out?

4. Are there any digital service initiatives you are aware of within your station group?

5. What are the costs involved in carrying these data/entertainment channels?


6. Are you currently tying advertising in with these digital services?

a. If so, how are you selling advertising on these ancillary services?









1. Are you offering providing advertiser sponsorships on these digital channels?
2. Are you tying in these sponsorships with spots sales/sponsorships on the main

channel?

3. Do you have or do you plan to have a separate sales team for these ancillary

services?

b. If not, why aren't you selling advertising on these digital services?

7. Are you currently or do you plan to charge subscription fees for the use of these

services?









APPENDIX F
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 3



Research Question #3:

How is the current FCC decision mandating that cable systems only have to carry a

broadcaster's "primary video" programming stream effecting the multicasting and

ancillary service adoption decisions being made at broadcast outlets?



1. For some time, the FCC has been debating the carriage of multicast (secondary) channels on

cable systems. Do you feel that your business strategy would be different if cable systems had to

carry every multicast channel offered by local broadcasters?

a. If your strategy would be different, why?

b. What would be different about your strategy?

c. What are the factors which are contributing to the ability of some broadcasters to

receive voluntary carriage?


2. Do you feel that affiliates in smaller markets have more or less of a chance of getting their

multicast channels on cable systems than affiliates in larger markets? If so, why?


3. Do you feel that affiliates of the Big 4 networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) in a market have

more or less of a chance of getting their multicast channels on cable systems than affiliates of

the smaller networks or independent stations?


4. Do local cable systems currently carry your multicast channels?

a. If so, which cable systems?

b. What did you have to do to entice these systems to carry your multicast channels?










c. What it difficult or fairly routine?


5. Do you feel that your network affiliation or the clout of your broadcast group have anything

to do with your ability to get cable carriage of your multicast channels?









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Todd Holmes was born in Greenville, TX, on June 5, 1973. He spent his early years in

Texas before moving to Pennsylvania with his mother and brother. Holmes was active in high

school as he participated in sports and student government. In June 1991, he graduated from

Camp Hill High School in Camp Hill, PA. Holmes attended college at James Madison

University where he earned a BBA in marketing in 1995. He was active while in college as he

was a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity, the Madison Marketing

Association, and student government.

Since college, Holmes has worked in a variety of sales positions, primarily in the

telecommunications field. He worked in inside sales for Dish Network before moving into

outside sales with MCI WorldCom, where he covered the Baltimore, MD, territory. After

spending a year at MCI WorldCom, Holmes relocated to Gainesville, FL, to work in the

television industry and pursue a childhood interest in television broadcasting. He went to work

at, then, WGFL WB 53 in August 1999 as an account executive. Holmes decided to stay with

the sales track after several months in the business, and he ended up working in sales for the

station, which later became known as WGFL CBS 4, for nearly seven years. During his time at

the station, Holmes built a strong client base of both local and agency business and was

promoted to senior account executive in February 2005. In addition, during this time, he was

accepted to the Graduate School at the University of Florida in the College of Journalism and

Communications, where he began attending school part-time studying telecommunications.

In May 2006, however, he left the media business to work in the office supply and

furniture business at DOCS Business Interiors as an account executive. After a short stint with

DOCS, Holmes found himself missing the media business and promptly found employment with

Sunshine Broadcasting, a radio broadcasting company, as a media consultant.









Holmes plans to graduate with his Master of Arts in Mass Communication degree in

August 2008. In the fall of 2008, he plans to begin pursuing a Ph.D. in marketing at Mississippi

State University.





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1 TELEVISION BROADCASTERS ADOPTIO N OF DIGITAL MULTICAST AND ANCILLARY SERVICES: AN ANALYSIS OF THE PRIMARY CORE, SUPPORTING, AND ENVIRONMENTAL DRIVERS By TODD ANDREW HOLMES A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

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2 2008 Todd Andrew Holmes

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3 To all who have inspired my intellectual curiosity and academic pursuits, and to all who have supported me in reaching this milestone

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and forem ost, I would like to thank my chai r, Dr. Ostroff, for the enormous amount of time and guidance he gave to me in helping me to complete this research study. His support and direction were absolutely critical in the successful completion of this paper. I also would like to thank the members of my committee, Dr. Chan-O lmsted and Dr. Brown, for their thoughts and ideas concerning my research topic. Second, I would like to thank the nine televi sion executives who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with me and who very openly and willingly shared with me their thoughts on the research topic. Th eir help was absolutely vital to the completion of this study. Third, I would like to thank my parents w ho continued to keep me moving along on the thesis through their inquiries and encouragem ent. Their own academic achievements have continued to inspire me throughout this process. Lastly, special thanks go to all my friends, the Gator Guzzlers and many others, who heard me talk about this thesis for months and with whom I had to skip out on a lot of activities. I appreciate their understanding and their always entertaining comme nts regarding this research study.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ........10 LIST OF FIGURES.......................................................................................................................12 ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................................13 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................14 Digital Television Rollout is Far Reaching............................................................................ 14 Broadcasters Face Competition from Various Sources.......................................................... 15 Origins of Digital Television.................................................................................................. 16 Early High-Definition Broadcasts.......................................................................................... 18 Consumer Adoption of Digital Television Technology......................................................... 19 Comparison of Adoption of High-Defi nition TV to That of Color TV .......................... 20 Consumer Adoption of Interactive Services.................................................................... 21 High-Definition Gains Momentum......................................................................................... 22 Consumer Education............................................................................................................. ..22 Current Figures on Consumer Understanding of Digital TV.......................................... 22 Consumers Not Very Familia r with Interactiv e TV........................................................ 23 Voluntary Actions to Increase Awareness...................................................................... 24 Public Safety Concerns...........................................................................................................25 First Responders Need Analog Spectrum........................................................................ 25 Over-the-air Television Cr itical During Em ergencies.................................................... 26 New Digital Technologies Enhance Consumer Safety................................................... 27 Purpose and Value of This Research......................................................................................27 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................29 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................30 Proposed Framework of New Media Adoption by Media Firms........................................... 32 Core Factors.....................................................................................................................32 Firm characteristics.................................................................................................. 32 Media technology characteristics............................................................................. 35 Supporting Factors........................................................................................................... 38 Strategic networks....................................................................................................38 Perceived strategic value..........................................................................................39 Managerial knowledge of and incen tives to seek alternatives ................................. 39 Environmental Factors..................................................................................................... 39 New Media Technology Adoption.................................................................................. 40 Social Movement Theory.......................................................................................................41

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6 Broadcasters and Their Entry into the Digital Age................................................................ 43 Regulation/Federal Communications Comm ission Rulings...................................................44 Three Key Recommendations of the U.S. General Accounting Office ..........................45 Mandate for all TV sets to be digital over-the-air com patible and digital cableready.....................................................................................................................46 Certain date for cable carriage to switch from analog to digital.............................. 47 Debate Over Dual Carriage by Cable Systems................................................................ 49 Broadcasters and Cable Industry Squa re Off on Issue of Multicasting ........................... 49 Broadcasters viewpoint...........................................................................................49 Cable operators stance............................................................................................ 51 Broadcasters Denied Carriage of Multicast Channels..................................................... 54 Lack of Public Interest Programming.............................................................................. 55 Coalition of Consumer Activists Enter Debate ............................................................... 55 Retransmission Consent and the 1992 Cable Act............................................................ 56 Major Network Digital Initiatives.......................................................................................... 57 National Broadcasting Company (NBC)......................................................................... 57 American Broadcasting Company (ABC)....................................................................... 58 ABC AccuWeather................................................................................................... 58 ABC News Now....................................................................................................... 59 Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS)........................................................................... 60 Fox Broadcasting Company, The CW Tele vision Network, and My Network TV ........ 62 Specialty Digital Networks.....................................................................................................63 Qubo Network.................................................................................................................63 LATV Network............................................................................................................... 63 Motor Trend TV..............................................................................................................63 World Championship Sports Network............................................................................ 64 Multicast (Standard-Defin ition ) Business Model................................................................... 64 Model of Program Choice............................................................................................... 64 Dual Carriage in a Mu lticast Environm ent...................................................................... 65 Advantages of Multicasting............................................................................................. 66 Improved affiliate/network relations: Com plementarity.......................................... 66 Creation of new nationa l networks: Newness .......................................................... 66 Ability to target advertising to particular m arket segments: Utility observability and efficiency........................................................................................................67 Outlet for extended/enhanced news programm ing: Content distribution................ 68 Relatively inexpensive once infrastruc ture is in place: Technology cost ................ 68 Cross-market penetration: Complementarity........................................................... 69 Similar to existing business model: Compatibility.................................................. 69 Other Uses of Multicast Technology............................................................................... 70 Digital signal used to air programm ing from different networks: Content distribution............................................................................................................70 Better carriage for low-power stations: Utility observability and efficiency ........... 70 Revolutionary Uses of Multicast Technology................................................................. 71 Broadcast of flight arrival and departure information: Newness............................ 71 Traffic reporting: Newness.......................................................................................71 Benefits to Advertisers Thr ough Use of Multicast Technolo gy...................................... 71

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7 Challenges of Multicasting.............................................................................................. 72 Securing the capability to digitally deliver a signal: Technology cost..................... 72 Producing more with the same staff or sam e capital expenditure: Technology cost........................................................................................................................73 Acquiring programming to fill secondary channels: Complementarity................... 73 Adding more channels does not mean th ere are more advertisers: Technology cost ........................................................................................................................73 Automation in a Multichannel Operation........................................................................ 74 Ancillary Services............................................................................................................. ......75 Media Technology Characteristics.................................................................................. 76 The Return Path Will Have Major Impact on Television Advertising............................ 76 Variations of Ancillary Services..................................................................................... 77 WRAL-TV 5: A Digital Pioneer.............................................................................................78 Multicasting.....................................................................................................................79 Outlet for extended/enhanced news programm ing: Content distribution................ 79 Improved affiliate/network relations: Com plementarity.......................................... 80 Relatively inexpensive once infrastruc ture is in place: Technology cost ................ 80 Datacasting: Newness/Utility Ob serv ability and Efficiency........................................... 81 KUSA-TV 9: A High-Defi nition Newscast Pioneer .............................................................. 83 High Definition................................................................................................................83 Content Distribution........................................................................................................ 83 Technology Cost.............................................................................................................. 84 Cable Is Using High-Definition Advantage in Battle With Satellite...................................... 84 USDTV: A Low-Cost Alternative.......................................................................................... 86 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................87 3 METHODOLOGY................................................................................................................. 89 Data Gathering Method Used................................................................................................. 89 Selecting the Study Participants............................................................................................. 90 Pre-Interview Procedure.........................................................................................................92 Conducting the Interviews...................................................................................................... 93 Research Questions and the Actual Interviews...................................................................... 94 Data Analysis..........................................................................................................................97 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................98 4 FINDINGS....................................................................................................................... .......99 Profile of Interview Participants........................................................................................... 100 Status of Multicasting as of Interview..................................................................................102 Viewpoints on USDTV: The Wirele ss Alternative to Cable ......................................... 104 Reasons cited for why USDTVs business model was not viable......................... 105 Reasons cited for why USDTVs busine ss m odel could have been viable............ 107 Core Characteristics..............................................................................................................108 Firm Characteristics....................................................................................................... 108 Station affiliation.................................................................................................... 108 Ownership group....................................................................................................113

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8 Media Technology Characteristics................................................................................ 119 USDTV and its media technology characteristics.................................................. 119 Complementarities................................................................................................. 121 Technology cost..................................................................................................... 124 Supporting Factors............................................................................................................. ...126 Perceived Strategic Value..............................................................................................126 Methods of selling advertising on multicast channels: St ations currently multicasting......................................................................................................... 126 Methods of selling advertising on multi cast channels: Stations not currently multicasting......................................................................................................... 128 Managerial Knowledge/In centives and Multicasting ....................................................129 Managerial Knowledge/Incenti ves and Ancillary Services.......................................... 131 Strategic Networks........................................................................................................133 Network-broadcaster partnerships.......................................................................... 133 Broadcaster-cable provider relationship................................................................. 134 Environmental Factors.......................................................................................................... 143 Regulation of the Broadcast/Multicha nnel Video Programm ing Distribution Industry...................................................................................................................... 143 Reasons cited for differing strategy....................................................................... 144 Reasons cited for not differing strategy.................................................................146 Market Conditions/Size.................................................................................................147 Competition................................................................................................................... 149 Station vs. station...................................................................................................149 Broadcaster vs. cable operator............................................................................... 150 Cable operator vs. cable operator........................................................................... 151 Conclusion............................................................................................................................153 5 DISCUSSION.......................................................................................................................157 The Multicast Business Model............................................................................................. 158 Weather Is the Most Popular Multicast Form at, Particularly in the Larger Markets ....158 Managerial knowledge (supporting)...................................................................... 158 Media technology characterist ics/technology cost (core) ......................................159 Smaller-Market Stations Are Multicasti ng My Network TV and The CW Network: Market size (environmental)...................................................................................... 159 Networks Have a Limited Influence on Digital Model Adoption: Managerial knowledge (supporting) .............................................................................................160 Broadcast Ownership Group Makes a Difference......................................................... 161 Diverse strategic postures: Firm /entrepreneurship (core)...................................... 161 Broadcast ownership groups are important in providing funding and support of HD newscasts: Firm /entrepreneurship/orga nizational strategic traits (core)...... 162 Cable Industry as a Mediator of Strate gy: Managerial knowledge and broadcastercable provider relationship (supporting) ....................................................................162 USDTV Failed to Successfully Compete with Cable and Satellite Providers .............. 164 Competition (environmental)................................................................................. 164 Market conditions (environmental)........................................................................ 164 Firm/entrepreneurship (core).................................................................................. 164

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9 Market conditions (environmental)........................................................................ 165 Ancillary Services/ Datacasting............................................................................................ 165 Current Federal Communications Commi ssion Decis ion to Not Mandate Multicast Cable Carriage...................................................................................................................166 Mandate in Favor of Multicast Cabl e Carriage Would Be Significant ......................... 168 The Cable Industry Has Become a Gatekeeper: Competition (environmental)............ 168 Themes of Multicast Carriage....................................................................................... 169 Multicast carriage theme 1: Broadcastercable provider relationship im pacts multicast carriage................................................................................................ 169 Multicast carriage theme 2: Affiliation and access to high-definition programm ing influen ce multicast carriage......................................................... 173 Multicast carriage theme 3: Level of com petition experienced by cable operators influences multicast carriage.............................................................. 175 Limitations of the Study................................................................................................ 175 Areas for Future Research.............................................................................................176 Multicasting............................................................................................................177 Ancillary services................................................................................................... 178 Multicast cable carriage......................................................................................... 178 Conclusion............................................................................................................................179 6 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................... 182 APPENDIX A LIST OF KEY DEFINITIONS............................................................................................. 183 B INTRODUCTORY LETTER...............................................................................................185 C INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 1.................................................. 187 D INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 2.................................................. 189 E INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 3.................................................. 191 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................193 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................203

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10 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1. Stations Multicasting as of Interview Date...........................................................................102 4-2. Number and Format of Digital Streams Broadcast.............................................................. 103 4-3. Time Frame for Non-Multic asters to Begin Multicasting ....................................................104 4-4. Reasons Why or Why Not that US DTV wa s a Viable Business Concept........................... 105 4-5. Level of Influence of the Network over Local Multicasting ................................................ 109 4-6. Likelihood that Having a Big 4 Affiliati on W ill Influence Multicast Cable Carriage More Than Will a Smaller Netw ork or Independent Station........................................... 110 4-7. Multicasters Views on the Effects of Network Affiliation and Broadcast Ownership Group on Ability to Receive Cable Carriage ................................................................... 113 4-9. Involvement of Ownership Group in Decis ion to Pursue Ancillary Services...................... 117 4-10. Type of In-House Programming Being Aired on Multicast Channels............................... 120 4-11. Reasons Provided by Current Multicaste rs for Carrying This Combination of Programm ing....................................................................................................................121 4-12. Reasons Provided by Future Multicaste rs f or Carrying This Combination of Programming....................................................................................................................123 4-13. Costs Involved in Carri age of Multicast Channels ............................................................. 124 4-14. Current Multicasters Met hod s of Selling Advertising...................................................... 127 4-15. Future Multicasters Met hod s of Selling Advertising........................................................ 128 4-16. Stations Planning to Offer Anc illary Services...................................................................131 4-17. Type of Network Programming Being Aired on Multicast Channels............................... 133 4-18. Rationale Provided for Volunt ary Carriage of Multicast Channels ................................... 135 4-19. Multicasters Receiving Current Cable Carriage................................................................. 138 4-20. Future Multicasters Views on the Effects of the Broadcas ter-cable relationship on the ability of broadcasters to r eceive multicast Cable Carriage ............................................. 142 4-21. Responses of Executives When As ked if Their Strategy Would Differ ............................. 143

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11 4-22. Comments and Perceived Effects of Mult icast Mandate for Broadcasters Claim ing Their Strategy Would Differ............................................................................................ 144 4-23. Rationale Stations Gave fo r Not Differing Their Strategy ................................................. 146 4-24. Structure of Sales Team Selling Multicast Channels......................................................... 148

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12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1. Toward a theory of media firm innova tion developm ent and adoption. Source: ChanOlmsted, 2006, pg. 261, Fig. 12.2......................................................................................33

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13 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Mast er of Arts in Mass Communication TELEVISION BROADCASTERS ADOPTIO N OF DIGITAL MULTICAST AND ANCILLARY SERVICES: AN ANALYSIS OF THE PRIMARY CORE, SUPPORTING, AND ENVIRONMENTAL DRIVERS By Todd Andrew Holmes August 2008 Chair: Dr. David H. Ostroff Major: Mass Communication The digital technologies of multicasting and da tacasting are bringing with them a plethora of new challenges and opportunities for broadcasters. The research er offers an exploratory look into the dynamics of these ne w technologies by conducting intensive interviews with nine television executives in four markets of varying size. The researcher looks specifically at the core, supporting, and environmental factors which are driving the adoption decisions made by broadcasters. Key considerations and themes involved in selling the multicast channels and in remaining competitive in the digital age of broadcasting are discussed. The limited adoption of ancillary services at this time and the reasoning behind this find ing are also analyzed. The researcher found a number of themes pertaining to the market-based solutions broadcasters are employing to deal with the i ssue of multicast cable ca rriage. These themes illustrate the increasingly complex relationship between broadcasters and cable operators.

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14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Digita l television (DTV) (see Appendix A) is evolving into one of the most exciting and dynamic technologies our nation has ever seen. Th e rollout of the technology did begin rather slowly, but is now rapidly gaining momentum. Th e new broadcast standard will have a powerful impact on broadcasters, cable and satellite provi ders, film and televisi on producers, electronic equipment manufacturers, and consumers. The poten tial is great as all of these parties try to determine how to maximize the advantages while minimizing the challenges that this new and dynamic technology provides. Digital Television Rollout is Far Reaching Digita l television is the wave of the future. As stated by former Vice President Al Gore, in his address at the inaugural meeting of the A dvisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations, the transition to digital represents the greatest transformati on in television history...one that is truly bigger than the shift from black and white to color...Its like the difference between a oneman band and a symphony (Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998). P opular culture is only now star ting to become aware of the superior image of high-definiti on (HD) television and the excellent sound-quality that this technology produces. The public is discovering these benefits by seeing the technology on display at various electronics re tailers, restaurants, public venues, and at the homes of friends and family. However, the public has yet to disc over the impressive interactive capabilities of digital television. People will soon realize that with a simple click of a button, they will be able to immediately receive various product information concerning items on their television screens.

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15 Commercial broadcasters are now well aware th at in less than a year the analog spectrum will be taken away by the federal government a nd DTV and its supporting services will be all that they will have to offer. The time has co me for broadcasters to st art thinking about how to craft their DTV infrastructure in order to garner a return on their massive digital investment. With compression technology offering the promise of HDTV and rather than the threat of HDTV or, broadcasters are beginning to see ways to do more than HDTV (see Appendix A) over their digital channels. The transition to digital is leading station executives to becoming more or less bandwidth managers instead of stewards of a one-channel broadcast. The spectrum of 6 MHZ will deliver about 19.39 Mbps of material, which translates in to 1 HD and two standard definition (SD) (see Appendix A) channels or as many as four or five SD channels. It will become a balancing act for executives as either more channels can be aired with poorer signal quality or fewer channels with higher signal quality. This represents the major challenge behind what is known as multicasting (see Appendix A), the simultaneous broadcast of two or more channels (programs) on one major channel. The technology, many believe, will allo w broadcasters to be able to compete more effectively with cable and sate llite operators as well as prov iders of newer technologies. Broadcasters Face Competition from Various Sources The revenue pie continues to shrink as the com petition for eyeballs increases. Many are now realizing that there might be far fewer stations in 10 years than the nearly 1,600 stations in the United States currently. Even in the large ma rkets, station managers are wondering if more than three competing newscasts can remain viab le. Local and national advertisers are finding new and creative ways of getting exposure via alternate program and cable operators. According to a recent study by Marian Azzaro, Professor of Marketing at Roos evelt University in Chicago,

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16 advertisers would need to buy 42 percent more commercial inventory on the three major networks than they did 10 years ago just to reach the same size audience today (Boston & Brown, 2004). The cable industry is not the only competitor. TV stations face increasingly intense competition for the consumers time from a plethora of other sources. The biggest ones to watch will be digital video recorders, video-on-demand, and handheld devices which are delivering more content, said Chris Rohrs, pres ident of the Television Bureau of Advertising. Other interactive technologies, including the Internet and the video game industry, are also siphoning off viewers from broadcast TV. In fact, the video gaming industry is a $28 billion force that now rakes in more revenue than all commercial television in this country (Boston & Brown, 2004). Origins of Digital Television For the pas t 65 years, television broadcasters have transmitted signals in an analog format. This format, which was developed by the National Television Systems Committee in 1941, is also known as the NTSC standard. The format remained intact through the transition to color television, provisions to enhance picture quality (and reduce ghosti ng), and the development of closed captioning and stereophonic sound (Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998). The invention of HDTV was a n early thirty-year-long journey that began in the late 1960's as an industrial goal to improve television technology. The Japa nese started work on HDTV in 1970 under the leadership of Takashi Fujio of Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), Japans state broadcasting system. The research aimed to creat e a higher-quality picture, one with more vivid

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17 color and greater detail. In a ddition, a major goal was to increase the psychological effects of the medium to improve its use as a venue for advertising (Van Tassel, 2001). It was not until July 1987 that the Federa l Communications Commission (FCC) opened an inquiry into the possible introductio n of an advanced television service in the United States. The FCC then created an organization called the Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service (ACATS) to explore the economic, technical, and social implications of such a service. The group, which was comprised of 28 volunteer members, set out to build a testing facility for high-definition television known as the Advanced Television Testing Center in Alexandria, VA. In early 1993, ACATS along with the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), an industry group for which analog TV was named, re viewed four digital HDTV proposals and one analog proposal. It was at this time that ACATS affirmed the s uperiority of digital over analog although a specific digital proposal could not be agreed upon (Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998). As a result of this debate, digital television competitors decided to form a coa lition called the Grand Alliance to pool their expertise. In May 1996, the FCC formally proposed adoption of the Grand Alliance standards and, in December of that year, it adopted them with some changes. Th e standards included 18 distinct formats, which was the best way for the FCC to appease the various parties involved, broadcasters, computer companies, and consumer electronics manufacturers to name a few. The plethora of formats were also used to provide fo r great flexibility in the use of digital television as several versions of scanning formats, aspect ratios, and lines of resolution became available (Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Te levision Broadcasters, 1998).

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18 In the end, the FCC recognized, but did not formally adopt, any one of the 18 recommended formats. Instead, it allowed broad casters to use the scanning format that best suited their needs. The F CC said in its April 3, 1997 Fifth Report and Order on ATV (Advanced Television), Since broadcasters have incentives to discover the preferences of consumers and adapt their service offerings accordingly, we beli eve it is prudent to leave the choice up to broadcasters so that they may respond to th e demands of the marketplace (Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998). Included with this FCC order, a schedule for the rollout of DTV was set. The affiliates of the four major networks, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC in the top ten markets were required to be broadcasting a digital signal by May 1, 1999. Those network affiliates in markets 11 to 30 had to be on the air by November 1, 1999, while all other co mmercial stations had to be digital by May 2002. PBS was required to be broadcasting in digital by May 2003 (Van Tassel, 2001). The Telecommunications Act of 1996 estab lished the framework for licensing DTV spectrum to existing broadcasters. Broadcasters were assigned a new DTV license and were given an additional 6 MHZ channel to facilitate the transition from analog to DTV. The original 6 MHZ channel for analog broadcasts will be re tained until the expected completion of the transition. Once the transition is complete, each licensee must return the channel to the FCC (Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1998). Early High-Definition Broadcasts October 29, 1998, the launch of the space shuttle Di scovery, marks the date of the first live news event to be broadcast in HD. The broadc ast could be picked up in more than twenty markets. In November 1998, the ABC station in Detroit aired an HD version of the film 101 Dalmatians which was seen by hundreds of curious people watching from electronics stores in

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19 the area. In December 1998 and January 1999, CBS aired the first football games in HD in New York City (Van Tassel, 2001). The earliest HD programming was centered aroun d special events, movies, and sports. These types of programming capture an audiences attention especially well because they tend to have a relatively large following and numerous visual details and audio can be showcased as well. As far as early commercial adopters are concerned, Proctor and Gamble aired six highdefinition commercials in an experimental HDTV broadcast in 1999 (Van Tassel, 2001). Consumer Adoption of Digital Television Technology As of September 4, 2007, there were 1625 tele vision stations in 211 markets broadcasting a digital signal. Nearly 99 percen t of TV households in the United St ates have access to at least one local digital st ation (TVB, 2007). According to the Consumer Electronics Association, around 30 percen t of US households have at least one HDTV, with a third of these households owning more than one (Robbins, 2007). This represents a solid increase over the roughly 7 percent of households that owned HDTV sets in 2004 (Lieberman, 2006). Nearly 16 million HD sets are expected to have been sold by the end of 2007, which brings the cumu lative total to 52.5 million HD households in the U.S. (Robbins, 2007). The average price of either a plasma or liquid crystal display (LCD) TV is $1,881 while an average projection TV costs $1877 (PriceGrabber.com, 2006). In looking at the price issue, Kagan Research Asso ciate Analyst Patrick Johnson, ha d this to say, We project the average price of an HD set will decline some 38 percent by 2010, reducin g the price to $1,139. The rapid price declines, in conjunction with in creasing levels of HD programming, are sure to significantly drive up the total num ber of HD households over the next few years (Business Wire Inc., 2006).

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20 Another research firm, Leichtman Research Group, had made some other estimates as to the rapid growth of di gital TV in its report HDTV 2006: Consumer Awareness, Interest and Ownership Some 92 percent of adults had heard of HDTV, up from 86 percent in 2004. In addition, HDTV set sales were th e highest among wealthy consum ers. The average household income of an HDTV owner was $89,500, which was 42 percent above the national average. This figure had not changed even as prices had fa llen some 30 percent for plasma HDTVs and 15 percent for LCD models (Lieberman, 2006). Comparison of Adoption of High-Definition TV to That of Color TV Schubin (2003) compared the adoption of HDTV to that of NTSC color back in 1953. The first HDTVs and the first NTSC color receivers bo th appeared a year after their approval by the FCC. Also, HDTVs, at first, were very expensive as were the first NTSC color televisions, which cost $1,295 at a time when a brand new Ford cost $1,695. Although there are similarities, the transition to digital television has moved quicker than the transition from black and white to color. Firs t of all, the initial HDTV sets, while expensive, were relatively less expensive than the first NTSC color sets. The higher prices of NTSC sets led to a slower adoption of the new technology by c onsumers when compared to the adoption of digital sets. Second, it took even longer for color programming to be broadcast than HDTV. A full decade passed before NTSC color was broadcas t, quite a bit longer than the first digital broadcast. Third, the reception of HDTV is im proving at a faster pace as reception problems were abundant in the rollout of NTSC color. In 1967, IEEE Spectrum noted that NTSC should have stood for Never Twice the Same Color as severe reception problems kept many other countries from adopting the US system. Overall, the transition to NTSC color took more than a

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21 quarter century and while the digital transition is taking some time, it will be complete much sooner than that of NT SC color (Schubin, 2003). Although faster than the rollout of NTSC co lor, the conversion to digital television technology began at a very slow pace. It was no t until early 2003 that it seemed likely that the technology rollout would, in fact, take place. Proulx (2004) discussed the rapid adoption of digital television and the chain of events that ha ve taken place since early 2003. First of all, new HDTV sports channels were introduced which le d to the creation of di gital production studios, broadcast centers, and HDTV production trucks. Sports programming has been an exceptionally powerful driver for the creation of new facilities because so much of this type of content is live. Second, because of the increased development of digital facilities and in frastructure, a larger variety of more cost-effective broadcast equipm ent and HDTV sets have become available. Third, non-sports channels have begun worki ng on and are developing their own HDTV plans because of the more cost-effective equipment available and because many more people are buying HDTV sets due to their lower cost. Fourt h, cable and satellite providers are encouraged to carry HDTV programming and have been using th e technology to help a dd to their subscriber base. This has, in turn, led to an increase in the amount of HD progr amming carried by both the networks and local affiliates. The key to the chain reaction is that it has been driven by consumers appetite for HDTV content and their de sire to purchase the equipment necessary to view it. Consumer Adoption of Interactive Services According to Stum p (2005), only 34.1 million ho useholds subscribed to some form of interactive service, whether it was in the form of direct-respo nse advertising, games, or home shopping. The number of households subscribing to interactive services is expected to reach 69

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22 million by 2009. However, even with this doubling of households, the total revenue from interactive services will only amount to $2.4 bi llion, as estimated by Kagan Research. For comparisons sake, Google recorded nearly $6 billion in advertising revenue in 2004. The search engines have gotten consumers into the habit of interacting online. Cable companies hope that this behavior by consumers will lead to the use of remote controls to click on interactive TV ads. High-Definition Gains Momentum Several elem ents have aligned to make highdefinition technology fi nally materialize for content providers and distributors. On the c ontent side, cameras were introduced that were native in both 720p and 1080i (see Appendix A fo r a discussion of scanning and lines of resolution). This has allowed remote truc ks, programming, and produc tion vendors to the networks, to invest in HD equipmen t, as they no longer have to inve st in two types of cameras or expensive conversion equipment to serve the separate ABC/FOX (720p format) and CBS/NBC (1080i format) camps. Secondly, HD equipment has dropped enough in pri ce that there is a chance of making the investment pay off sooner rather than later. On the distribution side, ABC, CBS, and NBC are offering all prime time pr ogramming in HD (Boston & Brown, 2004). Consumer Education Despite the mom entum that the digital transi tion now has, consumers still remain quite confused as to the transition and what it means to them. Current Figures on Consumer Understanding of Digital TV A 2006 survey, conducted by research firm ICR, found that although more stations were offering digital signals than ever before, 61 percent of survey participants had no idea the digital television transition was taking place. Only 25 percent of re spondents said they were somewhat aware or very aware of the digi tal transition (Cripps, 2007).

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23 When looking at high definition television sp ecifically, there is a general lack of understanding both for shoppers and owners of HD television sets, according to the results of a survey conducted in August 2007 by GfK Roper P ublic Affairs and Media Omnibus Services. Nearly 32 percent of those surveyed claimed they had no understanding of HD television while 56 percent said they had a moderate understanding. In contrast, only 11 percent of general consumers claimed to have had a complete understanding of HD television. The phone interviews also illustrated confusion on the part of consumers as to how to receive HD on their sets. Nearly 39 percen t of respondents did not identify an HD-ready set as a requirement to receive the superior image and sound quality of HD. In add ition, some 44 percent did not know they needed access to HD programming or an ante nna in order to receive an HD signal (Poll Finds, 2007). Consumers Not Very Familiar with Interactive TV An older study, conducted by Ipsos-Insight, looked into interactive te levision (ITV), one of the so-called ancillary services (see Appendix A). The study concluded that even after 10 years of hype, only 50 percent of Americans had even heard of ITV. Furthermore, only 11 percent said they were somewhat familiar or very familiar with it. When asked about how interested people were in ITV activities, the most popular featur e mentioned was the ability to control camera angles. This was indicated by ju st 26 percent of adults. One of the favorite features of ITV developers has been that of play ing games against other viewers. However, this feature only excited 15 percent of the respondents to the survey. As stated by Lynne Bartos, who works in the Cable, Media, and Entertainment res earch division of Ipsos, ITV content providers and programmers have their work cut out for them to raise awareness le vels, improve consumer

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24 understanding, and get consumers excited about th e features and benefits of interactive TV (Swann, 2004). Voluntary Actions to Increase Awareness A key elem ent in facilitating the transition from analog to digital is ensuring that consumers are aware of the transition. In Ap ril 2002, FCC Chairman Michael Powell drafted a proposal calling for voluntary actions to speed the transition to digital by increasing consumer awareness. The Chairman asked broadcast stations to use their analog channels to help promote their digital channels. Also, cable systems were asked to market their DTV programming and products to consumers on the air and in customers monthly bills. Furthermore, Powell asked for point-of-sale marketing of broadcast, cable, a nd satellite digital opti ons by DTV equipment manufacturers and retail outle ts (United States General Accounting Office, 2002). As a result of the proposal, the 10 largest cab le operators said they would do more to advertise and market their value-added DTV pr ogramming. Consumer electronics makers said they would embark on a nationa l public awareness campaign to promote digital set-top boxes and that they would use point-of-sale promo tions. In addition, the FCC itself provides information on its website and through the call center of its Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (United States General Accounting Office, 2002). To serve as an example of a specific init iative by cable companies and electronics manufacturers, the Marketers Council of the Cable & Teleco mmunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and Samsung Electronics partnered in an effort to educate consumers about HDTV and its many benefits. CTAM, which is comprised of eight cable companies including Adelphia, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, and Time Warner Cable, launc hed a three-tiered approach to educating

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25 consumers on HDTV. First, the or ganization targeted consumers with a series of sports-oriented television commercials that showed the enhan ced experience a viewer can have by watching a sporting event in HD. Second, it launched an intera ctive online guide to digital television which can be found at samsungusa.com/dtvguide/. Third, CTAM placed banner ads promoting HDTV on many popular websites, including BusinessW eek.com and NYTimes.com (Samsung, CTAM Hope, 2004). Public Safety Concerns A large part of the transition to digital is centered around public safety concerns. Moving television broadcasters to a digital spectrum will open up the analog spectrum to be used by the government and public safety officials. First Responders Need Analog Spectrum When terrorists attacked the W orld Trade Ce nter on September 11, 2001, the fire chiefs responding to the scene had no way of communicati ng with the police. New York City police officers heard the warnings from police helicopter s circling overhead while firefighters and fire chiefs, including special operations chief Ray Downey, heard nothing. These communications breakdowns prompted the 9/11 commission to reco mmend that broadcasters quickly vacate four television channels for public safety; however it has yet to occur (C lark, 2005). The slow transition has been frustrating for some, such as Thomas Kean, who headed the 9/11 Commission. He declared at a Washington news conference on Sept. 14, 2005, It is a scandal...that four years after 9/11 we have not yet set aside spectrum to ensure reliable communications during attacks or disasters. We cannot go through this again. If Congress does

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26 not act, people will die (Shiel ds, 2005). Senator John McCain agreed and asked, What level of crisis must we endure before we act (Shields, 2005)? Over-the-air Television Critical During Emergencies Broadcasters try not to publicly oppose the notion of turning spectrum over to first responders. However, they worry about losing a large chunk of their audience, the 21 million households who rely on over-the-air signals and would need addi tional equipment in order to receive digital signals. Many of these people are lower-income households. According to the United States General Accounting Office (2005), 48 percent of the households that relied on over-the-air signals had income s under $30,000. In addition, non-wh ite and Hispanic households were more likely to rely on over-t he-air television than were white and non-Hispanic households. This profile described many of the people stuc k in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. These residents, in a post-analog world, would not have been able to receive a television signal without additional equipment; and, therefore, would not have been informed as to the latest details on the hurricane. We make the point that broadcasters play a critical role in times of peril, said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters. Broadcasters are undoubt edly a lifeline servic e (Shields, 2005). In Free Over-The-Air Saves the Day Michael Silbergleid (2004) gives a personal account of the importance of having over-the-air televisi on. As he was riding out Hurricane Frances in Palm Beach County Florida, he switched to overthe-air television as both his cable and DirecTV service went out. He found out relevant info rmation about the storm and knew that his house would have to endure another seven hours of hu rricane-force winds. When the power went out, he switched to a battery-operated analog TV/radio for more over-the-air reception. Silbergleid

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27 makes the point that during weather emergencies, there is only one place where people can tune in to see Doppler radar and get th e latest information on a storm, free, over-the-air television. He continues by saying that free, overthe-air saves lives (Silbergleid, 2004). New Digital Technologies Enhance Consumer Safety Despite the debate ove r the transition from an alog to digital and its impact on consumer safety, several initiatives are in place to utilize digital signals to enhance consumer safety. New Jersey Network (NJN) and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM) have instituted a communications system that sends emergency messages at high speed to desktop personal computers. These messages are sent vi a NJN Public Televisions digital broadcast signal (DTV and Homeland, 2003). Furthermore, new digital technologies have led to the development of innovative devices that assist law enforcement and public safety o fficials in maintaining the security of their districts. New technology includes such devices as handheld police video gear that can capture, send, and receive images from a crime scene. Another new technology device is a car-mounted navigation unit that picks up traffic reports, receives street-by-st reet information, and calculates alternate routes for driv ers (Clark 2005). Purpose and Value of This Research The purpose of this research study is to see which factors are most significant in both driving b roadcast outlets to adopt the digital t echnologies of multicasting and ancillary services as well as the form that these services will take As television executives are confronted with many challenges and difficult decisions, these new technologies will allow for a flexibility and complexity previously unseen in the industry. Various market variables and stations in four

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28 markets will be analyzed and compared to see wh at differences exist and why. The rationale that station management is using to make certain adoption decisions will be assessed. Focus will be placed on the network-affiliate relationship as well as the broadcast ownership group-local station relationship. Will affiliates simply carry out the digital hopes of their networks and ownership groups or will they be more locally focu sed? What will the fact ors be that will direct their decisions? A comparison of market size will be looked at as well to see if market size has any bearing over whether a st ation will adopt local program ming or a digital network arrangement instead with respect to their multic ast channels. In addition to video streams, various other services, known as ancillary services, will be looked at as well such as datacasting (see Appendix A), subscription television, teletext and interactive services. The various forms of these services that managers choose will be exam ined in addition to the rationale that they will use to decide upon which services to pursue. Also, the impact of current FCC regulations regarding the carriage of multicast channels and ancillary services will be explored. How are stations combating these regulations and managi ng to receive voluntary cab le carriage of their digital streams? Because of the tremendous potential of digita l television and its cr itical impact on the broadcast industry, an overview and comparison of various stations adoption of digital services and will prove to be very valuable. This type of information will provide television executives with a roadmap as to what factors they n eed to assess before making their own adoption decisions. It is critical for station managers to utilize their digital bandwidth appropriately if they are to remain competitive. If, for instance, one station in a market successfully develops a local

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29 digital news channel and the othe r stations in the market simply allow this to happen without developing any digital services of their own, it is likely that these other stations would lose some of their audience to this new dig ital offering. In another scenario, say that a local station begins to offer data over the television. At several points throughout the day, people could view stock quotes or possibly retrieve a different camera angle during a spor ting event. These advantages would eventually begin to penetrate the market pr oviding this local station with increased market share and increased revenues. Conclusion Digital television technology has reached all se gm ents of our society. Although it began as an industrial goal, it now has finally achieved the momentum that industry pioneers dreamed of years ago. This research study will uncover the various factors stati ons are considering as part of their strategies to build audience share and ga in profit from these new capabilities. Before looking into the investigators research, a detailed lit erature review was conducted to understand all facets of this technological phenomenon.

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30 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The literature review begins w ith a look at the proposed fr am ework of new media adoption by media firms. This framework consists of eigh t sets of variables that have an impact on the adoption of new media technologies by media companies. The sets of variables are divided into three areas: core, supporting, and environmental. These drivers are introduced and applied to multicasting and ancillary services, the technologies which are the focus of this research study. Following this framework, the social movement th eory is discussed, a theory that helps to explain the adoption of digital television industry-wide. The re view of the social movement theory is followed by the results of a research study that looked into the differences which existed between television stations and their r eadiness to explore dig ital television. The study took into account a number of variables, includi ng market size, network affiliation, broadcast ownership group, and the role of the responde nt within his/her broadcast operation. Upon conclusion of the discussion of the study, a comprehensive overview of a series of FCC regulations related to digi tal television and the limitations to which broadcasters, cable providers, satellite companies, and other video su ppliers have and will have to adhere. This section closes with a brief discu ssion of retransmission consent. In the following section, the digital initiatives put forth by the major networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS are reviewed. This includes such exis ting digital channels as NBC Weather Plus as well as those yet to be developed, such as CBS 2. Also, the specialty digital-only networks, Qubo, LATV, Motor Trend TV, and Worl d Championship Sports Network.

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31 After discussing the digital networks, multicastin g, otherwise known as the SD business model, is focused on in addition to ancillary serv ices. This overview begins with the model of program choice, which predicts that the diversity of programs offered to viewers should increase as the number of channels increases. Following discussion of the model of program choice, the effects of the multicast model on th e business of television advertis ing, the advantages that such a technology bring to table for broadcasters, an d various uses of multicasting, including several revolutionary ones, are detailed. Also, several be nefits to advertisers th rough the use of the SD business model are discussed. In addition to the advantages of multicasting, the challenges that this new technology presents are also review ed, including the complexities involved in automating multiple broadcast channels. Follow ing a thorough review of the multicast business model, ancillary services are highlighted. Some focus is placed on the utility of the technology in the future. The next section of this chapte r investigates the actions of tw o pioneers of the digital age, WRAL TV and KUSA TV. First, the successful strategies of WRAL both in utilizing multicasting and ancillary services to build station revenue are assessed. Second, the production and broadcast of local HD programming at KUSA and the advantages and challenges resulting from this technology are discussed. After the focus on WRAL and KUSA has been co mpleted, the researcher investigates the battle that cable is in with dire ct broadcast satellite (DBS) for subs cribers. Focus is placed on the advantage that cable has in its better capability of carrying HD in addition to the SD signals of broadcasters.

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32 In the final section of Chapter 2, the research er looks at USDTV, the low-cost wireless alternative to cable that is now out of business. The details of th e service are highlighted as well the challenges it faced in trying to gain market share. Proposed Framework of New Media Adoption by Media Firms In looking at the adoptio n of mu lticasting and ancillary services by television stations, it is critical to begin by detailing a framework designed to understand the various factors that interact to determine the likelihood of adoption as well as the form the adoption will take. As seen in Figure 2-1, there are eight sets of factors that affect this adoption. They are as follows: firm and media technology characteristics, strategic netw orks, perceived strategic value, available alternatives, market conditions, competition, and regulation/policy. These eight sets are split into three larger groupings: core (firm and media technology characteristics) supporting (perceived overall strategic value, alternatives availabl e, and strategic networks/partnerships), and environmental (market conditions, competition, and regulation/policy) (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). These three groupings and their associated sets will serve as the theoretical backbone of this study. Core Factors Firm and media technology characteristics ma ke up the two sets of core media firm adoption variables. Firm characteristics The characteristics of a firm have a strong impact on the adop tion strategies of new media technologies. There are seven firm characteristics that come into play. They are as follows:

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33 Core Supporting Environmental Figure 2-1. Toward a theory of media firm innovation development and adoption. Source: Chan-Olmsted, 2006, pg. 261, Fig. 12.2. Media Technology Characteristics Compatibility to adopted media technologies Complementarities to adopted media technologies Functional similarity to existing new media holdings Newness to firms and to consumers Utility observability to firms and to consumers Efficiency offered Content distribution or enhancement utility Lock-in potential Need for network externalities Technolo gy Cost Firm Characteristics Organizational strategic traits Prospector Analyzer Defender Reactor Entrepreneurship Pro-activeness Autonomy Innovativeness Risk-taking propensity Competitive aggressiveness Competitive Repertoire Range Concentration Dominance Current new media holdings Historical performance Size Perceived Strategic Value Market segmentation, low cost, or differentiation Cost cuts, revenue increase, or s y ner g istic value Market Conditions Growth Diversity Uncertainty (User adoption of the technology) Managerial Knowledge/ Incentives Media Technology Adoption Whether to adopt -Timing of adoption -Intensity of adoption -Compatible adoption -Complementary adoption -Reinventing adoption Competition Reference point Regulation/ Policy Strategic Networks/Partnerships

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34 organizational strategic traits, degree of entrep reneurship, competitive repertoires, current new media holdings, historical performance, firm size, and firm age. The organizational strategic traits can be di vided into four groups: prospector, analyzer, defender, and reactor (Miles & Snow, 1978). Prospectors constantly look for new market opportunities and are typically the first to offer a particular product to a market. Defenders focus their attention on dominating a pa rticular market segment and te nd to have a stable customer base. Analyzers occupy a positi on that falls in between prosp ectors and defenders as they carefully monitor the prospectors while safeguard ing a stable customer base. Reactors have a short-term focus and act in response to actions taken by their competito rs (Zahra & Pearce, 1990). The likelihood of a firm acting in an entrep reneurial way is the next factor to be considered. This likelihood is based on a variety of characteristics which may include, proactiveness, risk-taking propensity, innovativeness, autonomy, and competitive aggressiveness. When considering these charact eristics, it is paramount that a media firm determine whether it has a core content or a dist ribution product. For a firm focused on core content, creativity and innovativenes s might be the best measures of entrepreneurship. To the contrary, a firm focused on a di stribution product might look at the likelihood of the company taking a risk as the best measure of its en trepreneurial spirit (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). Competitive repertoires are a combination of mark et decisions within a given year to grow and maintain a customer base. They can be evaluated across three dimensions, range, concentration, and dominance. Range refers to the selection of market actions undertaken by a firm whereas concentration refers to the degree to which repertoires tend to be focused on a few

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35 main types of actions. Dominance indicates th e level to which a firm depends on its most common type of market acti on (Miller & Chen, 1996). A media firms current new me dia holdings might also serve as an indicator of the likelihood of a firm adopting additional new media technology. The firm might acquire experience that will help in its future adoption decision-making process. Historical performance could come into play as it serves as an indica tion of the resources a firm has for releasing a new media technology. This factor also empha sizes potential areas which need attention. Firm size, according to Christensen and Bowe r (1996), is sometimes a liability when it comes to innovation adoption. Larger firms tend to focus on providing products to their existing customer base rather than looking to reach ne w customers with new products. The newer the product the more likely it will be br ought to market by new entrants. Firm age might be a limiting factor in the flexib ility of a firm to adjust its strategy and in its likelihood to take risks. It also can be a pos itive factor in that it e quates to more established resources and experience (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). These various firm characteristics describe th e affiliations and ownership groups to which broadcast stations belong. Th e organizational strategic traits degree of entrepreneurship, competitive repertoire, current media holdings, historical performance, size, and age are all relevant factors that collectively describe a particular affiliation or ownership group. Media technology characteristics In addition to the characteristic s of media firm s, the nature of a new media technology is also important. The characteristics of a new me dia technology influence the propensity of a media firm adopting one of the new technologies The first three factors are compatibility, complementarities, and functional similarity to the current media products that the firm offers.

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36 The value that a new media technology may have to a firm can be first demonstrated by the level of disruption that the new technol ogy causes as it is integrated into the existing organization. The level of compatibility of the new media tech nology to the existing product line offered by a firm is one consideration. The second factor, complementarities, refers to cases in which a bundle of goods provides more value than c onsuming goods separately (Brandenburger & Nalebuff, 1996). The degree of complementarity provides a look into how the technology might add value to an organization. In the case of multicasting, the addi tional digital streams translate into added value to a broadcast outlet in that the additional channels mean a larger variety of content available for viewers. The additional content should translate into an increase in advertising revenue. The third f actor, functional similarity, illust rates the new products level of substitutability from the standpoint of cons umers. Specifically, how a new technology is perceived by consumers as being able to satisfy needs similar to those currently being fulfilled by an existing technology (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). A technology innovation can also be analyzed by examining it s degree of newness to the market, firm, or a combination of the two. Th e newer the technology the greater the uncertainty and the more apprehensive a firm will be to invest in the technology. Booz, Allen, & Hamilton (1982) suggested six levels of product innovativeness: cost reduction, repositionings, improvements in existing products, additions to existing product lines, new product lines, and new-to-the-world products. Cost reduction refers to new products that provide similar performance at a lower cost. Repositionings are new products targeted at new markets or new market segments. Improvements in existing products refers to new products that provide better performance or enhanced perceived value such as digital cable. Add itions to existing product lines are new products that supplement a firms es tablished product lines such as a broadcasters

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37 streaming news online. New product lines refer to new products that allow a firm to penetrate an established market for the first time such as the adoption of satellite radi o by Sirius. New-to-theworld products are new products that create a completely new mark et such as the introduction of dial-up Internet servic es (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). In addition, an innovation can be characterized by its effect on established consumer consumption behavior (Robertson, 1967). There are three classi fication types of innovations: a continuous innovation, a dynamically continuous i nnovation, and a discontinuous innovation. A continuous innovation is one with characteristics that generate little disruption in consumers consumption behaviors. A dynamically continuous innovation is one that creates some disruption although it does not alter the consum ption pattern. A discontinuous innovation, on the other hand, is a new product that obligates a c onsumer to establish new consumption behaviors (Robertson, 1967). A media firms adoption decision is likely to be affected by the supposed utility and efficiency shown by the technology. The utility of moving to digital television might not be as apparent when contrasted with the utility of taking on a new technology that results in new sales revenues (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). It has been stated by many that content plays an important role in a media market (Owen & Wildman, 1992). It is probable that a new media technology, whic h in some way advances the delivery of a content product or improves the a llure of a content produc t, will increase its likelihood of being adopted (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). Lock-in pertains to the capacity of a serv ice to develop powerful incentives for repeat transactions, thus preventing the migration of customers to competitors (Amit & Zott, 2001). For instance, a new media technology that re quires more upfront equipment investment by a

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38 consumer is likely to achieve higher probability of lock-in. In addition, network externalities are defined as a change in the benefit or consumer surplus that consumers derive from a product when more consumers purchase the product (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). The technology cost factor definitely affects a media firms decision whether to adopt or not adopt a new technology. As a result of the uncertainty of a new technology, even media firms with plentiful resources might choose not to adopt a particular innova tion if it is too costly (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). Supporting Factors Perceiv ed overall strategic value, manageri al knowledge of and incentives to seek alternatives, and strategic networ ks/partnerships comprise the three sets of supporting media firm adoption variables. As far as strategic networks /partnerships are concerned, it is proposed that the broadcaster-cable provider rela tionship will serve as one of th e most influential variables of all those listed in the media adoption framework. The fact that cable is the multichannel video program distributor (MVPD) through which the majority of U.S. households receive their programming make this relati onship especially significant. Strategic networks Strategic networks are essential because they can supply a firm with access to information, resources, markets, technologies credibility, and legitimacy (C ooper, 2001; Gulati, et al., 2000). This is especially critical for new media fi rms that possess new technologies and attempt to commercialize them. Established media corp orations might benef it through access to technologies and learning/sharing of information. Alliances or strategic networks are particularly important for smaller innovative fi rms because such partnerships offer access to financial/marketing resources and scale/ scope economies (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).

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39 Perceived strategic value The value of a new m edia technology can be evaluated by anal yzing its perceived contribution to a firms overall strategic posture. Porter (1980) suggested that there are three major strategic approaches: market segmenta tion, low cost, and differentiation. Certain technologies might provide more utility in ac complishing that objective than others depending upon the firms current strategic goals (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). Managerial knowledge of and ince ntives to seek alternativ es Innovation adoption might be affected by a mana gers knowledge of alternatives from his or her previous experience or thr ough an investigation of his or her competitors. Internally, past performance, breadth of managerial experience, and firm age/size are expected to effect managerial incentives and knowledge. Externally, market diversity, growth, and uncertainty can feasibly influence the incentives and knowledge affiliated with various innovation options (Miller & Chen, 1996). Environmental Factors Chan-Olm sted (2006) in her proposed framewor k of new media adoption, discusses market conditions, competition, and regulat ion/policy as the three sets of environmental media firm adoption variables. Environmenta l variables such as market gr owth, diversity, and uncertainty make up the condition of the market and affect a firms needs to adopt a new media technology. The degree to which a new technology is adopted has a profound impact on the overall condition of that market. In the case of digital television, it is proposed that market size is a powerful factor included as part of the market conditions set. In examining the variable of competition, Goel and Rich (1997) analyzed th e incentives for private firms to adopt new technologies. They found that companies facing increased product market competition have a greater likelihood of adopting technological innovations. In general, th e research literature suggests that a positive

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40 relationship exists between innovativeness and both market turbulence/uncertainty and competition. In the case of the adoption of multi casting and ancillary services, it is proposed that there are three major types of competition: broa dcaster to broadcaster, broadcaster to cable operator, and cable operator to cable operator. New Media Technology Adoption The first level of an adoption decision is whether to adopt a new m edia technology. Researchers have argued that the innovation adoption rate cannot be fully described by examining the relationship between the decision to adopt and a series of internal factors, the timing and intensity of adoption must al so be considered (Dong & Saha, 1998). The timing of an adoption is many times a stra tegy of holding back until more information is available. The value of waiting might be relative to the probable expenses associated with reversing the decision, fixed costs of adoption, a nd the likelihood that the new technology will be unprofitable (Dong & Saha, 1998). Another factor that needs consideration is th e intensity of the adoption. The adoption of new media technology at the firm level ranges from compatible, complementary, phasing, and reinventing adoption. A firm may adopt a new technology using one or more of these approaches or it could experience all four of these phases progre ssively. A compatible adoption would probably require the slight est amount of firm competency and entrepreneurial quality and take less time to adopt because the focus would be on making the new media technology conform to the existing product and operating sy stems. A complementary adoption requires more competency, entrepreneurial quality, and tim e than a compatible adoption. This type of adoption focuses on the existing product, but it equates to a more proactive use of the new technologys benefits. A phasing adoption take s place when a firm elects to invest and commercialize a new media technology over time, but carefully phases out an existing platform.

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41 This decision takes even more competency, entrepreneurial quality, and time. Lastly, reinvention adoption pertains to revising or using a technology for new intentions for which it was not initially designed. This type of adop tion decision requires th e greatest level of competency, entrepreneurial quality, a nd time (Chan-Olmsted, 2006). Social Movement Theory Now that the fram ework for new media adoptio n has been discussed, this section focuses on a theory of the social influence of outside en tities on the development of digital television. In social movement theory, change in institutions such as technological standards, are brought about by individuals and organiza tions. It is not the innovation alone that determines the evolution of an industry, but the individuals and their actions be hind the innovation that make the difference. Social movement theory hinges on collective action, the banding together of individuals or organizations to bring about change in an in stitution (Dowell, Swaminathan, & Wade, 2002). Dowell, Swaminathan, and Wade (2002) used social movement theory as a template from which to view the actions firms take to activate resources and generate support from important players, such as suppliers, customers, and regul atory agencies. It is the creation of a new organizational form comprised of all of these co nstituents that signifies the social movement process. Collective action is often necessary to take adva ntage of the opportunities made possible by new technologies. Collective action frames are combinations of uni fied beliefs that substantiate the presence of social movements. Frames are the result of strategic efforts by various groups to design common perceptions of the world that legitim ate and motivate collective action (Dowell, Swaminathan, & Wade, 2002). In th e case of digital tele vision, broadcasters used their fight with land mobile companies as the basis of their first framing attempt. Broadcasters claimed that

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42 television as a medium would be compromised if spectrum were given to the land mobile companies, a frame that was not considered legitimate and, therefore, failed. However, in the second framing attempt, broadcasters were much more successful. They focused their attention on Japan and its NHK system as a major threat to the United States and its economy. By focusing on the foreign threat and cr eating a sense of urgency, broad casters were able to generate collective action and bring together the FCC, Co ngress, and electronics manufacturers in an effort to protect the spectrum used by broadcasters (Dowell, Swaminathan & Wade, 2002). After the Grand Alliance was formed and the organization began making progress on an HDTV standard, two obstacles emerged. The first challenge came from the computer industry as digital broadcasts clouded the disp arity between computers and tele visions. The second obstacle resulted from various broadcasters and their differe nt views as to the best use of digital television technology. Broadcasters began to fight over whether HDTV or digita l television, in the form of multicasting and/or ancillary services, was the better standard to pursue. These two challenges illustrate how difficult it is to maintain coll ective action as open system technologies, like HDTV, evolve (Dowell, Swaminathan & Wade, 2002). According to Tushman and Rosenkopf (1992), so ciopolitical processes have more impact during times of change when ma ny potential technological options exist, especially in the development of open system technologies (as cited in Dowell, Swaminathan & Wade, 2002). The focus on an external threat and the iden tification of new market opportunities encourage industry players to react in a collective manner. Various standards designed by industry partners and regulatory entities are then used to select one technological option. This initial alternative may evolve to become a hybrid of technologies from two different industries, resulting in the immersion of companies from other industries pr oposing new technical crite ria into the selection

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43 process. Subsequently, new alternative uses fo r the technology may be discovered, resulting in a dissolution of the initial collective action frame (Dowell, Swaminathan & Wade, 2002). Broadcasters and Their Entr y into the Digital Age Broadcasters are facing a challenging time that is fraught with opportunity. One of the biggest challenges for broadcaste rs is learning how to exploit the new capabilities of digital television without investing an exce ssive amount of time or money. To look into the readiness of br oadcasters to enter the digita l age, Jeffrey Oberg (2000), a researcher at the University of Tennessee, c onducted surveys with tele vision station managers and engineers. The mail survey, which was conducted between April 2, 1999 and June 1, 1999, targeted general managers at affiliates of th e four major networks. The findings of the study indicated a shift between how broadcasters define d themselves then and how they would in the future. At the time of the survey, only 6.9 per cent of station executives defined themselves currently as information providers whereas, in th e future, 33.5 percent of the respondents would classify themselves as information providers. Furthermore, the respondents who classified themselves as information providers were mo re interested in provi ding digital services, particularly data enhancement, pager service, and inter active television. In looking into planning for digital broadcas ting, television stations in the top-30 markets were found to be further along. This was the case both in their planni ng to purchase digital equipment as well as their plan to be more enme shed in digital technol ogy within two years of commencing digital broadcasting. In addition, the stations that produced 20.5 hours or more of local programming were more likely to be furthe r along in the planning process. However, the majority of respondents to the survey were only considering the purchase of a digital transmitter when asked about overall planning for digital broadcasting (Oberg, 2000).

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44 The planning for digital broadcasting is main ly conducted at the local level. For both digital equipment purchasing and digital program ming, most television ex ecutives stated that decision making was split evenly between corpor ate and local. However, for both programming and equipment purchasing, more re spondents indicated decisions were either totally local or mostly local/some corporate than respondents who indicated they were t otally corporate or mostly corporate/some local (Oberg, 2000). There were also differences apparent between general managers and engineers in their perceptions of planning for digita l broadcasting. Engineers felt that their respective stations were further along in planning than did general ma nagers. While no differences were apparent between general managers and engineers in the area of digital purchasing, e ngineers felt that they were further ahead in planning for digital programming than general managers (Oberg, 2000). In addition, stations with certain network aff iliations felt that they were further along in planning for digital programming than stations of ot her affiliations. CBS affiliates believed to be further along in planning for digital programming than were affiliates of ABC, NBC, and Fox (Oberg, 2000). In summary, the study shows that differences are apparent in the lengths to which television stations will go to capitalize on the di gital revolution. Differences are seen when both market size and a managers classification (bro adcaster or informati on provider) of his/her station are considered. The st udy concludes by stating that the amount of future information providers will grow as digital technology becomes increasingly widespread (Oberg, 2000). Regulation/Federal Communications Commission Rulings As the regulation of the industr y has a critical impact upon th e digital business m odel that stations will incorporate into their existing business operations, so me attention needs to be given to regulation of the industry. Th is section discusses a variety of FCC rulings that have a direct

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45 effect on broadcasters adoption of new digital technologies, such as multicasting and ancillary services. Three Key Recommendations of the U.S. General Accounting Office In a November 2002 report, released by the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), three key recom mendations were discusse d that the FCC or Congress could put into action that would help facilita te the success of the DTV trans ition. The first action, which was briefly discussed in Chapter 1, was to explore options to raise aw areness about the DTV transition and the implications this increased aw areness will have. These steps will lead to a more rapid adoption of DTV equipment and will help to inform the public about the impact it will feel when the switch over from analog to digital is made. The second action was to instruct the relevant FCC bureaus and offices to examine the costs and benefits of the existing mandate for a digital over-the-air tuner in addition to the costs and benef its of mandating that all new televisions be digital cable-ready. The thir d recommended action called for the FCCs Media Bureau to examine the advantages and disadvantages of a policy that would set an exact date for cable carriage to switch from full carriage of analog signals to full carriage of digital signals (United States General Accounting Office, 2002). The war over the airwaves has continued to rage on because, generations ago, the government handed out valuable fr equencies to broadcasters for free and other industries have been unable to purchase these frequencies. In 2001, the airwaves used by television broadcasters were appraised by Wall Street at $367 billion. However, as an economic asset, they are practically worthless to broadcas ters as more than 85 percent of Americans with televisions now pay to watch cable or satellite transmissions a nd do not rely on over-the-a ir broadcasts (Clark, 2005).

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46 Mandate for all TV sets to be digital overthe-air compatible a nd digital cable-ready The second action-item mentioned, the mandate fo r all televisions to be digital over-the-air compatible and digital cable-ready, had been unde r intense discussion earlier in the decade. On August 8, 2002, the FCC adopted a plan that required over-the-air digital te levision (DTV) tuners on nearly all new TV sets by 2007. The FCCs plan, known as the Second Report and Order and Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, was to minimize the costs for equipment manufacturers and consumers by st arting a five-year rollout schedule starting with larger, more expensive sets. By July 1, 2007, all television receiv ers with screen sizes greater than 13 inches and all television receiving equipment, such as DVD players/recorders a nd VCRs, were required to include DTV reception capability. The FCC said that its jurisdiction was established by the 1962 All Channel Receiver Act (ACRA). ACRA states that the FCC has the authority to require that television sets be capable of ade quately receiving all frequencies allocated by the FCC for television broadcasting (Federal Communications Commission, 2002). On September 10, 2003, the FCC adopted rule s for digital plug and play cable compatibility. In a plug and play world, cons umers can plug their cable directly into their digital TV set without the need of a set-top box. The FCC stated that the rules would ease the transition to digital TV by promoting convenien ce, competition, and simplicity for consumers. The rules will permit TV sets to be built with plug and play functionality for one-way digital cable services, which include standard cable programming services and premium channels like HBO and Showtime. Consumers will need to obta in a security card, called a POD or cable card, from their local cable operator, to be inserted into the TV set. However, consumers will still need a set-top box in order to receive two-way services such as payper-view, electronic programming guides, and video-on-demand (Federal Communications Commission, 2003).

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47 Certain date for cable carriage to sw itch from analog to digital The third recommendation called for a certain date as to when the cable companies will be required to switch over from full carriage of analog signals to full carriage of digital signals in their respective markets. In September 2005, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Eddie Fritts announced during Senate hearings that the asso ciation endorsed a hard date in 2009 for the switch from analog to digital. In addition, the NAB agreed to drop the 85 percent penetration rule leading to a tu rn off of analog TV in 2009 (Ostroff, 2005). The turning off of the analog signals would leave many Ameri can households with nothing but a blank TV screen. In fact, the Govern ment Accountability Office (GAO), as mentioned previously, estimated that 21 million US households, or 19 percent, rely on free broadcast TV. This equates to some 73 million analog-only sets that will not be able to get DTV signals overthe-air after the transi tion without digital-to -analog converters (Hal onen, 2005a). Consumer groups released a study in September 2005 that said that 39 percent of households have at least one TV that would go dark afte r the transition (Schatz, 2005). Date set for analog switch off. On February 8, 2006, President Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which includes legislation st ating that all TV broa dcasters must switch off their analog broadcasts on February 17, 2009. The Act calls for $1.5 billion to be used for a subsidy for new DTV converter boxes. The co nverter box would allow televisions without a DTV tuner to receive the new digital broadcasts Fortunately, the 2009 deadline will not affect the vast majority of Americans who rely on cabl e or satellite delivery (Katzmaier, 2006). In addition, the final bill set aside $1 billion for upgrading emergency communications equipment. This was further encouraged by the communications problems experienced during Hurricane Katrina (Broache, 2006).

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48 The Senates passage of the spending bill, ends a longtime debate and represents a compromise with the U.S. House of Representa tives. Earlier versi ons by both the House and Senate each varied in both implementation date and subsidy amounts. The conversion date for analog to digital was to be April 7, 2009, for the Senate, and January 1, 2009, for the House (Broache, 2006). The more significant differen ce between the two bills was the amount of subsidy for the digital-to-analog converter box. The bipartisan Sena te bill set aside $3 billion for a $40 subsidy to cover two-thirds of the predic ted $60 price of the box. The House bill offered only $990 million for that same $40 coupon (DTV Difference, 2005). There were differences along pa rty lines in coming up with a workable transition bill. Republicans were pushing for a more limited subsidy, while Democrats were calling for a subsidy that would cover everyone In looking at the Senate b ill, Democrats wanted a subsidy boosted from $990 million to $3.5-$4 billion so that it would cover the entire $60 of the cost of the box. The bill covers $40 and also caps the s ubsidy at the first 10.3 million households that apply, with a limit of two coupons per household. Also, Democrats wanted to send coupons to everyone whereas Republicans want ed a several-step process for those who take the necessary action of asking the government for the boxes (DTV Difference, 2005). In return for accepting a hard date, broadcasters pushed for a stipulation forcing cable TV operators to carry their multicast digital signals. Sections of th e bill set aside 24 megahertz of spectrum for first responders and other public safe ty uses and instructed to the FCC to auction off another 60 megahertz of spectrum. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the spectrum auction to raise $10 billion, whereas technology companies estimate up to $28 billion from the auction. A fund would be created from the auc tion revenues that would allow the Commerce secretary to make payments fo r the converter box subsidy (Clark, 2005).

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49 Debate Over Dual Carriage by Cable Systems Another ongoing fight has been over the issue of d ual carriage by cable systems. Broadcasters insist that cable operators must ca rry both digital and analog signals until the DTV switch is completed. Broadcaste rs feel that by cable systems carrying both signals, a larger number of viewers would buy digital sets now an d viewers who cannot afford or do not yet want to buy a digital set will not feel deprived. On the other hand, cable operators say carrying both an analog and a digital signal would be a waste of their channel capacity. Rather than carry two signals for every station in town, cable compan ies would prefer to on ly carry the top-rated stations in a market. According to Kyle Mc Slarrow, president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), dual carriage would impose an untenable burden on cable operators and programmers (McConnell, 2005). On February 10, 2005, the FCC, in its S econd Report and Order and First Order on Reconsideration (CS Docket No. 98-120), resolved two im portant issues related to digital cable carriage to the benefit of the NCTA. The Orde r confirmed the Commissi ons prior decision that cable operators are not required to carry more th an a single digital prog ramming stream, referred to as primary video, from any particular broadcaster. It also assured the tentative conclusion not to impose a dual carriage obligation on cable operators (Federal Communications Commission, 2005). Broadcasters and Cable Industry Square Off on Issue of Multicasting There is an equal am ount of turmoil involve d in the ongoing debate between broadcasters and the cable industry when it comes to multicasting. Broadcasters viewpoint Broadcasters claim that a regulatory change is needed so that cable companies would have to carry all the multicast channels from each broad caster in a market. According to broadcasters,

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50 requiring that cable companies carry all these mu lticast channels is necessary to energize the industry to make the high-priced switch to DTV. They also say that the expanded carriage would serve the interest of consumers by stimulating the in flux of new sources of free TV programming. Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters said, It would benefit consumers because there woul d be more competition to cable from free overthe-air channels(Halonen, 2003). In filings to the Commission in January 2004, the networks and their affiliates hammered home their case. They stated that these oppor tunities for additional services cannot succeed unless cable passes them along to their subscribers. Without that, broadcasters will withhold or withdraw the necessary investment because cable operators occupy a bottleneck position and can snuff out the bright promise of multicasting (Hickey, 2004). The NAB also referred to a survey of 450 stations conducted in July 2005 wh ich found that nearly 80 percent of local TV stations are unlikely to multicast wi thout assurances of cable carriag e. This is also about more competition to cable, said NAB president Eddie Fr itts. Thats why the cable gatekeepers will fight it so fiercely. They dont like competition (Grebb, 2005). In late August 2005, the NAB, in an effort to validate their stance, detailed a study praising the alleged benefits of distributing digital multiple broadcast streams to consumers and local markets. The study found that multicasting would bring about more niche content for specific demographic groups, more regional news, and more in-depth news and information programs. Other benefits cited include added channel options for local advertisers allowing them to more efficiently reach a wider arrangement of demographic groups (Grebb, 2005). The NAB claims that major efforts have been made to produce new and valuable content to be aired on multicast channels. According to Dennis Wharton, an NAB vice president, We

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51 think, as an industry, that there will be an ab solute explosion in all types of programming, including public-inter est programming, if digital must-carry is adopted by the FCC. He went on to remark that many broadcasters would be in favor of using their multicast spectrum for city council meetings, political debates, and mayoral elections. He al so maintained, If the FCC is truly interested in the public interest, broad casters will win this one on the merits (Hickey, 2004). In early September 2005, about 100 TV station executives met in Washington D.C. to persuade lawmakers to support a multicast mustcarry provision. In addition, the NAB sent a video e-mail to congressional offices arguing that cables opposition to a multicast-carriage requirement is anticompetitive. The giant ca ble companies want you to see only what they own or produce themselves. Congress needs to prot ect consumers and give them the freedom of choice they demand and deserve, th e video said (Halonen, 2005b). The NAB has found specific cases in which th e cable industry has d eclined the carriage of quality multicast channels developed by the major networks. ABCs efforts to launch ABC News Now, a 24/7 multicast news channel, with its affiliates was stonewalled by a lack of cable carriage assurances early in 2005. It has since been refocused as a pay service for cable, telephone, and broadband platforms. In addi tion, industry sources said that smaller NBC affiliates are finding it difficult to persuade cable operators to carry NBC Weather Plus, a multicast channel that NBC and its affiliates launched in November 2004 (Halonen, 2005a). Cable operators stance Needless to say, the National Cable & Tel ecom munications Association (NCTA) sees things differently. The organization feels th at the government should not go around telling a

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52 major media industry what it can and cannot put on its wires into the 70 percent of U.S. homes that pay for cable service. They assert that th is infringes on their First Amendment rights. Dan Brenner, counsel for the NCTA, stated, Air gr eat channels and systems will voluntarily carry them (Davidson, 2004). Brian Dietz (2003), a spokesman for the NCTA had this to say, We believe all programmers, whether cable or broa dcast, should compete on the merits of their content, and cable networks should not be hamstrung by an unfair government mandate that would give broadcast networks guaranteed carriage (as cited in Davidson, 2004). To prove that the cable industry is willing to carry multicast channels in the absence of a multicast mandate, the NCTA stated in a letter to the FCC that cable was carrying 504 local digital TV stations on a voluntary basis. These stations were said to be providing HDTV and other compelling digital content to consumers liv ing in big and small markets (Hearn, 2005). In addition, the cable industry has come to an agre ement on a national level with PBS affiliates to carry all of their multicast channels (Davidson, 2004). Senior VP of Law and Regulatory Policy at the NCTA, Daniel Brenner, stated that vol untary carriage by cable operators reflects real market demand, not government-mandated forced carriag e. He also said th at it demonstrates the ability of broadcasters with alluring content to be carried on cable systems (Hearn, 2005). In addition to the NCTAs stance on the ri ght of the cable industry to carry the programming it chooses, the organization feels th at mandated multicasting w ill harm diversity in programming and will do nothing to speed the tran sition from analog to digital (Grebb, 2005). In fact, a multicast-carriage rule could lead to cable TV industry lawsuits that would cost the federal government billions of dollars according to Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the NCTA. He said that such a rule could open the federal government to financial liability because it could be interpreted as a taking of cable TV property rights under the Fifth Amendment, which

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53 prohibits the seizure of propert y without just compensation. In addition, the NCTA released a study that put a value of $4.2 billion to $115.6 bi llion on the bandwidth cable operators would lose if multicast carriage were to be mandated by the government (Halonen, 2005b). A multicast carriage mandate would have a pow erful effect on the cable industry. The cable industry has been fighting such a regulation si nce nearly the birth of digital broadcasting in the United States. In one of his first exchange s with the FCC on digital must-carry, back in October 1998, Braverman, a senior litigator and partner in the Wa shington, D.C.-based law firm Cole, Raywid & Braverman, argued that the E.W. Scripps networks, Home & Garden Television and Television Food Network, faced certain doom should a digital must-carry requirement be adopted by the Commission. Such a regime would [see] new cable networks...displaced by redundant digital signals of broadcast networks Braverman wrote, adding that such an eventuality ran counter to the FCCs mandate that cable communications provide...the widest possible diversity of information sources and services to the publi c (Crupi, 2005). Braverman has stated that the cable networks have proven their value by providing quality, original programming. As an example, Brav erman points out that in 2002, The Food Network had committed to running a programming lineup comprised of 95 percent original fare, or 2,000 hours, and in the process, introduced the country to the likes of Emeril Lagasse and Britains Two Fat Ladies. In his terms, this is in star k contrast to the homogeneity of the broadcast networks (Crupi, 2005). Outdoor Life Network (OLN) senior VP of affiliate sales Becky Ruthven agrees with Braverman and mentions that the cable industry and broadcasters alike are competing for limited spectrum. Broadcasters have unfavorable positioning, and thats unfair to our industry, she says (Crupi, 2005). Many estab lished cable networks are concerned that if the FCC mandates

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54 cable carriage of all of a broadcasters multicas t channels, then these established networks will be pushed to digital tiers and will, therefore, reach a much smaller audience base. As a defensive measure, according to Ruthven, OLN is desperatel y trying to lock up contract provisions that ensure the widest carriag e possible (Crupi, 2005). Broadcasters Denied Carriage of Multicast C hannels The February 10, 2005 decision by the FCC to, fo r the second time, deny broadcasters the ability to have all of their multicast offerings carried by th e cable industry was a difficult decision for the commissioners. Former chairman Michael Powell mentioned in a press statement that while the multicast channels do afford broadcasters expanded business opportunities, the must-carry statute limits carriage to one channel. He stated that broadcasters will continue to have the ability to commercially negotiate carriage of other channels as public broadcasters have recently done and as other cable programmers must do (Powell, 2005). Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy also voted to deny broadcas ters a multicast must-carry mandate. She stated in a press statement that for her to support a mandate the Commission would have to present substantial evidence in support of a finding that multicasting is necessary to prevent a substant ial number of broadcast statio ns from experiencing serious financial hardship. She continued by saying that the record does not s upport such a conclusion (Abernathy, 2005). Commissioner Kevin Martin, who has since beco me the FCC Chairman, voted in favor of a multicast mandate and felt that the advantag e of free programming to the public outweighed the burden on cable companies. The decision, acco rding to Martin, will have the most adverse impact on small, religious, family-friendly, i ndependent, and minority broadcasters (Martin, 2005).

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55 Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonath an Adelstein would support multicast mustcarry if it is affiliated with strong public-interest obligations for DTV stations. The public interest, which is central to our democracy, m eans providing local civic and electoral discourse over the public airwaves. Copps and Adelstein felt that broadcasters were reluctant to discuss these obligations and; therefore, they refused to vote in favor of a multicast mandate. Adelstein stated that an exclusive federal license to use the public airwaves ought to carry a higher level of civic responsibility and accountabi lity (Copps & Adelstein, 2005). Lack of Public Interest Programming There has been a substan tial l ack of public interest progr amming being broadcast in the United States. Data from the L ear Centers Oct. 21, 2004 interim report show that coverage at the local levels of elections as well as coverage of civic issues is dow n. Coverage of local television newscasts was at an average of 2.4 minutes of election foot age per half-hour of evening news in the weeks leading up to the November 2004 election. Fewer than 1/3 of the coverage actually focused on campaign issues. Al so, nearly 8 out of 10 of the campaign stories focused on the presidential and vice presidential races as opposed to other races, including local races (Tristani, 2004). Another study, conducte d by the Alliance for Better Campaigns in 2003, found that community public affairs programming accounts for less than of 1 percent of local TV programming nationwide. This compares to 14.4 percent for paid programming (Adelstein, 2005). Coalition of Consumer Activists Enter Debate In the deb ate over whether a multicast must-carry mandate is constitutional, a third party has entered the ring, a coalition of consumer activists. Their plea is to not give broadcasters automatic access to cable without a payback to th e public, a quid pro quo th at they will deliver verifiable and quantifiable amount s of public-interest programming in return. The concern of

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56 this and other activist groups is that broadcas ters will conveniently forget about their public interest promises once they gain access to these cable homes. According to Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Democratic Media, They promise a lot but they have a terrible record of keeping promis es (Hickey, 2004). J.H. Snider, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation Spectrum Policy Program, had favored either new and verifiable public-interest obligations or a 5 percent spectrum fee on broad casters gross revenue, with the money going to the funding of pub lic-interest programs to help low-income people buy digital converter boxes (Hickey, 2004). In response to these ideas, an anonymous senior broadcast official sai d, There are serious First Amendment implications if the FCC specifica lly writes into the rules types and percentages of programming that we have to create. In addition, he noted that ironically, local cable companies also will immerse themselves in th e First Amendment if the Commission tries to force them to carry the new cha nnels on their wires (Hickey, 2004). Retransmission Consent and the 1992 Cable Act The 1992 Cable Act, which am ended the Communi cations Act of 1934, laid out the initial rules concerning the obligations that cable comp anies have to broadcas ters in carrying their signals. The Cable Act precludes cable operators and other MVPDs from retransmitting television and radio broadcast signa ls without first obtaining the br oadcasters consent, what is known as retransmission consent (Brown & Chan-Olmsted, 2004). Retransmission consent allows commercial broadcasters and cable compan ies to work together to negotiate a carriage agreement based on market and business factors. Broadcasters with a lot of leverage, such as network-affiliated stations, are in a good position to ne gotiate retransmission agreements and, as part of the agreement, receive compensation. On the other hand, if a commercial television

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57 station does not believe it has enough clout to receive compensation, it would elect the mustcarry option (Brown & Chan-Olmsted, 2004). Retransmission consent is a key bargaining tool a television station ha s in securing carriage for its digital signal. A commercial station is permitted to tie a retransmission consent agreement for its analog signal to that of its digital signal. As this may potentially involve the carrying of four SD streams or one HD stream and two SD streams, many cable operators are not likely to carry every digital stream from each local broadcaster. The innovativeness and negotiation skills of the broadcaster will determine the ability of the broadcaster to receive must-carry of its multicast channels (Brown & Chan-Olmsted, 2004). Major Network Digital Initiatives The m ajor broadcast networks have certain di gital initiatives either in development or currently in use to capitalize on the new technol ogies of multicasting and ancillary services. National Broadcasting Company (NBC) NBC has attem pted more multicasting than any of the other networks. It has created NBC Weather Plus, a new all-digital 24/7 weather network that include s a mix of national and local elements provided by the network a nd its affiliates. Since local w eathercasts are the first source people go to for breaking weather information a nd forecasts, NBC felt that a network dedicated to local weather was of value to viewers. In a recent NBC Universa l study, local broadcast stations were considered the primary source of weather information for 67 percent of television viewers polled (TVB, 2006). NBC Weather Plus is a 50/50 affiliate-network partnership. The network launched in November 2004 and is now affiliated with station groups in 85 markets, reaching 75 percent of U.S. households. All 14 of NBCs O&O stations are broadcasting Weather Plus as well as affiliate-owned stations in the Gannett, Raycom Clear Channel, Belo, Post-Newsweek, Hearst-

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58 Argyle, and New York Times broadcasting groups. The service can be seen by about 20 million US digital cable households. Also, it is available in the top 20 markets (Donohue, 2006). NBC Weather Plus uses an L-bar design to provide current temperatures and hour-by-hour forecasts while running ads at the same time. Local personalities and t echnologies are used in conjunction with national news re sources to create an alluring digital network (TVB, 2006). Roger Ogden, head of the NBC Affiliate Board, acknowledged that NBC Weather Plus would be slicing an already fragme nted audience, but he still sees a business there, noting a lot of efficiency associated with it. You dont ha ve to have tremendous revenue streams to support it. Ogden expects his sales depart ment to sell the weather service to advertisers for a relatively modest charge as part of an overall station buy (Eggerton & Kerschbaumer, 2003). The network launched a website, nbcweatherp lus.com, in January 2006. The website contains national and local weather forecasting, on -demand video, and links to stations traffic cameras, weather reports, and airp ort information (TVB, 2006). American Broadcasting Company (ABC) The ABC ne twork has also been a leader in developing multicast programming. The network is currently distributing AccuWeather In c.s Local AccuWeather Channel as a multicast channel (TVB, 2006). ABC AccuWeather The AccuWeather produ ct gives stations a 24/7, flexible, low-cost service that can be offered as a multicast channel. A station has great flexibility in that it can use either AccuWeathers forecasters or their own and the station can use as much content as it deems necessary from AccuWeather. This ability to tailor the presentation to the liking of the individual station is what se ts it apart from Weather Plus according to R. Lee Rainey,

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59 AccuWeathers VP of marketing. The stations can structure the presentation, he states (Romano, 2005). In addition, AccuWeather plans to generate th e largest portion of its revenue from new emerging media platforms. According to Bria n Kisslak, AccuWeather Executive Director of Media Sales, There are so many emerging platfo rms right now...I think the best thing about AccuWeather is our portfolio is in every one of these markets. If they all converge, we all succeed. If some stay and some go away, we succeed, (Donohue, 2006). ABC News Now In addition to the AccuWeather network, A BC unveiled a 24-hour news service called ABC News Now. Originally an idea by Peter Je nnings to offer viewers gavel-to-gavel coverage of the De mocratic and Republican conventions, it first appeared on July 26, 2004. ABC aired ABC News Now during the 14 w eeks leading up to the Novemb er 2004 Election in several markets both over-the-air and through cable syst ems. The network recei ved cable carriage under retransmission rules by which larg e TV programmers, such as ABC, sometimes get sister cable channels onto systems in lieu of cash payments. However, the network could not get paid and the channel had to be pulled from cable system s in these markets (Grover, 2005). ABC News Now, in its present form, has tw o dedicated anchors a nd hourly updates. It also has live coverage of breaking events, typi cally satellite feeds of news conferences or government hearings. ABC News Now is currently available to digita l cable subscribers, broadband subscribers, and cell phone users. Th e service has limited television distribution on Verizon Communications FiOS TV, overbuilder Siegcom, Cablevision Systems Corp., and some small cable operators. However, A BC News Now has a wider distribution through broadband and cell phones. As a broadband channel, the service is free to Comcast Corp., AOL, Bell South Inc., SBC Yahoo, and Verizon subscr ibers, or by ABC subscription for $4.95 per

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60 month. For mobile subscribers, it is availabl e from AT&T Inc., Verizon, Sprint-Nextel Inc., Alltel Corp., and Midwest Wirele ss Holdings LLC (Lewis, 2006). Bernie Gershon, Senior Vice President & Ge neral Manager ABC Ne ws Digital Media Group states, We recognize that people have di fferent locations where theyll access our content whether its a mobile device, a wirelessly c onnected PC, broadband or TV. Were trying to formulate a product that will be available wher ever and whenever they want. ABC News President Dave Westin agrees by saying that it is critical to be on all of those devices (Kerschbaumer, 2004b). Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) Although CBS has been the network leader in high-definition tele vision, it has lagged behind NBC and ABC in developing its own m ulticas t digital network At a June 2004 network affiliates meeting, CBS proposed multicasting as an important part of its digital strategy. According to Executive Vice President Martin Franks We want to explore strategies to exploit all digital opportunities together (Albiniak, 2004 ). These options include using multicasting, video-on-demand, and Web content to help promote network prio rities (Albiniak, 2004). Many CBS affiliates have yet to tie up their di gital spectrum because CBS has not identified a network-affiliate digita l partnership as NBC has with its NBC Weather Plus and ABC with its AccuWeather. The CBS multicasting strategy will mean sometimes using the digital channel to counter what is on the network, such as using news agai nst soaps or vice versa. As said by Martin Franks, other times it will mean complementing or supplementing what is on the network on a digital channel; for instance, using a digital channel to track Tiger Woods throughout a round of golf or offering alternative camera angles during tennis or football coverage (Greppi, 2005a).

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61 In addition to countering and complementi ng network programming, sometimes stations broadcast alternative sporting ev ents or breaking news on digita l channels when they cannot accommodate them on their main feed. Some CBS a ffiliates have done so in an effort to air as many games as possible during the NCAA basket ball tournament. As of June 2004, some 11 affiliates had aired one game of the NCAA tournament in high-definition on the main channel and three other games in standa rd-definition on the digi tal subchannels. According to Bob Lee, chairman of the CBS affiliate board and pr esident of WDBJ Roanoke, VA, That kind of programming puts the viewer back in the drivers s eat (Albiniak, 2004). Martin Franks, at the 2005 affiliates mee ting, sought support for the launch of a highquality digital entertainment channel to be carr ied on the digital tiers of CBS O&O stations and affiliates. The channel, now known as CBS 2, will be comprised primarily of entertainment fare in the form of behind-the-scenes glimpses of se ries, TV stars, and athletes. This will include such programming as The Making of Survivor, and out takes from CBS comedies or The Amazing Race. As said by Franks, Its like DVD extras. One possibility for accommodating local content is morning-show-style cutaways within the CBS-produced programming. However, Franks says, Weve got a lot more work to do and a lot mo re research (Greppi, 2005a). CBS 2, which currently has no official launc h date, would rival NBCs weather and ABC News multi-platform offerings (B enson, 2005). Franks feels that the startup channel would be inexpensive and would be more appealing to cab le operators and many a ffiliates than a second weather or news station in a market. The CBS channel could give CBS O& Os and affiliates an opportunity with cable providers, even if the netw orks fail in their attempts to get mandatory digital coverage for broadcasters (Benson, 2005).

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62 Fox Broadcasting Company, The CW Television Network, and My Network TV Fox, and the newly-created networks, The CW and My Network, do not currently have any m ulticast plans underway. The Fox networ k has, however, recently launched an HDTV version of the National Geographic Channel and is planning to launch Fox HD, which will pull from sporting events and popular TV series from broadcast network Fox, cable sister FX, and other networks (Donohue, 2005). Some of the F ox affiliates in various markets do multicast, but, in most cases, it is simply a simulcast of the programming being aired on the main channel. While NBC and ABC see multicasting as advertiser-supported, other networks believe they could collect subscriptions just like cable, although that would require scrambling and, at least initially, set-top boxes. John Tupper, a small-market broadcaster who heads the Fox affiliate board, believes in pay multicasting. He states, Broadcasters could be the low-cost provider of HBO and provide more local content than anyone else. He estimates that, with a 5 percent penetration of the market, each station could double the cash flow it generates from its ad-supported business (Eggerton & Kerschbaumer, 2003). Fox should offer a wireless cable servi ce comprising news, movies, time-shifted programming, and demo-targeted channels, Tupper says. Tec hnically, it could be done tomorrow. Politically, I dont think it will ever ha ppen. Fox is going to be hesitant to go into a business that competes with cable while it is negotiating rate increases for its news programming or regional sports channels (Eggerton & Kerschbaumer, 2003). The CW and My Network are offered as multicas t channels on the di gital subchannels of many stations across the United States. However, the two networks themselves do not have any multicast initiatives underway at this time.

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63 Specialty Digital Networks There are several new networks that have b een developed which broadcasters across the country are using to pro vide unique content to their viewers via their multicast channels. Qubo Network Qubo is a new 24-hour network which bega n broadcasting in Septem ber 2006. The channel, which originally launc hed with a rolling four-hour bloc k of childrens programming, is aired on the digital signals of ION Media Networks affiliates. Although the channel airs programming exclusive to that channel, it will soon begin airing programming from the main qubo block on NBC or shows from other producers The major goal for qubo is to promote literacy and positive values through fun, interactive entertainment (NBC Universal, 2007). LATV Network LATV is a bilingual m usic and entertainmen t network. The network debuted in 2001 in the Los Angeles market as KJLA. The network offers Latino-themed programming targeted at young adults 12-34. The network can be found on the digital subchannels of stations in markets with a heavy concentration of Latino resident s (LATV.com, 2007). It was developed as a multicast channel by ATV Broadcast, which spec ializes in providing additional content for multicast channels and negotiating arrangements be tween programmers, broadcasters, cable, and satellite providers (Auto Channel.com, 2006). Motor Trend TV Motor Trend TV is a 24/7 digital network whic h began airing in 2008. It consists of 80% original programm ing drawn from the various automotive properties of Primedia, the leading targeted media company in the United States. Primedias full-line of properties include some 57 magazines that reach 67 million subscribers. Motor Trend TV includes programming centered around trends in the automotive indu stry, first drives, and road tests. Primedia partnered with

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64 ATV Broadcast, the company specializing in th e use of multicast technology that developed LATV as well (Auto Channel.com, 2006). World Championship Sports Network Although more widely accessib le to view ers through broadband and cable television platforms, the World Championship Sports Ne twork (WCSN) is being utilized by some broadcasters to fill their digital subchannels wi th unique and compelling content for the sports enthusiast (Careless, 2007). WC SN offers comprehensive coverage of over 60 different Olympic and lifestyles sports, including track & field, cycling, swimming, skiing, and gymnastics. The sporting events can be seen on their website, www.wcsn.com and on television through WCSNs weekly syndicated televi sion program This program is available in more than 45 million homes in major markets across the U.S. (WCSN.com, 2007). Multicast (Standard-Definition) Business Model Mindful of the opportun ity that multicasting pres ents, many U.S. broadcasters are utilizing this unique technology to increase their audience ba se and to build station revenue. According to Mike Ruggiero, chairman of ATV Broadcast and the ALL TV Companies, Hundreds of stations are currently multicas ting (Careless, 2007). ALL TV Comp anies, as mentioned in the prior section, is the company that runs the Spanis h-language multicast channel LATV and the group behind the development of Motor Trend TV. In addition to LATV and Motor Trend TV, a growing number of commercial stations are mu lticasting local news and weather, NBC Weather Plus, The CW, My Network, World Championshi p Sports Network, AccuWeather, and qubo. Model of Program Choice The im plications of an increase in the nu mber of SDTV signals broadcast due to applications of digital compression will lead to an increase in the diversity of programs. The model of program choice, first issued by Stei ner in 1952 before being expanded by Beebe and

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65 Owen, Beebe, and Manning in the 1970s, predicts that the dive rsity of programs offered to viewers should increase as the number of channels increases. Broadcasters will match each other by introducing new programs of the most preferred t ype, with also the larges t number of viewers, and carve up its audience until a new programs share of the audience for the most popular program type would be smaller than the audien ce accessible to a broadcaster offering the next most popular type of program (Wildman, 2001). The result of expanding the number of channels while keeping the number of broadcasters the same will be an even larger increase in program diversity than would have occurred if each new channel had a separate owner for the simple reason that multiple channel operators will be disinclined to duplicate programming on channels they already operate. Offering a channel that draws viewers away from a competitors offering is a net gain and an addition to profits whereas transferring audience from one to another of a stations channels, makes no contribution to revenue (Wildman, 2001). Allowing each broadcaster to control a number of channels will help to increase the overall number of channels offered and, subsequentl y, the variety of programming. However, the audience for each channel will drop as the number of channels increases. This will lead to broadcasters producing less expensive programs as increases in production expenditures will result in smaller increases in advert ising revenues (Wildman, 2001). Dual Carriage in a Multicast Environment In addition to of fering a multitude of free over-the-air television channels, multicasting allows for new potential revenue streams for broa dcasters. From now until the analog signals are turned off in February 2009, broadcasters have the difficult task of maintaining their analog channels while also expanding their digital chan nels. Stations need to have creativity in developing ways in which they can use their new digital feeds to help them gain revenue to

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66 overcome the high expenses of running both an analog and a digital signal simultaneously and the cost of converting from analog to digital. The areas of promotion, programming, and ad sales all need to be focused on and used in co njunction to build station revenue and overcome these expenses. Advantages of Multicasting The technology of m ulticasting provides broadcaste rs with a number of potential strategic advantages. These advantages are primarily dr iven by the media technology characteristics of the technology discussed earlier in the chapter. This secti on reviews the advantages of multicasting and the primary media technology characteristic associat ed with the advantage. The advantage is first listed fo llowed by the characteristic. Improved affiliate/network re lation s: Complementarity One key advantage of multicasting is that th e new channel space will lead to improved affiliate/network relations. By having additional di gital channels at their disposal, stations can continue coverage of a breaking news story on either their digi tal subchannels or their main channel while continuing to carry network progr amming. This capability has led to a reduction in the need for affiliate preemptions of networ k programming. In Augusta, Georgia, in January 2005, WRDW-TV simply moved its CBS lineup to then UPN affiliate (now My Network) WRDW-DT to allow for 18 straight hours of coverage of an area train cr ash. Gray Television, which owns the station, places a premium on news on its major-net work affiliates and on profits (Greppi, 2005b). Creation of new national networks: Newness Second, m ulticasting has allowed both affiliates a nd networks to work together to create new national digital-only networks, such as N BCs Weather Plus and ABCs AccuWeather. These new digital networks allow affiliates and their networks to combine resources in such a

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67 way that the viewer sees a pr oduct that is a unique meshing of local and national features (Halonen, 2003). Ability to target advertising to particular mar ket segments: Utility observability and efficiency A third advantage of multicasting is that it al lows broadcasters the ability to target their advertising to particular market segments. Th e technology gives stations an opportunity to reach different audiences with different channels, similar to what is done at the cable systems. For multicasting to make sense, it must not cannibali ze revenue the station al ready earns from selling commercial time on its primary station. One way to avoid that is specialization. When you go to multicasting, you start to specialize, says Paul Turner, vice president of product marketing for Omneon Video Networks, a producer of video se rver infrastructure. He continues by stating, As you do that, you can deliver more targeted ad vertising. So, if some one is doing a home doit-yourself (DIY) channel, they can guarantee potent ial advertisers that viewers are interested in DIY. By delivering targeted programming to view ers with a specific intere st, stations could get advertisers to pay premiums to advertise on these channels because they hit the precise audience advertisers are trying to reach ( Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). One example of utilizing multicasting to reac h specific audiences is that of offering a Spanish-language channel on one of the digita l subchannels (Decherd, 2004). The Hispanic population is the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population today and advertising agencies have separate budgets allocated for Spanish-oriented programming. Because of these two factors, the Hispanic market represents a valuab le audience to broadcasters. Many broadcasters, including NBC Universal, had mentioned offeri ng a Spanish-language channel, but it was not until the ALL TV Companies developed LATV was one actually broadcast (Careless, 2007).

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68 Not only could stations offer a variety of channels for different audience types with multicast technology, but they could also target their advertising to particular geographic segments within their coverage radius. NBC had put together a proposal that would allow their affiliates to target local news to towns in a covera ge area and then sell more affordable ads to the local businesses in these towns. As stated by Roger Ogden, head of the NBC affiliate board, We get to play at that party, referring to the flexibility that cable systems have in targeting their advertising to particular segments of a viewing area (Davidson, 2004). The proposal has not been carried out as of yet; howev er, the technology is available. Outlet for extended/enhanced news programming: Content distribution A fourth advantage of multicasting is that it can o ffer a local station an outlet for extensive news or public affairs programming. Local inform ation that currently goes unreported or underreported on television can make a station invaluable to viewers, and multicasting is a logical way to distribute such programmi ng (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). When a station becomes one of the primary sources for news and inform ation in a local market, sizeable ratings and revenue will follow. This is especially the case wh en a station is the first in a market to offer a new local news and informational broad cast (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). Not only can a local station have access to an additional outlet for extensive news programming, but multicasting can actually enha nce and expand the news product. Digital technology creates the possibility of new programming forms, utilizing data, graphics, and different camera angles to make television a more interactive and informative experience (Decherd, 2004). Relatively inexpensive once infrastruc ture is in place: Technology cost A fifth advantage of m ulticasting is that once th e infrastructure is in place, it is relatively inexpensive to add multicast channels. It ty pically will only cost 10 percent per additional

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69 channel when compared to the initial DTV start-up costs. Furthermore, it usually requires the same level of human resources as a single-channel operation as well (Boston & Brown, 2004). Opening up bandwidth for multicasting for locals could mean additional 24-hour local news or sports channels, claims Tim Hanlon, se nior vice president and director of emerging contacts, Starcom MediaVest Group, a full-service media agency. Since those formats are so popular in the cable universe, it makes perfect sense to extend t hose kinds of franchises into other channels, he says. Its a great way to amortize your talent costs, to amortize all the footage that never makes it to the 6 or 11 news ; its a great way to amortize your editorial resources. The 11 oclock news could just be a best of all the things that ran on your other channels. All the signs point to that being the route (Kaplan, 2004). Cross-market penetration: Complementarity A sixth benefit of runnin g a multichannel opera tion is that it allows for cross-market penetration. If a newscast is to be cannibalized by another channel, th e same broadcast outlet might as well do it, thus conser ving its views and advertising re venue (Boston & Brown, 2004). In addition, a station can run spots promoting programs or specials on the other multicast channels. By doing this, stations can fill their unsold airtime with content that will draw viewers attention to thei r other multicast offerings. Similar to existing business model: Compatibility A seventh advantage of multicastin g is that it is similar to the existing business model, programming-viewership-ratings-commercial-sale s (Re-thinking Broadcasting, 2004). This makes it initially more attractive to television broadcasters than other digital technologies, such as datacasting or video-on-demand. However, th ese ancillary services co uld prove to be more lucrative for broadcasters in the future.

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70 Other Uses of Multicast Technology Broadcasters are utilizin g the advantages o ffered by multicasting in other ways. They are using the additional channels to air programming from different networks as well as using the digital subchannels to get stronger signal carriage for their low-power stations. Digital signal used to air programming from different netw orks: Content distribution Multicasting not only means sending programs form atted differently at the same time, but it also means using the digital signal to air progr amming from different netw orks. There are a lot of cases of this taking place ever since the merg ing of WB and UPN and the subsequent creation of the My Network and The CW networks. On e example of this is Media Generals WNCT, which began doing this in September 2006. The Gr eenville, NC station simulcasts CBS and the The CW programming on digital channels 9-1 and 9-2 respectively (WNCT.com, 2007). This arrangement demonstrates another advantage of multicasting, the ability to reach specific demographics with different channels. WNCT is able to reach an older demographic, P25-54, with CBS and a younger audience, P18-34, with The CW. Better carriage for low-power stations: Utility observability and efficiency Som e stations, like WKPT, an ABC affiliate in Kingsport, TN, begin multicasting to get better carriage for their low-power stations. WK PT currently airs their My Network affiliate, WAPK, a low power station, on digital channel 27-2 while airing their full-power ABC affiliate on channel 27-1 (WKPT.com, 2007). WKPT Gene ral Manager George DeVault says, Were reaching a wider audience with a clearer, more consistent signal. Cable carriage is very important, and low power does not have must-ca rry. If youre not on the cable system, youve got a problem (Berger, 2001).

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71 Revolutionary Uses of Multicast Technology There are several revolutionary uses of multicast technology cu rrently being considered. Broadcasters are looking into the potential to utilize multicasting to deliver flight information from local airports as well as traffic re ports to viewers in their coverage areas. Broadcast of flight arrival and departure information: Newness Airports are requesting that local stations broadcast f light arrival and departure inform ation. Its of value to someone wishing to check the status of hi s or her flight before leaving for the airport, and its an advertising value to operators of companies such as taxi services or airport shuttle businessesor ev en a company like Starbucks, according to Glen Sakata, director of sales for broadcast and telecom at Harmon ic, a leading provider of video delivery solutions (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). Traffic reporting: Newness An addition al area with a recognized worth to viewers is traffic reporting. About 14 years ago, Los Angeles started distribut ing information from on-ramp cameras and metering to a cable carrier to show traffic-flow dens ity in a high-level way. Roadma ps with arteries displayed in red signified traffic was stopped; green meant it was moving. Similar local traffic coverage could provide local viewers of a multicast station with timely and important information (Rethinking Broadcasting, 2004). Benefits to Advertisers Through Use of Multicast Technology Brian Wieser, National TV Analyst for media negotiator Magna Global, sees multicasting as a chance for advertisers to more narrowly targ et consumers and to invest directly in the new programs needed to fill the digital channels. Such investment, he says may involve taking an interest in someone elses multicast offering, suppl ying infomercials for a new digital channel, or developing networks/channels and pitching them dire ctly to stations. He refers to Cokes $15

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72 million investment in digital cable net College S ports TV as a potential model, mentioning that Coke is positioned to mix its marketing efforts with the channel and to benefit directly from its success (Eggerton, 2004). Wieser argues that multicasting provides a more compelling business case for advertisercreated nets than digital cable does, if must-carry protection is granted (Eggerton, 2004). As examples of advertiser channels, he advocates an automobile-enthusiast channel developed by a car company or a baby boomer channel supported by a pharmaceutical company. According to Wieser, broadcasters could strike deals with various advertisers to carry prefab networks (Eggerton, 2004). At this point, however, there is no mandated must-carry requirement so there will probably be limited development of advertiser-created channels. Challenges of Multicasting Although th e technology of multicasting provides broadcasters with a number of potential strategic advantages, it also bri ngs with it a number of unique ch allenges. These disadvantages are primarily driven by the media technology char acteristics of the technology discussed earlier in the chapter. This section reviews the ch allenges of multicasting a nd the principal media technology characteristic associated with each ch allenge. All but one of the challenges listed below are primarily due to the technology cost characteristic. Securing the capability to digita lly deliver a signal: Technology cost The greatest challenge f acing stations is s ecuring the technical capability to digitally deliver a signal. First, broadcasters need tr ansmission apparatus that will allow a standarddefinition signal, or multiple SD signals, to be broadcast alongside a stations HD feed. The equipment is expensive as it costs about $50,000 to put the technology in place for one HD and one SD channel. Second, stations will also need available bandwidth. As previously mentioned, a stations digital bandwid th allocation is 19.39 Mbps. The typical SD channel will require only

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73 about 2 Mbps, which leaves a lot of room for a stations HD signal. However, there may be a bandwidth crisis if a station is multicasti ng a weather service or some other channel simultaneously (Kerschbaumer, 2004b). Producing more with the same staff or sa me capital expenditure: Technology cost A second major ch allenge that many broadcaste rs face is producing more with the same staff or same capital expenditure. According to Thomas Zugmeyer, the product manager in charge of the DaletPlus Media Library, having access to the ideal digital equipment is key to combating this problem. He says, Technology allows you to use more shared content by one station to rebroadcast it on a nother station, all from a centr al repository (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). Sakata from Harmonic agr ees. Ill always go b ack to the operational side. Theres not much incremental cost to put it on another station, he says (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). Acquiring programming to fill secondary channels: Complementarity A third serious obstacle for broadcasters wishing to m ulticast is programming. Many broadcasters wonder where they will acquire the programming to fill secondary channels as they are already challenged enough in filling up thei r primary channel with compelling content. Repurposed newscasts and magazine shows provide one potential source of multicast content. Fortunately for broadcasters, they will not face the same rights issues as they would if they were broadcasting syndicated programmi ng. Therefore, repurposing th eir own station-originated programming is a sensible way to generate cont ent to be run on their di gital subchannels (ReThinking Broadcasting, 2004). Adding more channels does not mean th ere are more adv ertisers : Technology cost A fourth major challenge of multicasting stems from the fact that adding more channels to a market does not mean there are more advertisers. This creates a problem in a case in which a

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74 broadcast operation has to start paying for cont ent in any meaningful way and because it is not reaching a large enough audience with its multicast channels, the station st ruggles financially. Advertising revenue is critical to cover the expense of buying the rights to programming since distributors, particularly cable operators, are not paying high e nough subscriber fees to offset these costs (Chunovic, 2003). However, since the industry is committed to pushing digital penetration forward, the audiences for multicast channels will continue to grow. Larger audiences mean that not only can broadcaste rs generate more advertising revenue, but broadcasters will be able to ask the cable and sate llite industries to start paying subscriber fees or to pay higher fees for the carriage of their multicast programming. Although multicast channels may be able to generate solid adve rtising revenue for broadcasters, Those channels w ont generate as much as the main channel and thats why automation will be important, according to Dave Polyard, Omnibus Vice President of Sales and Marketing (Kerschbaumer, 2004a). Stations are working to ma ke the multicast business model more efficient by automating their f acilities and infrastructure. Automation in a Multichannel Operation According to Robert Johnson, president of automation vendor Sundance Digital, The broadcast operations of today are simply too co m plex to be run without automation. Certainly, efficiency is a word with which we are all we ll acquainted, but in many cases, stations are adding more channels and want to operate with the same staffing levels (Kerschbaumer, 2004a). Station automation is about easing the content-gathering process, regardless of the contents final form, commercials, programming, or interstiti als. Adding a multicast that includes a 24-hour loop of newscasts (with new co mmercials) and a 24hour weather channel may sound like basic additions, but both represent the growing complexity of broadcasting today (Kerschbaumer, 2004a).

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75 If a station wants its multicast offspring to ha ve the same quality of appearance as the big channel, the challenge is even greater, says John Wadle, Omnibus Vice President of Technology (Kerschbaumer, 2004a). Setting up the secondary channels can actually be more time-consuming and labor-intensive than the main channel. Inserting squeeze-backs, the graphic device that shrinks the onscreen image as one show ends to allow space for another image, becomes problematic. This is also the case with other transitional graphi c elements that give viewers the visual cues they have come to e xpect from technically advanced broadcasters. Viewers do not want to watch multicast channe ls that look low-budget and these transitional graphic elements are an important part of broadc asting a quality channel (Kerschbaumer, 2004a). In addition, the type of content carried on secondary channels is a major factor in the level of difficulty involved in automation. Brian Lay, Harris director of product marketing, automation solutions, states, Channels that are primarily based on prerecorded content require very little manual intervention. But channels that contain live sports or news may require an operator per channel (Kerschbaumer, 2004a). Communication between the automa tion and traffic systems is a critical interaction and it continues to be a challenge. The modules use Transmission Control Prot ocol/Internet Protocol [TCP/IP] connectivity to allow changes to be ma de to the current on-air schedule directly from the traffic system. Also, a graphic timeline di splay lets operators make last-second schedule changes (Kerschbaumer, 2004a). Ancillary Services Ancilla ry services can provide stations with new, largely untapped, business possibilities. The technologies of datacasting, subscription television, teletext, and inte ractive television are possible when there is a return path from th e home, school or business to the source of the broadcast.

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76 Media Technology Characteristics Ancillary services are in herently different from broadcasting, according to Glen Sakata, who, as mentioned previously, is the director of sales for broadc ast and telecom at Harmonic. Theres a push vs. pull paradigm, he says. B roadcasters can push all the data they want. It goes back to video over IP. It c ould be data or video, but it ha s to be persuasive enough for a consumer to want it. For these ancillary serv ices to be successful, they must improve the availability of local information in a way that is not real-time. There are a number of video and data services that dont have to be delivered in real time, and if they dont it can be a data model. For example, airport schedules dont have to be on a real-time video channel. They could be streaming, claims Sakata (Re-T hinking Broadcasting, 2004). The Return Path Will Have Major Impact on Television Advertising When it co mes to ancillary services, there are two basic variations. First, there is the direct viewer interaction with program c ontent and broadcasters. This could be in the form of choosing on-screen items for purchase or clicking on a play er during a live sporting event to view their stats. Second, there is the less direct information that mi ght be gathered about the audience members of a program. This is the information th at is made possible through a return path. Such facts as buying behavior, lifestyle s, and viewing habits make up this less direct information. Over time, the viewing habits of a viewer or hou sehold could be stored in a set top box for access by broadcasters and cable companies that may either sell or lease the boxes (Wildman, 2001). Currently, the advertis ing model used by advertisers and broadcasters is centered around audience demographics. These demographics are us ed to predict viewer purchasing habits. If ancillary services are utilized to an interactive extent, then broadcasters and advertisers alike would be able to see the true buy ing preferences of the audience for a particular program. This

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77 information would provide broadcasters with the ability to price and sell their advertising time much differently than they do presently (Wildman, 2001). As digital television and its ancillary services develop, broadcasters can expect a significant increase in revenues due to more accu rate and in-depth information on viewers product preferences and buying behavi or. Furthermore, at some point in the future, it will be possible to target advertisements to individua l viewers regardless of the programs they are watching. This targeting could be accomplished by preloading advertisements in an individuals set top box so that in-program cues could signal the box to play a particular commercial. Also, with regards to ad content, the actual broa dcast could be interac tive (Wildman, 2001). Ancillary services also will affect the ability of the television medium to compete with other mediums for advertising dollar s. For instance, the ancillary services of the future will be able to provide viewers with de tailed information on products right on their television screens. Viewers looking for a particular make and mode l of a automobile would be able to watch a program and then click on a car showcased in e ither a commercial or a program and receive indepth information about the vehicle. This t ype of detailed information is normally accessed exclusively through the newspaper or the Internet (Wildman, 2001). Variations of Ancillary Services There are qu estions about whether datacasting is truly feasible in the near future. A highend interactive TV show, one in which most all of the interactive elem ents are video, can be three or four times the budget for a non-interac tive, linear TV program (Carey, 1999). Not only is the expense a consideration, but also there exists a great deal of confusion over an appropriate business model for datacasting. Versions of interactive TV that mix interac tive text over a one-way path (instead of one with a return path) or interac tive still images and sound may provide an interim, less expensive,

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78 business model for broadcasters. These interi m forms of interactive TV are a good match for such services as banking, home shopping, and some interactive games (Carey, 1999). Once a broadcaster successfully integrates this form of in teractive TV into its current offerings then it can more easily transition into a full interactive video model. Another version of ancillary services that broa dcasters will be able to utilize to encourage viewers to stay with a program that has just gon e into a commercial break is a model in which some content is provided on part of the screen while a commercial airs. This is considered to be a newspaper model of content in that advertising and content are shown on the same screen much as a newspaper provides both news stories and ads on the same page (Carey, 1999). Nevertheless, advertisers, both locally and nationally, will be able to benefit from the various capabilities that interac tive TV provides, particularly th e ability for consumers to click on the screen to order a product. Direct mark eters, especially, have the means to pursue advertising in an interactive format since they typically have an open-ended budget. This openended budget, for example, would allow them to test out advertising on an interactive channel without affecting their exis ting analog budget (Knight, 2004). WRAL-TV 5: A Digital Pioneer HD pioneer Jim Goodman, owner of WRAL-T V (CBS) and WRAZ-TV (Fox) in Raleigh, NC, is a convert to multicasting. He says, I beli eve that HD is the primary driver of digital, though SD is great, too. Were a much better TV st ation because we can tele vise a local event or trial on the news channel (WRAL NewsChannel). WRAZs digita l station offers two simulcast digital stations, one provides HD when it is avai lable (SD the rest of the time) and the other offers only an SD signal. Also, WRAZ carri es a 24-hour local weather channel on its third digital subchannel (Eggerton & Kerschbaumer, 2003).

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79 WRAL, the station which pioneered digital broadcasting nearly 11 years ago, splits its digital bandwidth allotment into an HD channel, an SD channel, and a 1MB/s to 1.5MB/s channel for datacasting. Through a process kno wn as statistical multiplexing, bandwidth is dynamically assigned to the channels as need ed (Re-Thinking Broa dcasting, 2004). In statistical multiplexing, a fixed bandwidth comm unication channel is divided into several variable bit-rate digital channe ls. This, along with efficient encoding, the process in which a signal is transformed into a form optimized fo r transmission or storage, maintains optimum picture quality on the SD and HD channels (Chand ra, 2003). The picture WRAL delivers using statistical multiplexing and efficiency of encodi ng is superb, says Goodmon. We can deliver HD and SD with no degradation, and we expect to see a 10 percent to 15 percent improvement in the encoding process every year ( Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). Multicasting As discussed previous ly, the technology of multicasting has the potential to provide broadcasters with a number of promising strategic advantages. This section reviews the benefits of multicasting of which WRAL-TV has taken advantage. The adva ntage is first listed followed by the associated media technology characteristic. Outlet for extended/enhanced news programming: Content distribution In July 2001, the station launched the W RAL NewsChannel. The channel includes local news, special local coverage, original program ming, and weather updates every half-hour. The WRAL NewsChannel replays newscast s, letting viewers watch the latest headlines at almost any hour of the day. Besides rebroadcasting WRAL-T Vs newscasts, the digital channel offers live coverage of local events, including press confer ences, trials, and special celebrations. Recent coverage on the NewsChannel included news c onferences following the ACC Tournament and coverage of local forums, including Emerging Issues and Horizon 2100. WRAL NewsChannels

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80 on-screen format offers scrolling news h eadlines from WRAL.com and updated weather forecasts. The channel provides the Raleigh-Durh am area with the latest poll results and race coverage, during the election seas on. Also, during inclement weathe r, the channel airs constant school and business closing info rmation (WRAL.com, 2007). In addition, WRAL also offers the WeatherCen ter Channel, a 24-7 digital weather network providing local, regional, and national forecasts. The channel, which launched in February 2003, is carried over-the-air on digital channel 50.3 and on Time Warner digital cable on digital channel 252. The channel works on a 10-minute wheel that is repeated six times an hour. The 10-minute wheel includes a two-minute video for ecast by WRALs meteorologists. The local video forecast is usually updated four times a day, following each daily newscast (WRAL.com, 2007). Improved affiliate/network re lation s: Complementarity The WRAL NewsChannel has allowed for a stronger affiliate/network relationship while also providing viewers with im portant local information. When a major storm hit Raleigh in May 2005, the station preempted its analog channel and moved As The World Turns and other CBS soap operas to a mu lticast channe l (Donohue, 2006). The NewsChannel has provided WRAL with another outlet to accommodate both netw ork and local programming at times when distributing live information to the public is critical, such as during a weather crisis. Relatively inexpensive once infrastruc ture is in place: Technology cost Repurposing m aterial from the Web site a nd the news operation of WRAL-TV allowed management to put WRAL NewsChannel on the air fo r a fraction of the price of starting a station from scratch. With very low personnel and eq uipment costs, we have started a new channel, says Goodmon. We need to be clear that it is a balancing act, he explains. We dont want to

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81 take anything away from the capacity of WRAL news. We want to use it to add to the NewsChannel when we have extra capaci ty (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). The station has a producer and de signates its digital media manager to assimilate material for the stations Web site onto the NewsChannel. Otherwise, the WRAL NewsChannel draws on existing resources from what G oodmon calls the big news operati on to shoot, gather, produce, and air news (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). One example of using the resources of the pr imary channel for the WRAL NewsChannel is a car chase that occurred in the area several y ears ago. Goodman explains, We broke into coverage on WRAL news but couldnt stay with it the whole time as it unfolded. But on WRAL NewsChannel, we could punch right in and stay with the chase. All that required was a producer/director and font coor dinator, and we were live ( Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). Datacasting: Newness/Utility Observability and Efficiency Not only does m ulticasting bring with it a number of advantages, but also datacasting as well. The two primary media technology characteri stics which drive these benefits are newness and utility observability and efficiency. WRAL uses the 1 Mb/s to 1.5 Mb/s committed to datacasting for a variety of offerings, including distribution of video-on-demand from WRAL news, th e WRAL.com microsite, games, software, and other local programming. This is program content that we couldnt deliver before, says Goodmon (Re-Thi nking Broadcasting, 2004). While the current offerings are good, Goodmon asserts that the future will be even better. He made this clear by saying, We have been experi menting with ideas that will be great for the futureapproaches that are not in teractive per se but send informa tion out that can be stored in the memory of the users computers that they can access as desired. Moreover, ancillary services, such as datacasting, will allow for an e nhanced experience for the sports enthusiast.

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82 According to Goodmon, If you are watching WRAL News and our sportscaster comes in with news about Duke basketball, with datacasting you w ill be able to get instant stats from the game. Thats the future (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). Since introducin g datacasting to the Raleigh-Durham, NC market, the number of people for WRALs service has expanded beyond the introductory test audience of 100, but Goodm on does not know by how much. However, he expects the role of datacasting to grow as inte ractivity becomes achievable. Interactive is growingone step at a time, he says. That is an important move for broadcasters to make (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). There are three primary lessons concerning multicasting and datacasting that can be observed from the experience of WRAL-DT in Raleigh-Durham, NC. First, multicasting and datacasting may, ultimately, lead to significant revenue for the sta tion, but they have not as of yet. Second, the new technologies should be utili zed to position a station to compete with cable and satellite broadcasting in the future and be able to thrive in that environment. Third, multicasting and datacasting need to result, ultim ately, in delivering a be tter product. WRAL Programming and Special Projects Manager Jimmy Goodmon Jr. e xplains this point further by saying that multicasting and datacasting are about being more competitive. All of these things are made possible through these digital technologie s and their ability to he lp stations maximize their branding capabilities (Re-T hinking Broadcasting, 2004). Successful branding in the broadcast business is about enhancing a stations presence in a market by becoming an indispensable resource to re sidents of that market. We are guided by a person who believes in long-term branding, st ates Jimmy Goodman Jr. These things (datacasting and the NewsChannel) will enhance ou r image in the community. We have to be

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83 everywhere that viewers or seeker s want to find us. Its not a re venue play at this point, but a branding play (Re-Thinki ng Broadcasting, 2004). KUSA-TV 9: A High-Defini tion New scast Pioneer One approach stations are taking to obtain a competitive edge is by capitalizing on the transition to high-definition. While most national sports events and network prime-time schedules are broadcast in HD, local HD broadcasts have lagged, demonstrating a growth area. It will drive more viewership th at we can translate into revenue says Fred Reynolds, president and CEO of Viacom Television Stations Group (Bachman, 2005). High Definition The technology of HD brings with it a num ber of potential strategic advantages. The primary media technology characteristics which affect the adoption of an HD newscast, in particular, are discussed in this section. Content Distribution A few T V stations such as KUSA-TV, Gannett Broadcastings NBC affiliate in Denver, have launched local newscasts in HD. Some Vi acom TV stations are also broadcasting local sports in HD, such as the NBAs Lakers on CBS owned-and-operated KCAL in Los Angeles and baseballs Red Sox on CBS O&O WBZ in Bo ston. HD is a game changer, offering broadcasters a huge competitive advantage, sa ys Chris Rohrs, presid ent of the Television Bureau of Advertising (Bachman, 2005). HDTV news is flourishing in the Denver mark et. KUSA Denver was the first station to transmit live HD video from a helicopter to a station. Microwave-transmission-system manufacturer MRC and KUSA work ed together to solve the difficulty of sending large amounts of HD data, allowing this transmission to become possible (Kerschbaumer, 2004c).

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84 The station began investigating the idea of airing an HD newscast in 2003. Roger Ogden, KUSA general manager and president and Gannett senior vice president, says the station contemplated three factors: the price of HD sets was falling, more HD shows were available from NBC, and the local Comcast MSO of fered an HD tier (Kerschbaumer, 2004c). When Comcast and Soundtrack, a local reta iler, became HD advertisers on KUSA, the decision to move forward with an HD newscast was finalized. Even though the rates are much lower than spots on the SD broad cast, Ogden had expected to rec over the incremental cost of HD gear within two years. Its ac tually a fairly short return, he says, when you look at the normal way of doing business. There is not any inform ation confirming whether or not the HD start-up costs have been recouped as of yet (Kerschbaumer, 2004c). Technology Cost The com plete newscast is not in HD yet because the electronic news gathering (ENG) gear is still too costly to allow shooting in HD. The camera operators, however shoot in wide-screen 16:9 aspect ratio (see Appendix A) Don Perez, KUSA Chief Engi neer, says that a mix of HD and SD material during a newscast is still comp elling for the viewer. Standard-definition 16:9 provides good-quality images, so not everything has to be shot in HD, he says. Furthermore, Perez declares that the most important thing to remember in strong upconve rsion of SD material is to be certain that the material was obtained digitally (Kerschbaumer, 2004c). Cable Is Using High-Definition Advantage in Battle W ith Satellite According to Glen Sakata, the strongest mo tivator for cable multiple service operators (MSOs) to accommodate broadcasters need for multicast carriage is the threat from direct broadcast satellite (DBS). The number-one issue with cable MSOs is HD, Sakata says. They are in a hot battle with DBS. DBS will have problems having a lot of HD. Cable is realizing their take rate for HD set-top boxes is grow ing exponentially, and lo cal HD programming could

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85 be something that gives them an edge in th e market over DBS (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). Considering the significance of HD to cable in doing battle with DBS providers, Sakata says he believes MSOs will be inclined to work with broadcasters to carry multicast SD channels as long as part of their offering during the day is HD. Cable would just rather take the HD, he states. They will give you the bandwidth and let you play around with it. Theyll commit the 6 MHZ to broadcasters. Then the cable opera tor wont mess around with the broadcasters signals (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). The cable industry has been willing to carry multicast channels as long as the programming will attract a significant viewing base If cable operators are offered a mix of compelling local and national shows, Martin Franks says, they will be more likely to carry all of the stations digital offerings (Albiniak, 2004). An example of this has been Time Warner Cables Raleigh, NC division carrying four multi cast channels simultaneously for WRAL of the NCAA Basketball Tourname nt since 2000 (Donohue, 2006). Rather than arranging a formal must-carry agreement between DTV broadcasters and the cable industry, Sakata proposes that cable operators be flexible with television broadcasters on an individual basis. These cab le MSOs would really rather d eal at the individual level, he states (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). In addition to the competition that cable ope rators feel from broadcasters, carriage of broadcasters SD signals also creat es a management issue for cable operators. This is especially true in cases in which broadcasters air HD for a portion of the day and then switch to multiple SD channels later in the da y. According to Glen Sakata In the beginning, it was a philosophical objection, but now its a management issue (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004).

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86 The cable systems would rather not manage all of these channels coming and going. Sakata says, If a broadcaster sometimes has two channels, sometimes five, and sometimes one channel, thats hard for the cable system to manage. On the cable electronic program guide (EPG), theyll indicate a channe l is there but just off the ai r (Re-Thinking Broadcasting, 2004). These management issues and others will n eed to be effectively dealt with in order for broadcasters and cable operators to be successful in collectively serving their market areas. USDTV: A Low-Cost Alternativ e In an effort to provide a low-cost, over-the -air alternative to cable, USDTV chief Steve Lindsley asked broadcasters to combine their capit al and their digital TV channels in a jointlyowned pay multicasting venture. Lindsley felt that such an endeavor would be an opportunity to create a direct relationship with consumers and eliminate the cab le and satellite middlemen who have relied on broadcasters to cr eate $350 billion in value for th emselves (Jessell, 2004). The company rented extra digital bandwidth from broa dcasters and then used the bandwidth to send channels to subscribers using settop boxes. After four years of offering a service that was being utilized by some 7,200 subscribers, USDTV ceased operations in March 2007 (Moss, 2007). While in operation, USDTV offered a package which included 12 cable channels and sold for $19.95 per month. The package also included a nother 18 or so over-the-air channels, which brought the total number of channels to 30. The cable networks included Fox News Channel, Disney Channel, Toon Disney, ESPN and ESPN2, Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Home & Garden Television, Food Networ k, Discovery Channel, Starz, and TLC. In addition, USDTV served four markets: Salt Lake City, UT; Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX; Las Vegas, NV; and Albuquerque, NM (Moss, 2007). The company finally ran out of money and had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One of the major problems faced by the company was that it was challenging and expensive to acquire

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87 new customers. The company lost around $100 for every $99 box sold and their customer base was largely lower-end customers that in many cas es did not pay their bills. A second major challenge faced by USDTV was that it had high customer churn, which averaged 4 percent monthly. A major part of this was due to the fa ct that many subscribers were not satisfied with the limited number of channels offe red (Higgins, 2006). Conclusion In this chapter, the research er looked at the theoretical, re gulatory, and technological issues surrounding digital telev ision, specifically multic asting and ancillary services. The digital initiatives pursued by industry participants to capitalize on the capabilities of this new technology have been detailed. The theoretical basis of the adoption and evol ution of digital technol ogy are reflected in the principal drivers of the new technology, th e core, supporting, and environmental factors which make up the framework of new media a doption by media firms. The elements were discussed in detail early in th e chapter and then applied to multicasting and datacasting at the local station level later in the chapter. The soci al movement theory was detailed to demonstrate the actions taken by various groups which interacted to give th e digital transition momentum. The regulatory issues are addressed and th e FCC rulings discussed, which include the mandate for TVs to be digital ove r-the-air compatible and digital cable ready, the bill calling for complete shut of analog on February 17, 2009, a nd the denying of cable carriage of multicast channels for broadcasters. The debate over the carriage of broadcaster s secondary streams has been ongoing for both broadcasters and cable operato rs as both groups have pl enty of rationale in defense of their positions. The technological issues behind HD and SD, the various uses of multicast and datacast technology, and the complications involved in running these varied formats have been requiring that broadcasters have flexibility in th eir business strategies.

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88 There are a number of digital initiatives bei ng pursued at the networ k, corporate, and local levels. CBS, NBC, and ABC each have several di gital undertakings either currently in operation or being developed. In addition to these major networks, several networ ks have been created solely for the purpose of use as multicast channels or ancillary o fferings. At the local level, stations will have many options to consider and they will need to weigh the advantages of this new technology to the challenges that it presents The media technology characteristics of each advantage and challenge are highlighted as well to emphasize the variables which are affecting the adoption of these technologies. One station, WRAL-TV, has been a pioneer in the area of multicasting and datacasting whereas stat ions such as KUSA-TV have been capitalizing on HD specifically. The efforts of the local broad casters further complicate the battle going on between cable operato rs, satellite companies, and ot her service alternatives such as, now defunct, USDTV.

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89 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY In this chapter, the research m ethod used in this study is discussed. The rationale for choosing an interview methodology, the selection of study participants, an d the procedure that was followed prior to the actual interviews are discussed. Next, the chapter focuses on the research questions and the ways in which the act ual interviews were administered. The chapter closes with detail as to the procedure us ed for analyzing the respondents comments. Data Gathering Method Used Se mistructured interviews were utilized for this study. According to Hollifield and Coffey (2006), a semistructured interview consists of pr eset questions, but the interviewer will add or remove questions as seems relevant or pursue new topics or lines of inquiry that may be suggested by the respondent. Information rega rding the appropriate research method was also ascertained from Wimmer and Dominick (2000). Since the investigator was conducting explor atory research, this method was considered for several reasons to be the optimal research method. According to Hollifield and Coffey (2006), gathering data from senior media executives needs to be in the form of an interview method as these executives will usually not respond to telephone or mail surveys. Wimmer and Dominick (2000) cite several key advantages of wh at they refer to as an unstructured intensive interview. It is proposed that these same advantages apply to a se mistructured interview methodology as well. First, a large variety of deta il can be ascertained. This is a result of the flexibility of the method and the ability of the interviewer to ask follow up questions relating to the unique answers given by each of the study partic ipants. The majority of responses made by the subjects differed in such a way that the in formation gathered by the follow up questions was vital to this study. Second, this research method provides for more accurate responses on

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90 sensitive issues which can be the result of th e rapport established betw een the interviewer and the subjects (Wimmer & Dominick, 2000). The executives were asked about the monetary investments they have made to realize the capabilities of digital televisi on as well as their thoughts on their relationship with the cable provid ers in their coverage areas, subjects that may not be answered or elaborated on using another research method due to their sensitive nature. Third, intensive inte rviewing is truly the only practical t echnique for assessing the thoughts of television station general managers on digital mu lticasting and ancillary services. For example, it would be difficult to get these busy television execu tives to take the time to fill out surveys. Similarly, it would be quite challenging to coordina te the schedules of a number of executives to make a focus group possible. Although there were many advantages to this research method, it did bring with it some challenges. First, it required an enormous amount of resources, in terms of both time and money, to travel to the various televi sion stations within the four D.M.A.s (see Appendix A). Second, since the interviews were semistructured, each of the participants may have answered different versions of the same question or different questi ons entirely. Third, there was the possibility of bias by the researcher both in terms of the wa y in which he asked the questions, but, also, the way in which the executives answers were interpreted. This is discussed further in Chapter 5 under the limitations of the study section. Selecting the Study Participants The resea rcher began by determining the characteristics of the ideal interview subject. The first determination made was that the subjec ts needed to be executives familiar with the strategic direction of the commerc ial television stations they repr esented. The reasoning for this is that the researcher aimed to evaluate how stations are utilizing di gital technology to more effectively compete and generate revenue for their broadcast operations and only commercial

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91 stations are in the pursuit of re venue. Ideally, the investigator wa nted to only interview general managers, but he decided that he would be wil ling to speak with an operations or engineering manager, in certain cases, if he was referred to these people by the ge neral manager. After careful consideration, it was decide d that the best way to investig ate the research questions was to compare the executives answers to the intervie w questions using their market area size as a means of identification a nd grouping. To do this, th e researcher considered the fact that there are 211 designated market areas (D.M.A.s) in the United States. From this, the researcher arbitrarily chose to divide these D.M.A.s into four dist inct groupings based on si ze. In addition, the investigator only wanted to anal yze stations affiliated with on e of the Big 4 networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox, because these stations would have the greates t likelihood of being sufficiently invested in digital technology. This strategy represents a purposeful samp le. According to Patton (1990), a purposeful sampling strategy selects information-rich cases for comprehensive study. Specific numbers and types of cases are deliberately and strategically selected and are suitable to the evaluations purposes and resources. This type of sampling is used in cases in which a researcher wants to ensure that certain cases varying on preselected pa rameters are included. In this case, market size was the primary parameter intended to vary. Although this kind of sa mpling is statistically nonrepresentative, it is, from a purposeful sa mpling standpoint, informationally representative (Trost, 1986). Using a stratified purposeful sa mpling technique, interviews we re set with managers of Big 4 affiliated and independent stations from the four different television designated market areas (D.M.A.s). These D.M.A.s ranged in size, and th ey included one from a 1-25 sized D.M.A., one from a 26-75 sized D.M.A., one from a 76-125 sized D.M.A., and one from a 126+ sized D.M.A.

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92 The stratified sampling technique is ideal for this study in that its aim is to illustrate characteristics of particular s ubgroups of interest, in this cas e the four different grouping based on size, and then to make comparisons betw een each of the groupings. The preselected parameter in this case is market size and the various core, supporting, an d environmental factors which affect the adoption of multicasting and ancillary services are the groupings which are to be compared. These sizes were chosen because the dynamics of these market sizes suggested that these D.M.A.s would substantially differ and woul d provide for the widest diversity of market characteristics and competitive situations. The a im of the researcher was to interview executives from several stations within each market size. Three were interviewed from 1-25 sized D.M.A. (2 from the same station), three from 26-75 sized D.M.A., two from 76-125 sized D.M.A., and one from 126+ sized D.M.A. As previously me ntioned, the investigator intended to interview executives at stations whose primary channel was affiliated with one of the Big 4 networks. However, one of the stations, the station in which 26-75 ES is employed, is an independent station. Although this station fell out of the init ial selection crite ria, the researcher thought it would be valuable to see what differences might exist between this st ation and the stations affiliated with the four largest networks. The stations represented varied in size from 25 employees on the low end to 150-175 on the high end. After deciding on the criteria of th e ideal study participant and the markets to be used in the study, the researcher gathered basic contact information for each of the stations and then proceeded to contac t each of the stations. Pre-Interview Procedure After gathering conta ct information online, the investigator called each Big 4 affiliate station in each market and attempted to speak with the general manager. In cases in which the names of the general managers were not found on the stations websites, the researcher would

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93 telephone each station and ask the receptionist for the name and phone number for the general manager. Subsequently, an introductory letter wa s mailed out that introduced the researcher and the details of the study. This was done so that th e station executives and their assistants would be somewhat familiar with the researcher and his in tentions by the time he made his first followup phone call to the station. During this followup call, the researcher began by introducing himself and indicating that he n eeded 45 minutes of the executives time to discuss the stations multicasting and ancillary/datacasting initiatives and the challenges they were currently facing. The investigator mentioned that he was a gr aduate student in tele communications at the University of Florida and that this interview w ould be part of a graduate thesis. Then, the researcher gained verbal approval to conduct the interview in-person and with the use of a tape recorder. The tape recorder was used to en sure an accurate and de tailed account of the interviewees comments and insight. Before conducting the research, the st udy methodology needed approval from the University of Florida Institutional Review Boar d (IRB). A submission form was completed and submitted and contained such information as the scientific purpose of the investigation as well as the research methodology. The IRB asked about the selection process used to gather subjects as well as the potential benefits and any anticipated risks that the subjects might experience. Also, the IRB asked for a copy of the informed consen t letter that would be sent to the television executives. After the submission form was revi ewed by the IRB, an approval letter was mailed to the investigator. Since the st udy was to involve interviews with the removal of all identifiers, the IRB approved the study and mailed the a pproval out in about two weeks. Conducting the Interviews For this study, nine television executives at eight different commercia l television stations were interviewed. Seven were interviewed in person and tw o were interviewed by phone over

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94 the course of approximately two months. Th e first interview was held on September 21, 2006 with the last taking place on N ovember 16, 2006. The in-person inte rviews were conducted with the use of a tape recorder to record exact responses while hand written notes were used in the phone interviews. Prior to the interviews, the re searcher had each of th e participants sign an informed consent form which conf irmed their willingness to particip ate in the study. It detailed the way in which the information shared would be used by the re searcher and it promised the interview subjects that all identifiers would be removed during the tran scription stage. The phone interviews were completed as a back up pl an for the researcher. Two of the executives were not able to meet in person and did not feel comfortable having their phone conversation recorded. Therefore, the methodol ogy and the informed consent form were amended to allow for this as the viewpoints of these executives were valuable to the study. The researcher submitted a protocol revision form to the I RB including the option of allowing the researcher to take notes while on the phone. The interviews were put on hol d for two weeks until th e researcher received a letter of approval from th e IRB for the revision. The researcher aimed to interview only genera l managers, but, in two of these cases, the researcher was referred to another department. In one case, the researcher was referred to the station operations manager and, in another, he was directed to a supervisor within the engineering department. In these two instan ces, these people were considered by station management to be the most knowledgeable on the topic area and, therefore, the best sources to answer the questions of the study. Research Questions and the Actual Interviews After a thorough review of the literature, the investigator was able to generate some questions which would be used to gauge the ex ecutives understanding of multicasting and how their stations were utilizing th e technology to their be nefit. The questions were open-ended and

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95 there was no set order for them so that the interv iewer could gain the wide st variety and most indepth information possible. The interviews ranged from 20 minutes to 2 hours, with the majority of them lasting about 45 minutes. Following a basic question to confirm the br oadcast ownership group that each station belonged to, the interviews consisted of subquest ions that were drawn from the three major research questions. Since these subquestions collectively answer the major research questions, the study is considered internally valid. The questions were gr ouped into three sections. The first section included questions intended for an understanding of multicasting and the factors influencing multicast programming st ations were planning to broad cast on their digital streams. The first section relates to research ques tion #1 (See Interview Question Protocol in Appendix D). RQ1: What are the primary factors which are driving the adoption of multicasting at broadcast outlets? The interviewees were asked about the numbe r of digital streams they are currently broadcasting and whether they are, in fact, multi casting. For the purposes of this research study, multicasting will be referred to as the use of two or more digital streams to broadcast two or more separate and unique programming streams. For example, if a station is simply simulcasting the programming of the primary stream on a second channel, this is not considered multicasting in the eyes of the researcher. In addition to th e question concerning multicasting, the executives were asked about th e level of influence that the ne tworks had over their selection of multicast channels and whether they were aw are of any multicasting initiatives within the broadcast group. Other questions included the costs involved in carrying these multicast channels as well as the methods for selling these streams to pote ntial advertisers. Lastly, the

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96 interviewees were asked about whether they were familiar with USDTV, the now out-ofbusiness, low-cost alternative to cable, discusse d in Chapter 2, and whether they felt that the service was a viable business concept. At the time of the interviews, USDTV was still in operation, although it had alrea dy declared bankruptcy. The second research section asked about an cillary services su ch as datacasting, subscription television programming, teletext, and interactive services. This section relates to research question #2 (See Interview Question Protocol in Appendix E). RQ2: What are the primary factors which ar e driving the adoption of various ancillary services (datacasting, subscription television prog ramming, teletext, and interactive services, etc.) at broadcast outlets? The interviewees were asked whether they were familiar with these digital ancillary services and whether or not they were currently offering them to viewers in their respective market areas. A similar line of questioning followed that mirrored that of the multicasting questions, such as the influence of the network, any potential stat ion group initiatives, the costs involved in carrying these channels, and the se lling of advertising on these channels. The third section deals with th e cable carriage of multicast cha nnels. This section pertains to research question #3 (See Interview Question Protocol in Appendix F). RQ3: How is the current FCC decision mandatin g that cable systems only have to carry a broadcasters primary video programming stream effecting the multicasting and ancillary service adoption decisions being made at broadcast outlets? The executives were asked whether or not they felt that their digital strategy would be any different if cable systems were mandated by the FCC to carry every multicast channel offered by broadcasters. Furthermore, the interview subjects we re asked whether or not they felt that

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97 affiliates in small markets have more or less of a chance of getting th eir multicast channels on cable systems. Similarly, the following question asked whether affiliates of the Big 4 networks have any more or less of a chance of getting their multicast channels on cable systems than affiliates of the smaller networks or independent stations. Furthermore, the executives were asked whether cable systems currently carried th eir multicast channels or not and what steps were involved in the process of enticing these ca ble systems to carry these channels. The final question asked whether or not the interviewees fe lt that their network affiliation or the clout of their broadcast group had any bear ing over their ability to get cab le carriage of their multicast channels. Data Analysis Following the inte rviews, detailed transcriptions were completed of the seven audio-taped interviews and the notes, taken during the two phone interviews, were summarized and organized by research question. After reading each of the transcriptions and notes twice, several key themes were identified and the sections pert aining to these themes were highlighted using a color-coded scheme. The findings were first grouped into the three groupings of factors identified in the framework of new media adoptio n discussed in Chapter 2, core, supporting, and environmental. After findings were placed into each of these three major groupings, findings were further divided into subgroupings. For instan ce, those characteristics dealing with the firm and media technology, in this case, multicasting a nd ancillary services, we re separated. The perceived overall strategic value, managerial kn owledge/incentives, and strategic networks made up the three subgroupings of the s upporting factors. Data pertaini ng to the environmental factors were classified into three subgroupings: market conditions, competition, and regulation/policy.

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98 Conclusion A stratified purposeful sam ple and semistructured interviews with these sample groupings were the chosen method by which the researcher looked to answer the research questions. Since this study was exploratory in nature, this met hodology made the most sense as the investigator was not sure what themes would arise from th e interviews not to mention the plethora of information given by the interview subjects. Th e researcher had a clea r understanding of the ideal participant and had a pre-interview procedur e that maximized the possibility of scheduling this subject for an interview. The first two major research questions focus on multicasting and ancillary services and the factors which are dr iving the decision whether or not to adopt the technologies and in what form. The third major research question focuses on the effect of the current FCC decision mandating that cable systems only have to carry a broadcasters primary video stream on the decisions that broadcaste rs are making in rega rds to multicasting and ancillary services. Following the administration of the interviews, the researcher identified themes and then segregated each theme into one of three categories ba sed on the framework of media adoption: core, supporting ,and environmen tal. Using these groupings as a guide, the researcher systematically reviewed the commen ts of each interview respondent and placed them into one of the three groupings.

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99 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS In this chapter, the answers and com ments pr ovided by the study participants in response to the interview questions posed are detailed. After profiles are provided for each of the respondents, their answers and comments regarding the three research qu estions are examined. The responses of the interviewees are ordered in a format following the framework proposed by Chan-Olmsted (2006) of new media adoption by media firms. The themes will be highlighted such that the characteristics that deal with the core, firm and media technology, are first discussed. The second group of themes will fo cus on the supporting areas which include the perceived overall strategic va lue, the managerial knowledge /incentives, and the strategic networks within which media firms become involved. Third, the environmental factors which include market conditions, competition, and regulati on will be detailed. As discussed in Chapter 2, all of these variables collectively influence the adoption of new media technology, in this case, multicasting and ancillary services. The first research question asks about the mu lticast business model stations are planning to adopt and the factors leading up to these decision s. There were a variety of subquestions that dealt with this major research question and, subsequently, a va riety of answers provided. The subquestions ranged from the number of digital streams being offered and the programming offered on these streams to questions pertaini ng to the influence of the network and the multicasting initiatives which may be in place at the ownership group level. The broad range of these questions evoked an equally diverse array of answers. Ques tions were also posed about the methods by which advertising is sold on the digi tal subchannels offered by the broadcasters questioned. The final subquestion ti ed to research question #1 as ked the study participants about their thoughts on USDTV, the wireless alternative to cable which is now out of business.

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100 The second research question asks about the types of ancillary services that stations are planning to offer and the variables which are in fluencing these decisions Although the original list of interview questions mirrors that of the first research question, only a few of the subquestions are discussed in this chapter due to the limited involveme nt of the interview subjects with ancillary servic es at the time the study was conducted. The interview questions asked, and the answers provided, deal with the pl ans that broadcasters have to offer these advanced services and the t ypes of content they are in tending to broadcast. The third research question delv es into the impact of the current FCC decision requiring that cable systems only have to carry a broa dcasters primary video stream on the digital business models being developed. There were a number of subquestions that dealt with this major research question. The comments provided by the interview subjects detailing their thoughts on the strategic differences that would exist in reacti on to an FCC mandate requiring cable systems to carry all the secondary streams broadcast by stations are reviewed. Next, the interview participants were asked about the effects of market size and a ne twork affiliation with one of the Big 4 networks on the likelihood of br oadcasters receiving carri age of their secondary digital channels. Another questi on asked about the current cable ca rriage arrangement that each station is receiving and the elements involved in the negotiation process. As an aside, the researcher promised anonym ity to the interview s ubjects. Whenever a specific identifying word was provide d in the interviews, it was replaced with a generic word in parenthesis during the transcripti on process. These generic word s and their format have been transferred from the interview transcriptions to this chapter. Profile of Interview Participants Before exploring the research findings, the inve s tigator feels that it is necessary to provide a brief descriptive profile of each of the interview participants. E ach of the interview subjects is

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101 identified as either in-person or over th e phone, depending upon the nature of the actual interaction. 1-25 GM A (in-person) is a vice president and general manager of a Big 4 network station in a Top 25 D.M.A. He has an extensive news management background and serves on the executive committee for the Florid a Association of Broadcasters. 1-25 GM B (phone) is general manager of a Top 25 D.M.A. Big 4 network station. He also serves as senior vice president for a ma jor broadcast ownership group and has extensive sales and sales management experience. 1-25 OM (in-person) is the di rector of broadcast operations and engineering for a Top 25 D.M.A. Big 4 network station. He has a comp rehensive background in television engineering. 26-75 GM A (phone) is the general manager of a 26-75 D.M.A. duopoly. This duopoly is made up of two Big 4 networks and includes an analog and digital cha nnel for each network. Also, this broadcast operation carries a digital su bchannel for one of the two stations. He serves on the executive committee for the Florida A ssociation of Broadcasters as well. 26-75 GM B (in-person) is the general ma nager of a 26-75 D.M.A. duopoly. The duopoly consists of two Big 4 networks and includes an analog and digital channel for each network. She has an extensive background in sales management and as a general manager and she serves on the affiliate board of one of the Big 4 networks. 26-75 ES (in-person) is an engineering superv isor for a 26-75 D.M.A. independent station. He has an extensive background in radio and television engineering. Al so, he has a Masters degree from the University of Florida in telecommunications. 76-125 GM A (in-person) is the general ma nager of a 76-125 D.M.A. digital duopoly. This duopoly is possible as one of the networks is first broadcast off of a low-power transmitter

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102 and then microwaved to a full-power transmitter and broadcast on the digital subchannel of the primary network. He has a comprehensive background in news, sales, and sales management. 76-125 GM B (in-person) is the general ma nager of a 76-125 D.M.A. digital duopoly. This duopoly is possible as one of the networks is broadcast on the dig ital subchannel of the primary network. This executive also serves as a regional vice presiden t for a major broadcast ownership group. 126+ GM (in-person) is the general manager of a 126+ D.M.A. digital duopoly. This duopoly, similar to that of 76-125 GM Bs station, is made possible through broadcasting of the secondary affiliation on the digital subchannel of the primary network. He has an extensive background in radio and television sa les and sales management. Status of Multicasting as of Interview Before delving into the fram ework of new media adoption by media firms, the status of multicasting will be discussed. The status is consider ed as of the date of the interview with each of the stations executives. As the researcher expected, all of the ex ecutives were quite familiar with multicast technology. As mentioned in Chapter 3, multicasting refers to the use of two or more digital streams to broadcast two or more separate and unique programming streams. Although the executives were familiar with multicasting, not all of them were utilizing the technology as of Table 4-1. Stations Multicasting as of Interview Date Broadcast Outlet Multicasting? Yes No 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A (duopoly) x 26-75 GM B (duopoly) x 26-75 ES x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x

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103 their interview, as illustrated in Table 4-1. Th e station where 1-25 GM A and 1-25 OM served as managers was not multicasting as of the intervie w date. Also, the stations, where 26-75 GM B and 26-75 ES were employed, were not multicasting as well. To fully assess the multicasting that was taking pl ace at the various television stations as of their interview, it is necessary to examine the specifics of the digital streams broadcast. As seen in Table 4-2, the majority of the statio ns were offering two digi tal streams. 1-25 GM A and 1-25 OMs station was broadcasting two dig ital streams, one HD (primary stream) and one SD stream, which simulcasted the content of the primary stream. Naturally, the only content on the primary stream that was in HD was the network HD programming, such as some prime programming, select sporting ev ents, and a few news programs and talk shows. Also, 26-75 ESs station simulcasted its anal og content on its .1 and .2 digital subchannels. The .2 digital Table 4-2. Number and Format of Digital Streams Broadcast Broadcast Station Number & Type of Digital Stream 1 HD 1 HD & 1 SD 1 HD & 1 SD Simulcast Simulcast Separate & Unique 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A 1 x 26-75 GM A 2 x 26-75 GM B 1 x 26-75 GM B 2 x 26-75 ES x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x channel was being used to help feed cable compan ies in outlying areas that were unable to pick up the analog signal. This is not considered multicasting under the rese archers aforementioned definition. However, 1-25 GM B, 76-125 GM A, 76-125 GM B, and 126+ GM offered one HD

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104 and one SD stream with unique and separat e programming broadcast on the second channel, which was considered multicasting under the definition used by the researcher for the purposes of this study. 26-75 GM A was broadcasting one HD and one SD channel for one of his two stations while 26-75 GM B was broadcasting only one digital channel for each station. Two of the broadcast op erations planned to begin multicas ting within six months, whereas another broadcaster was not sure (see Table 4-3). 1-25 GM A and 1-25 OM who, as previously mentioned, represented the same station, st ated that they would begin multicasting in the next month or two and would thus cease the digital simulcast that they were currently broadcasting (1-25 GM A, personal communica tion, October 16, 2006). In addition, 26-75 GM Table 4-3. Time Frame for Non-Mult icasters to Begin Multicasting Broadcast Outlets Not Currently Multicasting Time Frame to Begin Multicasting Within 6 Months Not Sure 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x 26-75 GM B (duopoly) x 26-75 ES x B mentioned that her multicast chan nel would be launched at the first of the year (2007) on the digital subchannel of one of her two existing ch annels. 26-75 ES, however, did not know when his station would start multicasting. He stated that his compa ny had entertained the idea and may have been in negotiations to carry a c ouple of multicast channels but no agreement had been made as of the time of the interview. Viewpoints on USDTV: The Wireless Alternative to Cable Before discussing the fram ework of new medi a adoption proposed by Chan-Olmsted, it is necessary to briefly look at th e perception the respondents had of USDTVs wireless alternative to cable. The study subjects were asked whether or not they believed the company had a viable business concept.

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105 Reasons cited for why USDTVs business mo del was not viable As summarized in Table 4-4, nearly all of the executives believed that the business model was not viable. 26-75 GM B said that since US DTV had declared bankruptcy, then apparently it did not have a viable business concept. She mentioned that the industry has reached a plateau, a point where weve been prodded and pick ed at from all corners now in the television Table 4-4. Reasons Why or Why Not that USDTV was a Viable Business Concept Broadcast Outlet Was USDTV a Viable Concept? Yes No/Ahead of Its Time 26-75 GM B x Problems with churn Limited channel offering Difficult to deal with variety of owners 26-75 ES x Competition from established cable & satellite companies Having to compete with consumer habits 76-125 GM A x Challenging road ahead Could ultimately succeed as people become educated about the days when people picked up over-the-air signals with antennas 76-125 GM B x Legitimate, especially in markets in which the Big 4 affiliates are broadcasting 3 or 4 subchannels 126+ GM x Could not offer service in smaller markets because of lack of bandwidth Needs to be in market where all of the transmitters are in one location

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106 business and were pretty consistent (per sonal communication, Nove mber 7, 2006). When looking into broadcasters using their own spectrum to deliver cab le signals, 26-75 GM B did not know if there was that much demand. She fe lt that the cable companies and the satellite providers do a pretty decent job of deliv ering a wide variety of content. The second problem with USDTV was that pe ople are accustomed to receiving a wide variety of channels. She stated, If youre goi ng to belly-up for cable or DirecTV, you know the basic packages include significantly more [channels ] than a stations ability to provide [various channels] using their spectrum as a cable provider (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006). The third problem with USDTVs wireless cabl e alternative, as stated by 26-75 ES, was that it was at best, ahead of its time (perso nal communication, November 7, 2006). One of the major challenges that the company faced was that it tried to compete with some well-established cable and satellite companies not to mention th e habits of the consumer (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). Consumers are accustomed to a cable installer coming to their home, hooking up their television set to a cable and cable box, and, im mediately thereafter, receiving nearly one hundred channels. The fourth major challenge faced by USDTV wa s that although its overall service price was lower than other multichannel video pr ogram distributors (MVPDs) (see Appendix A), the cost-per-channel was higher than either cable or satellite. This higher price per channel coupled with the limited variety of channels represented, in the opinion of 26-75 ES, two obstacles that made it especially difficult for US DTV to draw subscribers from either cable or satellite (personal communicat ion, November 7, 2006).

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107 Although USDTV eventually went out of business, as of November 1, 2006, 76-125 GM A said that he would love to see them succeed. However, he felt that it would be a challenging road ahead for the company. He felt that there was a chance that USDTV could ultimately succeed as people become more educated about what it was like in the days before cable when antennas were used to pick up free, over-the-air television signals. If people could be reeducated that they can pick up a variety of channels for free over the airwaves, or for only $20 a month, then it could, potentially, be a whol e different story (76-125 GM A, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 126+ GM said that one of the problems that was experienced by USDTV was that for the company to service a particular ma rket, it would need to have suffi cient bandwidth available. He states, They couldnt do it in ( 126+ market) because they couldnt get enough bandwidth, theres not enough stations (126+ GM, pers onal communication, September 21, 2006). Not only would it have to be a larger market, but it also would have to be a market in which all of the television transmitters are in one location (personal communication, September 21, 2006). Reasons cited for why USDTVs busine ss model could have been viable 76-125 GM B felt that the business concept us ed by USDTV was legitimate; especially when you look at a local market in which th e ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox affiliates are each broadcasting three or possibly even four digital subchannels. This means a potload of stations that people can pick up either over-the-air fo r free or through an MVPD, such as another USDTV-type service, cable, or satellite ope rator (76-125, personal communication, November 1, 2006). If a distributor were to add a 24-hour weather channel, a 24-hour news channel, or yet another network to the mix, then a company like USDTV would be able to start competing with the satellite and cable co mpanies (personal communication, November 1, 2006).

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108 Core Characteristics The first m ajor segment of factors to be discusse d is that of the core. The core consists of both firm characteristics and medi a technology characteristics. The firm characteristics in this research study deal with the affiliation of the st ation as well as the broadcast ownership group to which it belongs. An important pa rt of this is also the organi zational strategic traits of the station, its degree of entrepreneurship, and its co mpetitive repertoire. Also of consideration are current new media holdings, histor ical performance, size, and ag e. All of these components apply to the network to which the station is affiliated, the ownership group to which the broadcaster belongs, and the management of the television operation itself. Firm Characteristics The f irst variable to be discussed is that of a stations affiliation and its affect on the multicast and datacast model chosen by the broa dcaster. Although a stations affiliation does serve as an example of a strategic, for the pur poses of this research study, the affiliation is classified as a firm characteristic. The reasoning for this is that a stations affiliation is one of three entities, the others being the ownership group and the stations management team, which dictate the stations organizational strategic tr aits, degree of entrepreneurship, and competitive repertoires. The current new media holdings, historical performance, size, and age of the network to which the station is affiliated are also of influence to the broadcaster. Station affiliation In this research study, the networ k being referred to is the network which is carried on the stations primary video stream not the netw ork being carried on th e secondary stream. As demonstrated in Table 4-5, there was a strong consensus among the executives interviewed that the network had very little influence over what multicast channels their stations

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109 Table 4-5. Level of Influence of the Network over Local Multicasting Broadcast Outlets Currently Level of Influence of Network Multicasting None Moderate High No Answer 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A x (partnership) 26-75 GM B x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x were broadcasting. 1-25 GM B, 26-75 GM B, and 76-125 GM A all claimed that the network had no influence over the content carri ed on their multicast channels. 1-25 GM A mentioned that his network has toyed with the idea of doing a 24-hour news channel, but those talks have languished and have probably fallen apart. He continued, by saying, And as far as I know, those talks have stalled over revenue models and how to split potential revenue from a second channel that would be an all-news channel (1-25 GM A, personal communication, October 16, 2006). Naturally, however, the networks do have some influence in cases in which they distribute programming to their affiliates. 26-75 GM A mentioned that although his network, one of the Big 4, conceived the id ea of (weather multicast channel), it is not something that they mandated that all of their affiliates carry. Th e idea behind the weather multicast channel was to be a partnership between the netw ork and its affiliates. 26-75 GM B mentioned that one of the Big 4 networks that she carries had discussed providing programming fo r a subchannel, but the idea just never materialized. Effect of Big 4 affiliation. The effect of having a Big 4 affiliation is further assessed by comparing it to the effect of carrying an affiliati on with one of the smaller networks, such as The CW or My Network, or broadcas ting as an independent station.

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110 As illustrated in Table 4-6, four of the executives claimed that there is more of a chance for a Big 4 affiliate to receive multicast carriage. 1-25 GM B remarked that there is more value associated with the four major networks (personal communication, November 15, 2006). Table 4-6. Likelihood that Having a Big 4 Affilia tion Will Influence Multicast Cable Carriage More Than Will a Smaller Network or Independent Station Broadcast Outlet & Its More or Less of a Chance to Receive Multicast Carriage? Primary Affiliation More of a Chance Less of a Chance Depends on Other Factors 1-25 GM B (Big 4) More value associated with the four major networks Gives a broadcaster more leverage 26-75 GM A x (Big 4 Duopoly) Offering compelling content is the way to increase value Big 4 networks have the greatest capacity to do this 26-75 GM B x Based on market demand and politics (corporate deals that are already in place) 26-75 ES x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x (Big 4 Digital Duopoly) What matters is carriage on the cable analog tier Timing of retransmission negotiations is important

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111 Having one of the top four network affiliations gives a broadcaster more leverage in their negotiations with cable systems. In the case of his station, 1-25 GM B stated that if a cable system wants to carry ( Big 4 network ), then the cable system will also have to carry ( local multicast weather channel ) (personal communication, November 15, 2006). 26-75 GM A felt that affiliates of the Big 4 networks in a market do have more of a chance of getting their multicast channels on cab le systems than affiliates of the smaller networks or independent stations He declared that offering co mpelling content is the way to increase value and the Big 4 networks have th e greatest capacity to offer the most alluring content (26-75 GM A, personal communication, November 16, 2006). 26-75 ES felt that the Big 4 networks have a greater chance of getting their multicast channels on cable systems than the smaller affiliates and independent stations. As mentioned earlier, his station is an independent. He mentioned that ( local MSO ) carries the digital streams of the Big 4 affiliates as well as PBS in his market, while The CW and his independent station are not carried. Both his stati on and The CW affiliate were in negotiations for cable carriage at the time of the interview (26-75 ES, pe rsonal communication, N ovember 7, 2006). 26-75 ES claimed, Part of our handicap, right now, is getting high-def programming to showcase (personal communica tion, November 7, 2006). A good deal of the syndicated versions of many television seri es are not being distributed in high-definition. For instance, when his station first began runni ng the syndicated version of CSI, he was told that they could not gain access to the high-def version as it was being reserved to run on the network (CBS). 2675 ES believed that stations did not contest this much because many of them were unable to play high-definition. As suggested by 26-75 ES, Its kind of chicken and the egg. You dont go out

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112 and try high-def because its been expensive, unless youve got something you can play with it (personal communication, November 7, 2006). 76-125 GM A responded to this issue by saying that there is absolutely more of a chance for an affiliate of one of the Big 4 networks to negotiate carriage of its digital secondary channels than if the station were an affiliate of one of the smaller networks or an independent station (personal communication, November 1, 2 006). He continued by agreeing with 1-25 GM B that when a broadcaster has a Big 4 affiliati on, they have more leverage. 76-125 GM A then mentioned a competitor in his market that threatened to take their primary, Big 4 affiliation channel away from the cable company since th e cable operator would not carry its digital subchannel on its analog tier. He said that the broadcaster really could not afford to have the cable operator not carry its Big 4 affiliate signal and, therefore, it was an empty threat. He maintained that there has to be other ways to negotiate carriage in situations in which you cannot really threaten the local cable operator. Strong effect of network affiliation on cable carriage Since to date there is no multicast carriage mandate, stations need to rely on voluntary carriage. The interview subjects were asked about network affiliation and its eff ect on a station receiving voluntary carriage. Three of the current multicasters felt that networ k affiliation is a strong determinant of voluntary multicast cable carriage (see Table 4-7). 1-25 GM B stated that the network has a lot to do with our ability to get cable carriage of our pr ogramming (personal communication, November 15, 2006). 26-75 GM A said that he believes that his ne twork affiliation was key to his ability to receive multicast cable carriage. He remarked, We are a strong (Big 4 affiliation) and (Big 4 affiliation) affiliate and we are in a growth mode so cable companies will want to carry our

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113 Table 4-7. Multicasters Views on the Effects of Network Affiliation and Broadcast Ownership Group on Ability to Receive Cable Carriage Current Multicasters Dominant Factors & Thei r Level of Effect on Multicast Cable Carriage 1-25 GM B Network has a lot to do with ability to get carriage Most negotiating done on a local level 26-75 GM A Network has a str ong influence on ability to receive cable carriage Station has two strong affiliations and the operation is in a growth mode 76-125 GM A Respondent provided no comment 76-125 GM B Respondent provided no comment 126+ GM Network affiliation has a great deal to do with ability to get carriage If he still had only a minor affiliation, he would have some problems programming (26-75 GM A, personal communi cation, November 16, 2006). In addition, he mentioned that high-profile programming, such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl, help (Big 4 network) and (Big 4 network) a ffiliates a great deal in their negotiations with cable providers (26-75 GM A, personal communi cation, November 16, 2006). 126+ GM answered this question by claiming that his network affiliation had a lot to do with his ability to get cable carriage of his digi tal subchannel. He said that if he still had only a minor affiliation then he would have some problems. He added, Frankly, (multicast digital channel ) is on because of the ( Big 4 network ) and the HD (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). Ownership group The second variable to be discussed is that of the ownership group to which a television station belo ngs. The ownership group can have a strong impact on the multicast and datacast

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114 model chosen by a broadcaster. As with aff iliation, the ownership group also could fall under the category of a strategic network, when its re lationship with a broadcaster is taken into account. However, in this study, the ownership gr oup is considered a firm characteristic. The reasoning for this is that a stations ownership group is one of three entities, the others being the network with which the station is affiliated and the stations management team, which dictate the stations organizational strategic traits, degree of entrepreneurship, and competitive repertoires. The current new media holdings, hi storical performance, size, and age of the ownership group are also of influence to the broadcaster. Involvement of ownership group with multicasting. As illustrated in Table 4-8, two of the station executives interviewed mentioned defini te multicast initiatives being realized at the Table 4-8. Multicast Initia tives Within Station Group Broadcast Outlets Multicast Initiatives Within Station Group 26-75 GM B Creation of a multicast channel (not music or weather) Negotiating completed at the corporate level, but was done locally in the past 26-75 ES Local weather cha nnel launched in a Top 25 market Internet and webchannel full of news & video 76-125 GM B Picking up My Network, The CW & Fox to run on digital channels the station group level. The first television executive mentioned that her ownership group was actually creating a channel for multicast. 26-75 GM B said that the channel will not be a syndicated product and that it will not be a type of weather or music channel. The channel will be primarily programmed by the broadcast group; however, stations will have the option of

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115 incorporating their own local pr ogramming as they see fit. 26-75 GM B mentioned that her station will be developing lo cal programming as time moves on for the channel (personal communication, November 7, 2006). The second executive (26-75 ESs comments are detailed below), 76-125 GM B, claimed that ( station ownership group), as a company, has really gotten into multicast (personal communication, November 1, 2006). The executive mentioned that his group had picked up My Network and The CW to run as multicast channels for both of their Florida stations as well as one of their Alabama st ations. Another station, in Georgia, had picked up My Network and, in smaller markets, the br oadcast group had picked up Fox to run on its digital subchannels. Furthermore, several television executives mentioned that they have a lot of autonomy in deciding how multicasting can most effectively meet their stations needs. 1-25 GM B, 26-75 GM A, and 26-75 GM B all claimed that their st ation groups allow them a lot of control over what they feel is best for their individual co mmunities. However, as mentioned by 1-25 GM B, the more stations that group together in a multicasting effort, the more clout that these stations will individually have (personal communication, November 15, 2006). Broadcast ownership groups in many cases wo rk with cable systems in determining cable carriage of their broadcasters signals. 26-75 GM Bs digital subchannel is also carried on the cable systems in the market. In this case, th e negotiations with the cable systems took place at the corporate level. At one point, the broadcast ownership group gave its broadcast stations the autonomy to negotiate cable carri age individually. 26-75 GM B fe lt that it is probably most beneficial if theyre negotiated locally because generally you can get to know the people and you work a good deal (26-75 GM B, personal co mmunication, November 7, 2006). However, she was satisfied with the deal her station received.

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116 1-25 GM A says that his broadcast owners hip group has more leverage with the cable companies than most in that it owns two popul ar cable networks in addition to broadcast television stations. His broadcast ownership group gives his st ation some bargaining chips because most cable companies want to clear those channels (1-25 GM A, personal communication, October 16, 2006). Ownership group explores mult icasting in another market. 26-75 ES mentioned that his broadcast ownership group is looking into di fferent ways in which multicast technology can be utilized to generate revenue. The ownershi p group has a station in a Top 25 market that is currently broadcasting its version of a local weather ch annel. That weat her channel includes a radar box, a box containing news clips and promos and a ticker along the bottom, much like CNN or Fox News Channel. However, in the case of 26-75 ESs station, the company wants to be careful because they dont want to detract from the independent and doing eight hours of news a day (26-75 ES, personal communicatio n, November 7, 2006). Whatever multicast model is chosen, it needs to supplement not detract from their primary, news-focused channel. Currently, the broadcas t ownership group is delving into the Internet and is focused on providing a webchannel full of news and video which will be of inte rest to not only viewers, but advertisers as well (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). Ownership groups effect on development of HD news. In exploring the new options arising from the conversion from analog to digita l, 1-25 OMs station is considering HD news. He mentioned that if he gets the appropriate funds and it is wh at management wants to do, then his station will move forward. The station ow nership group has introduced it in a few markets already.

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117 Involvement of ownership group with ancillary services. As ancillary services are a relatively unexplored digital phenomenon, the involvement of the ownership groups in the individual stations development of these services vary greatly. As detailed in Table 4-9, some of the executi ves felt that the decisi on to pursue ancillary services is more of a corporate decision. 1-25 OM stated that his broadcast ownership group had looked into datacasting and ot her ancillary services. ( Broadcast ownership group) was a member of a consortium of companies that ha d an interest in a firm that would develop datacasting. This entity would supply data and other content, whether it was in the form of movies, games, or software, to broadcast stat ions. 1-25 OM felt that the company had what appeared to be a good business model (per sonal communication, October 16, 2006). Despite the business model and the number of ideas sh ared by the various companies within the consortium, the ancillary/data casting service just never mate rialized (1-25 OM, personal communication, October 16, 2006). Table 4-9. Involvement of Ownership Group in Decision to Pursue Ancillary Services Broadcast Outlet Involvement of Ownership Group in Decision to Pursue Ancillary Services More of a Local Decision More of a Corporate Decision 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A (duopoly) x 26-75 GM B (duopoly) x 26-75 ES x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x 26-75 GM B affirmed that she was familiar w ith datacasting and ancillary services, but she did not have plans to provide this kind of service. Furthermore, she stated that it is possible that her station could do it in the future. She declared that provid ing ancillary services, such as

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118 datacasting and subscription tele vision, would be more of a cor porate initiative than a local decision. However, if her broadcast ownership group were to approach her and say that it had solidified a deal with AT&T or whomever and th e ownership group provided specifics as to the bandwidth they would be necessary among other th ings, then she would be confident in moving forward with the technology. As of th e interview, this had not happened. 26-75 ES responded to this issu e by saying that he was not aware of any plans to datacast or provide subscription program ming, although he admitted that some plans could be in the works. He said that the broadcast ownershi p company tends to look at ways of building nontraditional revenue first. 26-75 ES mentioned that his company is always open to considering new and innovative ways of generati ng revenue, but it is careful in implementing these ideas. Most importantly, he stated, They dont want to throw money at something that would detract, or take away, resources from the core, existi ng business (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). Also, the company considers how long it will take before it sees a return on its investment when c onsidering new business ventures. Various ownership groups created one of the biggest challenges for USDTV. One of the potential reasons for USDTV not working out is that it did not have all of the local stations on board with the service. According to 26-75 GM B, it was very difficult to do this because the company had to negotiate with different owners hip groups, network ownedand-operated stations (O&Os), and independent stations To prove this point she st ated, The objectives and the priorities of the ABC television network are going to be substantially different than the priorities of the Emmis or the priorities of a Harry Pappas who, you know, an individual owner whos really the wild card (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

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119 Media Technology Characteristics The next set of variables d eal with the nature of new m edia technology, in this case, multicasting and datacasting. 1-25 GM A stated that it is the hope that lo cal television stations will have what the FCC promised years ago, a multicasting system allowing each station to have as much as 16 MHZ of bandwidth. According to 1-25 GM A, broadcaste rs are dug in as an industry because four distinct signals could potentially be sent out from one stati on (personal comm unication, October 16, 2006). Nevertheless, 26-75 ES sees the challenges that lay before the cable systems in dealing with multicasting and datacasting. He said that if he were the technical guy over on the cable side he might feel differently about having to try and squeeze everything into a cable. He continued by stating, Ill say, being a technical person, I feel his pain (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). USDTV and its media tec hnology characteristics One of the primary problems with the business model that was used by USDTV, according to 26-75 GM B, was that its custom er base was a lower-income household as the company was offering only a basic package with a limited number of channels. 26-75 GM B felt like there probably was a lot of chur n as people neglected paying their bills and later got shut off. Newness and content distribution Multicasting and ancillary services can be examined by l ooking into their degree of newness to a station and a local market. In additi on, the need to distri bute a content product more efficiently is an important factor in determ ining the feasibility of these digital technologies. 126+ GM said that his station produces a local show about various destinations within a short distance from the city served by his station. The station w ill also be producing and

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120 carrying a high school basketball program in addition to several political shows that it is doing in conjunction with the local cable fr anchise. 126+ GM stated, We have more room to run them on ( multicast channel ). We actually can use that multicasting digital tool to r un more local stuff because we have more avails on that than we do ( Big 4 affiliate ) (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). Also, local churches, a college coachs show, a local police show, and a locally-produced program fo r sportsmen are run on its multicast channel. To gauge the amount of new programming bei ng offered by broadcasters, a look at the types of in-house programming being developed on these multicast channels is necessary. The broadcasters involved in this study were producing weat her, news, and local interest in-house programming. 1-25 GM B said that his station was running a 24-7 local weather channel and that it was fully automated. E very three hours a meteorologist shoots a new segment. There is a 5-minute wheel which continually airs throughout th e day that includes one minute of commercials (1-25 GM B, personal communication, November 15, 2006). Table 4-10. Type of In-House Programmi ng Being Aired on Multicast Channels Broadcast Outlet Type of In-House Programming Being Aired None Weather News Local Interest 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x 76-125 GM B stated that he ran news on his digital subchannel. In regards to the news, he said, We do a potluck. I mean, were the dominant station in this market (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006). His station currently runs a 7pm. newscast on his multicast channel.

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121 Complementarities Complementarities in terms of digital televi sion refer to a situation in which multiple channels broadcast are more valuable than simply offering a single channel. The new program content on the secondary channel is an exampl e of horizontal complementarity. There is a variety of content being broadcas t by the operations of the executives interviewed. There were also a variety of reasons behind the se lection of a combination of programming. Reasons cited by stations currently multicasting for a particular combination of multicast programming. As highlighted in Table 4-11, th ere were are a number of reasons provided for the current multicasters to carry a particular combination of programming. Table 4-11. Reasons Provided by Current Mul ticasters for Carrying This Combination of Programming Broadcast Outlets Currently Reasons for Carrying this Combination of Multicasting 1-25 GM B Weather is the #1 area of interest in news studies Wanted to offer completely local weather 26-75 GM A Respondent provided no comment 76-125 GM A Respondent provided no comment 76-125 GM B Wanted to have flexibility to program channel Wanted to offer local news as station dominates the market 126+ GM Wanted to provide an outlet for local businesses Local involvement Place for syndicated programming that did not have an outlet 1-25 GM B decided to air a 24/7 local weat her channel on his multi cast channel for two major reasons. First of all, weather is the #1 ar ea of interest in many ne ws studies. Second, the

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122 weather product differs from NBC Weather Plus, which airs on a competitors station in the market, because it is completely local (125 GM B, personal communication, November 15, 2006). 76-125 GM B is pleased to air My Network as it gives him flexibility to program the channel the way he prefers. He actually had an opportunity to carry The CW on digital, but he did not for the simple fact that he would lose th e flexibility to program the channel. My Network only ties up two hours of prime at night five da ys per week and these two hours are all he is losing by using this network as a digital multicast channel. When his station carried UPN in the past, his local programming had better ratings than UPN Prime so he felt that carrying My Network would be the best avenue for his digita l subchannel. Also, he liked the idea of being able to carry a local news produc t as his station, as previously mentioned, dominates the market in news (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 126+ GM claimed that his station uses its combination of programming to get some local flavor and give them [l ocal businesses] an outlet for their shows (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). By having a multicast channel available, it allows 126+ GMs station to bring more shows to the market place, such as syndicated programming that did not have an outlet. His station carries a lot of the syndicated shows that cater to an AfricanAmerican audience, like My Wife & Kids, One on One, and Girlfriends, th at did not have an outlet on which to air in the market (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). Reasons cited by stations not currently mu lticasting for a particular combination of future multicast programming. Two of the stations, represented by 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM and 26-75 GM B, are not currently multicasting. However, they did provide rationale as to why they

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123 would be launching digital subchannels in the few months following their interview with the researcher (see Table 4-12). 1-25 GM A stated that his station is going to launch a weather channel because that is the smart thing to do as far as business goes and marketing yourself goes and making the commitment to the community goes, and having our brand of weather on (1-25 GM A, personal communica tion, October 16, 2006). He also mentioned that some people like (local meteorologist ), his stations main meteorologist, an d they want his opinion as to what is going on in regards to the w eather. Furthermore, 26-75 GM B mentioned that her stations plans to broadcast a channel created by its broa dcast ownership group is an appropriate avenue Table 4-12. Reasons Provided by Future Mul ticasters for Carrying This Combination of Programming Broadcast Outlets Planning Reasons Cited for Particular Combination of to Multicast Multicast Programming 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM Marketing/branding Commitment to community Popularity of local weathercaster 26-75 GM B Ability to localize to their market Branding by providing a unique product because her station will have the authority to localize it to its pa rticular market. She said, We believe in the localness of the whole thing and that we will differentiate ourselves by providing something that no one else can. And the only thi ng that we can provide that others cant are purely local (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006). Station considers an additional multicast channel 1-25 GM B said that his station is considering a Spanish-language channel and a Mo tor Trends channel as of now. The Spanishlanguage and Motor Trends channels would be aired only during the day as the necessary bandwidth will not be available dur ing the evening hours since most of the programs at this time will be broadcast in HD.

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124 Technology cost The cost of implem enting multicas ting is considerable and a majo r factor in the desire of broadcasters to adopt the new technology. Th e executives were asked about these technology costs. Table 4-13. Costs Involved in Ca rriage of Multicast Channels Broadcast Outlets Costs cited in the carriage of multicast channels 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM More money spent on analog side as compared to digital HD cameras cost $100K and studio anchors and sled cost $50K 1-25 GM B Major expense is on a server capable of handling multiple channels 26-75 GM A Major expense is on a server capable of handling multiple channels 76-125 GM B Electricity expense is substantial when broadcasting both analog an analog and a digital signal $30K per month for both analog and digital 126+ GM $100-150K to acquire equipment to run 1 stream in addition to HD and SD streams $50K for multiplexing of 4 signals $100K for conversion of signals to digi tal and then broadcasting them _____________________________________________________________________________ As illustrated in Table 4-13, there are a variet y of costs associated with the upgrade to a digital multicast facility. Some of the televisi on executives mentioned similar technology costs, while others mentioned differing technology expenses. 1-25 OM went into great deta il about the necessary equipm ent needed in the analog to digital conversion. On the digital side, the equipment includes the transmitter, the antenna, the transmission line, and encoders. This includes the equipment th at would allow the station to switch back and forth between a local digital upconverted signal and network HD. On the analog side, a fair amount of equipment is also needed, much of it simply to convert an analog signal to digital. 1-25 OM mentioned that his sta tion uses serial digital interface (SDI) type of

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125 video where when an operator flips the switching device he is ensuring th at when a video signal comes out of the switcher, it is digital instead of analog. This conversion from analog to digital is not part of the original capital expenditure fo r the DTV station. He said that he has spent a little more since the conversion in 1999 in additional equipment fo r the DTV side, but it is small compared to what he has spent for the anal og side (personal communication, October 16, 2006). As mentioned previously, this station is in the pr ocess of exploring th e possibility of an HD news. An HD camera with a field lense ru ns about $100,000 and studio anchors and a sled, to mount the camera on, cost about $50,000. Alt hough this sounds expensive, the prices have gotten quite low on the HD gear as compared to what they once were in relation to the SD cameras. According to 1-25 OM, it is advantag eous to go ahead and purchase HD cameras even if you only use the SD output for a while (perso nal communication, October 16, 2006). 1-25 GM B and 26-75 GM A mentioned that major costs are associated with getting multicast channels up and running. A major part of getting these channels operating properly is a server capable of handling these multiple channels, according to 26-75 GM A (personal communication, November 16, 2006). 1-25 GM B c ited the computer server as the biggest component to getting multicast channels operational He said that the stations weather bug and a variety of other informati on pull from this server (pers onal communication, November 15, 2006). According to 76-125 GM B, the electricity expense alone is pret ty substantial for broadcasting a digital signal alongside an an alog one. His analog transmitter costs about $8,000 a month in electricity and his di gital is about three times as mu ch. 76-125 GM B did not specify as to the reasoning behind the significantly higher cost of electricity for his digital transmitter over his analog. Nevertheless, he pays over $30,0 00 a month in electricity alone for both the

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126 analog and the digital, which is frustrating fo r 76-125 GM B when he considers just how few people are actually picking up his digital si gnal (personal communica tion, November 1, 2006). According to 126+ GM, it would cost $100,000 to $150,000 just to acquire all of the equipment that would be necessary to run an additional stream or two on top of the HD and SD streams already being broadcast. It costs around $50,000 to actually do the multiplexing of four signals and about $100,000 converti ng the signals to digital and then getting those streams broadcast (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). Supporting Factors These factors include the perceived strategi c value of the new medi a technology, the level of knowledge that managers have of the techno logy in question as well as the incentives they have in pursuing a new alternative. In addi tion, the various strategic networks to which a broadcast operation belongs also is a major supporting factor. Perceived Strategic Value The value of a new m edia technology can be analyzed by examining its perceived contribution to the firms overall strategic po sture. Porter (1980) suggested three major approaches: market segmentation, low cost, and differentiation. The methods by which the broadcast outlets represented by the respondents are curre ntly or planning to sell advertising on their multicast channels serve as examples of these major approaches. Methods of selling advertisin g on multicast channels: Stations currently multicasting Table 4-14 details the m ethods of selling a dvertising for the broadcasters currently multicasting. As can be seen, most of the broadcasters are utilizing more than one method. Both 1-25 GM B and 26-75 GM A, are selling advertising on their multicast weather channels. 1-25 GM B has his sales staff sell most of the advertising on long-term contracts of 6

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127 Table 4-14. Current Multicasters Methods of Selling Advertising Current Multicasters Meth od of Selling Ad Time on Digital Channels Spots Packaged Spots Bundled Fixed Spots on with Primary with Website Billboard Digital Station Only Channel Only 1-25 GM B x x x x 26-75 GM A x x x x 76-125 GM A x x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x x 12 months or more. Both stations sometimes sell just a fixed billboard to be placed on the screen throughout the weather forecasts. Other times, they sell both the logo space and 30-second spots. According to 26-75 GM A, he is given 12 minutes per hour to sell on his network-developed multicast channel (personal communication, November 16, 2006). In addition, the selling of advertising on th e weather multicast channel is sometimes bundled with that on the core channel as well as the stations websites. 26-75 GM A claimed that there is no opportunity that we wouldnt lo ok at, but at what point do you reach critical mass. It is important to reach critical mass be fore you have invested too much into the business model (personal communication, November 16, 2006). The smaller market stations are all selling advertising on their existing multicast channels, which are either affiliated with The CW or My Network. They are primarily selling 30-second spots on these digital subchannels. 76-125 GM A said that it was hard to tell wh ether or not he would sell spots specifically for yet another digital multicast channel. He re vealed that there were plenty of advertising schedules bought that were for ( Big 4 network ) that his account executives ended up selling some CW time on as well. He realized that some of these advertising dollars are cannibalized from his primary station, but, for the most part, the sales team keeps the stations separate. The other

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128 factor that 76-125 GM A pointed ou t about carrying digital subchannels is that it is critical to have must-carry on the areas cable systems. His CW station is in a unique situation in that it is first broadcast off of a low-power 200 ft. tower and then microwaved to a full-power 2,000 ft. tower. From the full-power tower, it is rebroad cast as a secondary digital subchannel on channel ( number ).2 (personal communication, November 1, 2006). When asked whether his sales staff packages advertising on the digital subchannel with that of the main channel, 76-125 GM B stated that they do not really package it together, but they sell both. Having both stations avai lable provides the salesperson with more tricks in his bag. He said, You can walk in and go, well look, if you want to get in that time period, and youre looking at that demo, or youre looking fo r some cheap spots, Ive got some on ( multicast network) (76-125 GM B, personal comm unication, November 1, 2006). Methods of selling advertising on multicast channels: Stations not currently multicas ting In looking at the three future multicasters, two of them are planning to sell advertising on multicast channels (shown in Table 4-15). 125 GM A reported that he could sell 30-second Table 4-15. Future Multicasters Methods of Selling Advertising Current Multicasters Method of Selling Ad Time on Digital Channels Spots Packaged Spots Bundled Fixed Spots on with Primary with Website Billboard Digital Station Only Channel Only 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x x 26-75 GM B x x _____________________________________________________________________________ spot ads or he could sell space on the L-bar of his planned multicast weather channel, which will be a national multicast weather produ ct tailored by his station for the local market. He stated, The revenue model is they get a percentage of advertising space and time and you get a revenue percentage space and time. They sell nationa lly, you sell locally (1-25 GM A, personal communication, October 16, 2006). He claimed that since the viewership numbers will be

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129 fractional compared to what, for instance, a foot ball game gets on a Sunday, the sales department will sell it for peanuts (1-25 GM A, pe rsonal communication, October 16, 2006). He continued by saying that you have to start so mewhere and that if you become valuable and actually start to get ra tings, then you can make a fair amount of money. 1-25 GM A completed his comments by mentioning that he did a calculation that even if his station were to sell a spot for $30 on average, then, over the course of a year that equates to $5 million, if he were to sell out full (personal communication, October 16, 2006). 26-75 GM B mentioned that since her multicas t channel will also include My Network, her sales department will have a slightly differe nt product to sell than ju st selling a new digital subchannel with new content 24/7. She mentioned th at the channel will be sold in a number of ways. 26-75 GM B made the following point with respect to selling airtime on the channel instead of simply giving it away. She declared, If you position your product that it doesnt have value, then your clients arent going to give it any value (per sonal communication, November 7, 2006). She continued by saying that the sales department has to start from the beginning positioning this as a valuable product. Nevertheless, the channel will be sold much like the website is sold, as a separate product. Advertisers will have the option of buying it separately or in conjunction with the other stat ions. When bought along with the other stations, advertisers will, most likel y, receive a more competitive price (personal communication, November 7, 2006). Managerial Knowledge/Incentives and Multicasting The role of the executives interviewed as part of this res earch a nd their influence on the multicast business model chosen cannot be unde rvalued. The managers, in particular, the general managers, have power in terms of the strategic direction of the television stations. 126+ GM had very specific thoughts on the likelihood of his operation se lling advertising on future

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130 multicast channels. 126+ GM does not intend to sell advertising on any additional digital channels he may pick up in the fu ture unless he is able to pick up one of the Big 4 networks or if he is able to first garner ra tings from a digital-only or nonnetwork digital channel. As mentioned previously, however, he already broa dcasts a digital subchannel and sells 30-second spots as well as local 30-minute programs on th e channel (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). 126+ GM would sell spots if he could on any channel, but his station would have to get the spots into his automation system and then have them trafficked through VCI (Sales/AR software). Doing these two things would require that his station pa y fees. He mentioned that he could end up spending $10,000 a month and stuff trying to get a dollar a spot from somebody (126+ GM, personal communica tion, September 21, 2006). ( Digital-only national network ) does the traffic and insertions for you, but the other di gital-only networks do not. If a future digital channel is picked up by the cable companies and it st arts to get ratings, then, at that point, his sales staff will start to sell commercials on it. He declared, In this business, if you dont have ratings, then you really don t have a product to sell ( 126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). 126+ GM said that there are two ways of approaching multicasting. His boss thinks of multicasting in terms of whether or not the digital stream will be able to receive cable carriage. 126+ GM looks at multicasting as an opportunity to compete with the cable systems and build a larger over-the-air audience. None of the executives interviewed by the res earcher are utilizing any ancillary services. However, as seen in Table 4-16, some do express an interest in them.

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131 1-25 GM B asserted that his station has an interest in datacasting a nd that it is in the process of considering the technical and business i ssues associated with th e technology. One of his concerns is the degradation of the primary and secondary digital streams (1-25 GM B, personal communication, November 15, 2006). Currently, his sta tion has three streams which could be utilized without affecting video or audio quality. Managerial Knowledge/Incenti v es and Ancillary Services Table 4-16. Stations Planning to Offer Ancillary Services Broadcast Outlet Plans to Pursue Ancillary Services? Yes No _____________________________________________________________________________ 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A (duopoly) x 26-75 GM B (duopoly) x 26-75 ES x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x 26-75 GM A mentioned that he is familiar with ancillary services. However, his broadcast operation has only looked into several opportunities and potential revenue models. He declared that the most important thing, with regards to ancillary services is that we [26-75 GM As station] need to have value in whatever is broadcast (26-75 GM A, November 16, 2006). 26-75 GM B admitted that ancillary services, such as datacasting, are a business in which a lot of managers are not that familiar. She said that managers may say that they do not have a business model and give other excuses for not u tilizing the technology, but what they are really saying is that we dont understand that business, and thats not our business, and I wouldnt even know how to approach it, if you aske d me (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

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132 76-125 GM A stated that ancill ary services are something th at his station has discussed briefly. However, he admitted that he does not know enough about it and he is not sure whether he has the necessary bandwidth available for su ch a service. He does not know what kind of services will be available with it in the future as it is too early in the game to find out (76-125 GM A, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 76-125 GM A felt strongly that if there is no money in the business model for various ancillary services, then they are not likely to be developed. He said that unless he were charging subscribers for his signal, he does not feel that he could rely on ancillary services and datacasti ng as a solid business model. He suggested that broadcasters have to depend on actually entert aining people and getti ng ratings to get the eyeballs so that we can generate the a dvertising [revenue] (76-125 GM A, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 76-125 GM B said that he does not currently broadcast any types of ancillary services such as datacasting. As a matter of fact, as of th e interview, he had no plans to pursue the idea. His response to the interviewers question, be sides claiming he had no plans for ancillary services, was Tell me how that would work?, as both the researcher and 76-125 GM B joined in laughter (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 126+ GM claimed that he does not have any plans for ancillary servic es or datacasting at this point. His engineer has some ideas on how to move forward with the technology, but 126+ GM does not think he is ready to delve into it. The stations engineer was primarily considering delivering cable programming thr ough various data lines, includi ng high-speed Internet data lines. 126+ GM said that he believes that the phone companie s are going to be increasingly involved in this in addition to the cable and satellite companies.

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133 Strategic Networks Strategic networks play an im portant role in the digital business models used by the television executives inte rviewed. Although strategic networks can take the form of either the network with which a station is affiliated as well as the broadcast ow nership group to which it belongs, in this study, the strate gic networks encompass only the partnerships between a station and its network to develop specific multicast pr ogramming (i.e. NBC Weathe r Plus) or datacast services. Table 4-17. Type of Network Progra mming Being Aired on Multicast Channels Broadcast Outlet Type of Network Programming Aired on Multicast Channels None Major Network Weather News 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x _____________________________________________________________________________ Network-broadcaster partnerships As shown in Table 4-17, 26-75 GM A is airing a 24/7 network-developed weather channel as his multicast channel. It is a revenue share that the ( Big 4 network) is doing with its affiliates. Not only is ( network 24/7 weather channel ) broadcast over-the-air, but it is also carried on digital cable (26-75 GM A, pers onal communication, November 16, 2006). In addition, at one time, the broadcast outlet had ca rried a 24/7 network-developed multicast news product as an experiment dur ing a political window in 2004. The three smaller market stations are using their digital streams to carry other major networks such as My Network and The CW. Th ese newer networks need an outlet in each market and they have developed partnerships w ith broadcasters to get the nationwide coverage

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134 they need to be successful. These stations are represented by 76-125 GM A, 76-125 GM B, and 126+ GM. Broadcaster-cable provider relationship There are a variety of reasons cited for th e voluntary carriage of multicast channels, as illustrated in Table 4-18. However, three of the respondents stated specifically that it is the broadcaster-cable relationship that is the most important variable affecting the ability of broadcasters to receive voluntary carriage of their additional digital channels and services 26-75 GM B agreed and stated that the ability to receive voluntary carriage of multicast channels by cable systems is purely a functi on of the relationship you have with the cable company, corporately and locally (personal communication, Nove mber 7, 2006). According to 26-75 GM B, the preferred relationship is one in which the stations and the cable systems work together. When this happens, the customers and viewers in the market are satisfied. She continued by revealing that she is not going to fight the cable companies by holding her digital channel or analog channel hostage (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006). She said that she would like to receive compensation for her signa l, however, and she felt that her signal is much more valuable than any cable channel. 26-75 GM B conveyed her belief that cable carriage of digital sec ondary channels is a demand thing. She said that if a secondary chan nel is operated by a strong independent station, then it will have leverage. However, if it is, fo r instance, run by an ex-U PN station that is now independent, then it will have a problem. She al so mentioned that politics definitely enter into this as well. She stated that cable companies ar e fairly consistent in the way they work with stations in a given market excepti ng to the degree that they have corporate deals that are already in place (26-75 GM B, persona l communication, November 7, 2006). In addition, she claimed

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135 Table 4-18. Rationale Provided for Volunt ary Carriage of Multicast Channels Broadcast Outlets Key Considerations Provided in Explaining Voluntary Cable Carriage 26-75 GM B The relationship a st ation has with the cable company, corporately and locally 26-75 ES The channel capacity of the cable system Large markets have more capacity, but also have more signals to carry 76-125 GM A The relationship a station has with the cable company and the overall market Channel capacity of the cable systems Large market stations may have more of a chance because the cable systems are more likely to be upgraded 76-125 GM B The competitiveness of the cable market (which cable systems are in the market) If no dominant player, then competition is a factor Cable operator may choose to place a station on a digital tier 126+ GM The relationship a stat ion has with the cable operators The content of the di gital channels is a factor in receiving cable carriage Big cable operators have been told by their corporate offices not to carry digital subchannels that she does not think that smaller stations or non-network affiliates have any disadvantage in a market. 76-125 GM A believed that the abil ity of affiliates to receive cab le carriage is individual. He said that it depends on the relationship betwee n the station and the cable system as well as the market. He did mention, however, given the fact that cable systems in larger markets are more likely to be upgraded, it may be easier for these larg er market stations to receive cable carriage. He mentioned that in his market, there are cable systems which do not have the capacity to add

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136 any more channels unless the systems were to spend a couple million dol lars for the necessary infrastructure for an upgrade (personal communication, November 1, 2006). According to 76-125 GM A, broadcasters are going to soon start asking cable systems for subscriber fees in nearly all of their retransmissi on negotiations. As a result, television stations will be more willing to stand firm and deny cable systems the ability to carry their signals. The executive mentioned, however, that it might hurt br oadcasters some in the short term, but that it would not take long for cable systems to reevaluate their stance and decide to make the necessary changes to their retransmission agreements to pay subscriber fees to broa dcasters for carriage of their signals. The reasoning for this, as stated by 76125 GM A, is that the cable companies really want to avoid getting phone calls from unhappy customers. The cable operators want to avoid letting customer complaints reach the fran chising authority. When that happens, it can cause some serious problems, very serious pr oblems (personal communication, November 1, 2006). 76-125 GM A concluded his comments on the subject by saying that if residents in his market could not see NFL Football or one of the top-rated programs on the Big 4 networks, like American Idol, the phone lines at the local cable systems would melt (personal communication, November 1, 2006). One of the greatest challenges to receiving vo luntary carriage of digital subchannels is planning to hold the negotiations at the opportune time, according to 76-125 GM B. If his station had known it was going to be carrying UPN when it went in to retransmission negotiations with the cable operators, then he could have demanded that cable opera tors carry the digital subchannel (which was affiliated with UPN) in a ddition to the primary Big 4 network channel. In other words, the cable operators would have to take the secondary digi tal channel and air it on the basic cable tier to also receive the primary, Bi g 4 affiliate station. The primary Big 4 affiliate

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137 stations are extremely important to cable systems as a large portion of their subscribers view these channels. 76-125 GM B continued by saying that there is no way that a cable system can say that it has everything and it does not need a ( Big 4 network). It becomes especially important during major sporting events, such as a big colleg e football game, that cable systems carry all of the major affiliates. Its the sporting stuff that just absolutely draws people (personal communication, November 1, 2006). 126+ GM responded to this topic by saying that as of now cable is fighting carrying these digital channels in all markets. He mentioned, as did 26-75 GM B, that a big part of receiving cable carriage is the relationship that a partic ular broadcaster has with a cable system. The content of those digital channe ls also has a bearing on their likelihood of being carried. 126+ GM mentioned that on his digital subchannel, he has good content, but th e cable companies still have fought carrying his channel. He added that his digital channel has sports (college and professional), comedies, dramas, and local pr ogramming, some of which is produced by the station, but the dominant cable system in the market still says weve got a lot of that [already] (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). In addition, 126+ GM declared that the big cable companies are fighting carrying thes e digital subchannels because they have been mandated to do so by their corporate offices. Al so, the cable companies are using these digital channels as leverage to extend their retransmissi on agreements in cases in which they are not having to pay subscriber fees to broadcasters for carriage of their signals. In turn, broadcasters are not willing to extend these agreements and are having to, in many cases, tolerate not receiving cable carriage of their digital signals (126+ GM personal communication, September 21, 2006).

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138 Current multicasters and cable carriage. As shown in Table 4-19, three of the five current multicasters are carried only on the digital ti er of the cable systems in their markets. Two of the smaller market broadcasters have been gr anted a channel on the analog tier; however, one of them is considered must-carry and, theref ore, does not represent any special negotiation process between the broadcaster and the cable operators. Table 4-19. Multicasters Receiving Current Cable Carriage Current Multicasters Current Cable Carriage of Multicast Channels Digital Tier Only Analog Tier _____________________________________________________________________________ 1-25 GM B x All four of the primary systems in the market Required a good deal of negotiation 26-75 GM A (duopoly) x 76-125 GM A x All systems in market Considered must-carry 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x _____________________________________________________________________________ With respect to their relationship, 1-25 OM stated that the local cable companies have been pretty good to his operation, especially ( cable MSO ). However, none of the cable systems carry his digital subchannel, which is simply a simulcast of the primary channel. He felt pretty confident that when his stati on starts offering a multicast weather channel that it will receive carriage (1-25 OM, personal comm unication, October 16, 2006). 1-25 GM B said that the local cable systems ar e, in fact, carrying his multicast channel. The channel is carried on the digital tiers of all four of the primary cable systems in the market.

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139 However, he does mention that it took a good deal of negotiation for this carriage. One thing that made it easier in 1-25 GM B stations negoti ations was station managements belief in the value of ( local multicast weather channel ). As with 1-25 GM Bs station, 26-75 GM As station is carried on the dig ital tier of the cable systems throughout his market (personal communication, November 16, 2006). 76-125 GM A said that all of the cable systems in his market are carrying his multicast channel because it is considered must-carry. He mentioned that his station did have to buy the cable operators converter boxes to convert the dig ital signal back down to an alog so that it could be placed on the analog channel tier. The pr ocess was simple, 76-125 GM A sent out a mustcarry letter and then his stat ion was, without any hesitation, placed on the areas local cable systems. In regards to a local competitor with a multicast channel that is not considered mustcarry, he said that his competitor is receiving carriage on the digital tiers of the local cable companies. 76-125 GM A asserted that this is th e solution that most systems offer. He added, They wont offer an analog position next to all the other stations, thatd put you way up there (personal communication, November 1, 2006). He claimed that the cable systems will make your digital multicast channel available to view ers, but that is as far as they will go. 76-125 GM B declared that his digital station does not curren tly have must-carry status, and consequently, is not carried on the basic analog tier. He mentioned that one of his competitors has must-carry even though his digital subchannel is first carried on a low-power analog transmitter and then microwaved to the main digital transmitter. He continued by saying that he could have a low-power, independent sta tion and still receive must -carry status as many small, religious networks are doing in his market.

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140 126+ GM stated that the local cable syst ems do carry his digital subchannel. He maintained that if he were to add another digi tal channel that the dominant cable operator in the market would fight carrying this other channel. However, he said that the smaller cable systems would probably carry the additional channel with out any hesitation. 126+ GM claimed that the smaller systems are quite a bit easier to deal with than the larger systems because they want free content for their customers and they are not in th e business of selling advertising as are the major MSOs. GM 126+ stated, They want all the free channels they can get because it means that they dont have to pay Home & Garden $.50 [per subscriber] (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). He mentioned that the systems, however, will want to place this multicast channel on their digital tiers. In fact, the cable systems wanted to put his multicast channel on their digital ti ers. In order to persuade th e cable operators to carry the channel on the analog tiers, he emphasized that his station is a community station with a plethora of local community programming. The cable sy stems, however, will request to place any additional multicast channels on the digital tier s because they also carry local community programming and they feel th at 126+ GMs station is in competition with them in serving the local community (personal commun ication, September 21, 2006). 126+ GM negotiated a deal with the cable company in that th e cable system would get to carry (Big 4 network ) and HD if it also carried the digita l multicast channel. Although the two parties reached an agreement and both stations are carried on the analog ti er of the local cable system, the cable operator is now attempting to break the deal. 126+ GM replied to the cable system by saying, If you dont want that [multicas t digital channel], th en you dont get any of my stuff because that wasnt the deal (per sonal communication, September 21, 2006). At the

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141 time of the interview, he was working with the cable company on a retransmission agreement as the current agreement is set to end in 2008. Future multicasters and cable carriage. As previously mentioned, the local cable companies are not carrying the digital subchanne l of 26-75 ESs station, a simulcast of the primary channel. His station, at the time of th e interview, was in nego tiations with the local systems. He felt that his stat ion will probably be ab le to settle on retransmission agreements with the cable systems as his st ation is a strong independent with respectable ratings and marketdominating newscasts (personal communication, November 7, 2006). In addition, 26-75 ES remarked that it is going to be a real challenge to get cable carriage for those independents that do not have a strong viewer base (per sonal communication, November 7, 2006). 26-75 GM B discussed the first st ation that she worked at and the fact that it did not have a lot of clout, but it did have a great relations hip with the local cable operator (as detailed in Table 4-20). The relationship ev en helped the station achieve its revenue goals as the cable company was one of their biggest clients. 26-75 GM B said, There is just a lot more to it than just the carry my signal ques tion (26-75 GM B, personal co mmunication, November 7, 2006). She continued by saying that there are a number of ways to reach an agreement with a cable provider. She declared, Theres trade, there s promotional opportunities, theres VOD, theres all sorts of things we can do together and, ul timately, it benefits the viewer (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006). Furthermore, she claimed that her goal is to bring more people to the television set. She would rather see viewers tune to another television channel, such as NBC or CNN, than have them go to their MP3 player or somewhere else. 26-75 GM B said that her station negotiate d an agreement with Comcast and they are going to carry a multicast channel which is set to la unch after the first of th e year (2007). She

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142 Table 4-20. Future Multicasters Views on the E ffects of the Broadcaste r-cable relationship on the ability of broadcasters to receive multicast Cable Carriage Future Multicasters Dominant Factors & Their Level of Effect On Multicast Cable Carriage 1-25 GM A His broadcast ownership group has more leverage than most because it owns two popular cable networks Most cable companies want to clear those channels 26-75 GM B It depends on the relationship between the station and the cable operators There are a number of ways to reach an agreement with a cable provider (trade, promotional opportunities & VOD) 26-75 ES Level of clout in market and respectable ratings affirmed that her station has a very good relatio nship with Comcast and sh e realized that this relationship was important as th e cable MSO has a 90 percent shar e of the cable homes in her market. When looking at all viewing whether cable satellite, or over-th e-air, Comcast has a 60 percent market share, half of that being digital subscribers. The cable company has been supportive as well because the new multicast channel gives the prominent MSO something else it can offer its subscribers. Comcast can push th eir digital tier and if 26-75 GM Bs broadcast operation offers unique programming on this new ch annel then that just gives them (Comcast) something else that puts them in a unique position (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006). 26-75 GM B did reveal that if she did not have the relationship she has had with Comcast and a negotiated agreement for cable carriage, she might launch the digital subchannel differently. She would, in that case, probably have to use her own air to promote the channel and it would be strict ly an over-the-air offering.

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143 Environmental Factors These factors make up the condition of the ma rket and affect a firms adoption decision of new media technologies, such as multicasting a nd ancillary services. These variables include the regulation of the entire broadcast/multichannel video programming distribution (MVPD) industry, various market conditions, and the competition experienced by the various cable systems.. Regulation of the Broadcast/Multichanne l Video Programming Distribution Industry The regulation of the broadcast/MVPD industry is a critical driver of the digital strategies incorporated by various televi sion stations. The executives commented on issues centering around a hypothetical m ulticast carri age mandate requiring cable syst ems to carry all the digital subchannels of the broadcasters in their respective markets. As shown in Table 4-21, four of the executives claimed that their strategy would be different and that such an FCC mandate would have a major im pact on a lot of broad casters. Three of the other respondents stated that th eir strategy would not differ if the FCC mandated multicast cable carriage. Table 4-21. Responses of Executives When Asked if Their Strategy Would Differ Broadcast Outlet Would Multicas t Mandate Result in a Different Strategy? Yes No No Answer Provided 1-25 GM A/1-25 OM x 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A x 26-75 GM B x 26-75 ES x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x _____________________________________________________________________________

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144 Reasons cited for differing strategy First, an exa mination of the comments of the executives which maintained that an FCC mandate requiring cable systems to carry all of the multicast streams of every broadcaster would change their strategy needs to be conducted. There were a wide variety of comments made concerning the perceived effects of a hypothetical multicast mandate requiring cable systems to carry each and every multicast stre am broadcast by television stat ion (as shown in Table 4-22). Table 4-22. Comments and Percei ved Effects of Multi cast Mandate for Broadcasters Claiming Their Strategy Would Differ Broadcast Outlets Claiming Their Comments/Perceived Effects of Strategy Would Differ Regulatory Change _____________________________________________________________________________ 26-75 GM A Broadcasters have the opportunity and the right to be carried on cable systems (especially when a station provides for a sizeable portion of the primary viewership in a market) 76-125 GM A Would motivate his station and a lot of broadcasters to more aggressively air multicast content 76-125 GM B Would result in a major impact on his station Key consideration is that you have carriage on the cable systems analog tiers 126+ GM Mandate would be groundbreaking Most all broadcasters would begin multicasting, including the big stations in the big markets _____________________________________________________________________________ The first respondent, 26-75 GM A, replied that his strategy probably would be different. He felt that a broadcaster should have the oppor tunity and the right to be carried on cable

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145 systems, especially in the case in which a particular station provide s for a sizeable portion of the primary viewership in the market (26-75 GM A, personal communication, November 16, 2006). The second respondent, 76-125 GM A, mentioned that such a mandate would motivate his station as well as a lot of other broadcasters to more aggressive ly air multicast content. Most importantly, it would also spur on a lot of progr ammers and writers and producers and directors to get out there and start produci ng more content for all the new channels that will be carried on cable systems (76-125 GM A, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 76-125 GM B declared that such an FCC ma ndate would have a major impact on his digital strategy. However, when the analog si gnals finally do go dark, everything will change and then, most likely, his strategy would not differ as much. 76-125 GM B stated that the key consideration is whether or not you have carriage on the cable systems analog tier, the lower tier of which all of a cable systems subscribers have access. His digital subchannel is currently carried on the digital tier of the local cable companies, the largest one of which is Comcast (76125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006). 126+ GM said that a mandate requiring carriag e of every multicast channel broadcast by television stations would be huge (personal communication, Se ptember 21, 2006). He mentioned that then you would see most all br oadcasters multicasting, including the big stations in the major markets. 126+ GM mentioned that the attitude of many broadcas ters today is that if they cannot get cable coverage, then multi casting is not going to do them any good. Furthermore, he stated that if the FCC were to come down with such a ruling that it would probably mandate just one extra st ream, not three or four.

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146 Reasons cited for not differing strategy As detailed in Table 4-23, there were a fe w reasons provided by these station executives for not differing their digital stra teg ies in response to a multicas t carriage mandate. 1-25 GM B and 26-75 GM B provided specific rationale while 26-75 ES commented on the issue. Table 4-23. Rationale Stations Gave for Not Differing Their Strategy Broadcast Outlets Claiming Their Rationale for Not Differing Strategy Strategy Would Not Differ _____________________________________________________________________________ 1-25 GM B The cable systems will want to carry his programming because the content is compelling 26-75 GM B She has a good relationship with the dominant MSO in the market A new multicast channel on the cable system will give MSO something else to offer its subscribers 26-75 ES Respondent provided no rationale _____________________________________________________________________________ 1-25 GM B said that his strategy would not be different because his station is airing, and will continue to air, programming that people want to see and; therefore, the cable systems will want to carry it (our programming) (pers onal communication, November 15, 2006). 26-75 GM B would not differ her strategy. She felt that because she has a strong relationship with the dominant MSO in her market she would not diffe r her strategy in reaction to an FCC multicast carriage mandate. 26-75 ES did not believe that his stations strategy would be any different if it were to have mandated cable carriage of all its multicast channe ls. However, he felt that multicast must-carry would be nice to have for the future and to have that option open as th e station negotiates deals

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147 (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). As of his interview, 26-75 ES felt that mandated carriage would not lead to any immediate negotiations or change s in business strategy. Market Conditions/Size 26-75 ES felt that stations in both sm all and large markets will have some problems getting cable carriage of their multicast channels. He stated, Typically, the smaller market cable companies dont have the channel ca pacity of the larger ones. But, on the other hand, the [cable systems in the] larger markets have more signa ls to have to put on them (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). The larger cable companies have a larger pipe in which to carry multicast channels while the smaller ones have a smaller pipe. Because of the limited capacity of cable systems, 26-75 ES belie ved that cable systems are now becoming gatekeepers (personal communication, November 7, 2006). With this unique position within the video programming supply chain, cable comp anies have the ability to place premiums on their bandwidth (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006). In addition, 26-75 ES discussed his opinion that the smaller ma rket stations are investing more in newer technologies than ar e the larger market stations at this point in time. The smaller market stations are in more need of revenue and are, therefore, more willing to risk the capital expenditure required to buy the necessary equi pment to do such things as multicasting. According to 26-75 ES, manufacturers are further en abling these smaller market stations to begin multicasting by developing more inexpensive ways for stations to get multiple streams broadcast to a market area. Also, larger market stat ions, as opposed to the smaller markets, do not want to interfere with their current revenu e streams too much and, consequently, will move in the direction of new technology very cautiously (26-75 ES, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

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148 Table 4-24. Structure of Sales Team Selling Multicast Channels _____________________________________________________________________________ Broadcast Outlets Structure of Sales Team Selling Multicast Channels One Sales Team 2 Sales Teams Separate No Answer Sells Primary & Sell Own Team For Provided Secondary Primary Plus Secondary Secondary _____________________________________________________________________________ 1-25 GM A x 1-25 GM B x 26-75 GM A x 26-75 GM B x 26-75 ES x 76-125 GM A x 76-125 GM B x 126+ GM x _____________________________________________________________________________ In looking at the differences ex isting between large and small ma rkets and how this affects the digital business model chosen, a look at the structure of the sales department is necessary. This structure is developed primarily in reaction to the affiliations carried and th e size of the particular D.M.A. As shown in Table 4-24, the structure of the sales teams for each broadcast facility seems to vary depending upon the overall market size and the affiliations carried The large market broadcasters have only one sales team, the mid-si zed stations operate with two sales teams that each sell one station, and the small market stations each have one sales staff that sells both the primary and secondary digital streams. The large market stations are only affiliated with one network at this time, and; therefore, each of them operates with only one sales team No comments were provided by the large market broadcasters (1-25 D.M.A.s) with respec t to the structure of the sales team and their selling of multicast channels. The mid-sized affiliated stations, rangi ng from D.M.A.s 26-75, operate duopolies and operate with one sales staff per affiliation. Each of the affiliations is with one of the Big 4

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149 networks. 26-75 GM A stated that he not only has a sales team for each affiliate, but that he also has a convergent sales manager who creates pack ages and pursues opportunities that involve the selling of banner ads on the website and bill boards on our primary and secondary channels (personal communication, November 16, 2006). Each affiliate sales team is involved in the selling of the digital weather ne twork broadcast on his stations digital subchannel. 26-75 GM B said if her station were to add a third channel, a digital subchannel, then she would have each sales team sell advertising on that additional channe l. It would be handled similarly to that of non-traditional revenue (N TR), she uttered. She continued by estimating, When sales gets to the point where its justifiable, what will happen is, they [sales managers] will hire salespeople (26-75 GM B, personal comm unication, November 7, 2006). The smaller market stations each have one sales staff at the moment that sell advertising on their primary channel, which is a Big 4 affiliation, along with either The CW or My Network. If 126+ GM were to pick up another Big 4 affiliatio n, then he would split his sales staff into two separate teams. One team would sell their ex isting Big 4 affiliation along with My Network while the other team would sell the new Big 4 affiliate in addition to My Network (personal communication, September 21, 2006). Competition There are three basic form s of competition that were referen ced in this study. They are competition between various stations in a market, the competition that broadcasters have with area cable operators, and the level of competition experienced by a cable operator as a result of the actions of other cable operators. Station vs. station Com petition exists between various broadcasters and their management teams. The area of competition is primarily covered in the section on strategic networks. However, the

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150 competition that exists between large market broad casters in the area of HD news is important to discuss in this section. For instance, 1-25 OM s station management will monitor the other stations in the market to see if these other st ations might attempt HD news. 1-25 OM mentioned that there is the potential for th ree local competitors to run an HD news, especially one whose ownership group has introduced it in other markets. Nationall y, there are differences amongst the stations broadcasting an HD newscast; however as some are bringing footage from the field in as HD while others are only using HD with the cameras in the studio (1-25 OM, personal communication, October 16, 2006). Broadcaster vs. cable operator Com petition takes place between broadcasters and cable companies. This has become increasingly intense as the cable industry has increased its audience share to the dismay of broadcasters. In the area of c ontent, one of the cable companies does directly compete with 1-25 GM Bs station. The cable system carries its own local weather channel (1-25 GM B, personal communication, November 15, 2006). 1-25 GM A cited the phone companies as a new source of competition of which cable can expect to experience. He believed that such a development would benefit broadcasters. The phone companies are coming along and saying fiber optic is limitless and we can deliver it so if you cable companies cant deliver it, then maybe we can and w ho knows if, years from now, the phone companies win out over cable and you look at cable the way you used to look at an 8track (1-25 GM A, personal communication, October 16, 2006). He stated that cables viewpoint is that it does not ha ve room for these additional di gital channels and the MVPD would not be able to maintain the signal quality of these channels. 1-25 GM A believed that cable companies are using these reasons as an excuse instead of admitting that carriage of

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151 multicast channels presents too much competition for them. He claimed that the compression technology is available to carry these multiple channels. 126+ GM made the point that through all of these technological changes, broadcasters will be the one constant because their signals are goi ng to be carried by all of the MVPDs. The phone companies, however, are the most intere sting. According to 126+ GM, they spoke a couple of years ago to the Florid a Association of Broadcasters and they claimed that they would carry all of the broadcasters digital signals. They said, We want ev erything youve got (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). To the contrary, the cable and satellite companies have claimed that they either do not wa nt some of the digital streams or that they do not have the capacity to carry the broadcas ters digital streams. 126+ GM mentioned nevertheless that the phone companies were speak ing at a broadcasters conference so, naturally, they are going to speak of accommodating broa dcasters in every way possible (personal communication, September 21, 2006). 126+ GM claimed that he does not, however, wa nt the cable system to have all of his content. He does not mind going to the cable comp anies and showing them what he has if it is a good product. He said that they are so anti-broadcasters that they do not want to carry a multicast channel because theyre in the a dvertising business too (126+ GM, personal communication, September 21, 2006). He likened the scenario to that of going to another broadcast station in town and trying to get that station to air one of your stations programs. Cable operator vs. cable operator Com petition also exists between the various cable providers. The television executives commented on this form of competition extensively. As shown in Table 4-18, 76-125 GM B stated that what when it comes to multicasting and ancillary services what really matters is the set-up of the particular market, whose there,

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152 whose not, whether theres a competitive cable set-up there or not (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006). He said that in his market Comcast dominates so broadcasters are limited in their ability to in fluence the cable systems, but in (nearby small market), where you have Mediacom and CNS competing, the situation is di fferent. Ones not going to let the other have something, he added (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006). Moreover, 76 -125 GM B made the point th at the cable systems have created monopolies on the distribution channel, wh ich is bad for consumers and broadcasters. He continued by mentioning that if the telephone companies start carrying video in the form of cable networks and broadcasters si gnals, then everyone will benef it. He said that he does not mind competing with other television stations, but he finds it extremely difficult competing with the distribution channel (76-125 GM B, pe rsonal communication, November 1, 2006). 76-125 GM B cited an example in which his local cable system took his secondary affiliation and moved it to the digital cable tier and replaced it with a weather channel and a shopping channel on the analog tier. He remarked that if the cable ope rator had 100 percent digital penetration in the market then he would have been more accepti ng of this move. However, it has a digital penetration of less than 50 percen t. He mentioned that if the analog truly goes away in 2009 then Comcast will have a basic tier wh ich will, most likely, include all of his digital channels (76-125 GM B, personal communication, November 1, 2006). Not only do cable MSOs compete with each other, but they also compete with other MVPDs, primarily satellite operato rs. 26-75 GM B made the point th at cable is going to be more challenged in the future as satellite providers co ntinue to siphon off poten tial cable subscribers. She mentioned that anytime a business reaches a point of maturity, as the cable industry has, different challenges will arise (26-75 GM B, personal communication, November 7, 2006).

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153 Conclusion In this chapter, the respo nses of the nine te levision executives that were interviewed for this study are reviewed. The respondents commen ts are grouped under each of the eight factors included in the proposed framework of new medi a adoption by media firms detailed in Chapter 2. To aid reader understanding, tables have b een placed throughout the chapter as a means of clearly comparing and contrasting th e various interview responses. Research question #1 covered the topic of multicasting and it looked at the current adoption of the technology by broad casters in terms of the number of digital streams, the types of programming aired on these multi cast channels, and the kinds of network and local programming run on these streams. It was found that all but one of the broadcasters are either currently offering multicasting or would be shortly following the date of the interview. The smaller market broadcasters, D.M.A. sized 76 and higher are airing My Network or The CW on their multicast channels, whereas, the larger market st ations are airing local and network-developed weather multicast channels. In the area of in-house programming, the stations both large and small are offering a variety of formats, weather, news, and local interest. The reasoning behind these formats was provided as well. In the case of weather programming, it was chosen because it is considered the number one area of interest in news studies. As far as news and local interest are concerned, the rationale had hinged upon effec tively branding a station and having the ability to tailor programming to the local market. Fu rthermore, the influence of the network over the selection of the multicast channe ls and the multicasting plans of the broadcast ownership groups are reviewed. The network appeared to have a limited effect on the choosing of particular multicast formats whereas the multicast initiatives at the corporate level focused on the creation of a multicast channel, a local weather channel, and the picking up of My Network, The CW, and Fox in the smaller markets. Next, the costs i nvolved in carrying these multicast channels were

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154 discussed and it was found that the major expenses surround the expenses of acquiring the equipment to run multiple streams of SD alongsid e an HD stream, the server needed to handle multicast channels, and the cost of electricity, pa rticularly prior to the actual shutoff date for analog. Furthermore, the area of advertising sale s is discussed and it was found that stations, for the most part, plan to sell their advertising on multicast channels both separately and in conjunction with spots on the primary channel. Al so, the larger market stations appear to also sell these digital secondary channels as part of a package that in cludes a presence on the stations websites as well as fixed billboards on the digita l weather channels. The television executives, who responded to the question concerning sales team structure, all claimed that they would use their existing sales teams to sell the multicast cha nnels. 126+ GM mentioned that if he were to pick up a second Big 4 affiliation on a digital mu lticast channel in the future that maybe he would hire a second team to sell advertising on this channel. In addition, the executives thoughts on the, now defunct, USDTV are detaile d. It was found that all but one of the television managers felt that USDTV was not a vi able business concept because it was unable to effectively compete with cable and satellite operators. The second research question covered the topic of ancillary services, primarily that of datacasting. The questions posed to the tele vision executives centere d around the types of ancillary services being adopte d, the involvement of the broadcast ownership groups versus the local stations in deciding which format to invest in, and the type of content to be provided. The answers indicate that the larger market stations, those D.M.A.-ra nked 75 and larger, had plans to pursue ancillary services. Also, the majority of the executives cl aim that the decision whether or not to pursue these offerings were more of a local decision than a corporate one. Also, only 1-25 GM Bs station had any specific ideas for content in mind.

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155 The third research question and the interview questions tied to it were focused on the adoption of multicasting and ancillary services by broadcasters as a re sult of the current FCC decision to only carry a stations primary broadcas t stream. The responses indicate that four of the eight stations included in th is study would differ their strategy if multicast must-carry were mandated by the FCC. These broadcasters felt th at such a mandate would be major and would result in a lot more multicast content. The stat ions which felt that thei r strategy would not differ felt that way because they consider their conten t to be compelling and something that the cable operators will voluntarily carry. Furthermore, the issues surrounding the voluntary carriage were assessed and were based on such factors as market size and station affiliation. The answers to the questions illustrate that market size has no bear ing on the ability to recei ve multicast carriage whereas station affiliation has a big impact. Instead of market size, the study subjects referred to the importance of the relationship they have with local cable operators, the channel capacity of cable systems, and the cable competition present in the market. Station affiliation of the primary channel with one of the Big 4 networks, and their ability to offer HD and other compelling content, give broadcasters levera ge in their negotiations with cable systems. The current carriage of digital subchannels is looked at and it was found that two of th e current stations multicasting are carried on the digital tier onl y of local cable systems whereas two of them are carried on the analog tier of local cable operators. The stations carried on the analog tiers have this carriage because, one of the stations is, technically, a must-carry station while the other is a digital stream of My Network. The final subquestion dealt with the dominant factors invol ved in the ability of broadcasters to receive multicas t cable carriage. It was found that the network has a strong influence on the ability of stati ons to receive carriage of their secondary channels. In addition,

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156 one other factor was discussed in great detail, the relationship between a station and the cable operators in that market.

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157 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION In this chapter, the f indings from the interv iews with the nine television executives are examined and their relevance to the field of telecommunications is discussed. There are a variety of themes that will be uncovered which pertain to the topics of multicasting, ancillary services, and multicast cable carriage. Multicasting was examined through the comments relating to research question #1. This research question asked about the primary fact ors that are driving the adoption of multicast technology at broadcast facilities and the form this adoption is taking. The executives were questioned as to whether they were broadcasting multiple streams and the types of content they were currently airing or looking to air on these digital subchannels. In addition, the respondents were asked about the costs associated with mu lticast technology, the ways in which advertising would be sold on these digital streams, and thei r thoughts on the wireless alte rnative to cable that was USDTV. Ancillary services were exam ined through the comments dealing with research question #2. This research question inquire d about the principal factors th at are driving the adoption of ancillary services. The responde nts were asked about whether th ey were currently offering any ancillary services and the form of services they hoped to offer in the future. Furthermore, the executives were questioned as to their reasoni ng for choosing these services, which include datacasting, subscription tele vision programming, teletext, and interactive services. Multicast cable carri age was examined through the commen ts relating to research question #3. The third research question analyzed the ad option of multicasting an d ancillary services by broadcasters as a result of the current FCC deci sion that cable operators only have to carry a stations primary broadcast stream. The executiv es commented on the eff ect that a hypothetical

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158 mandate requiring cable systems to carry every stream broadcast by television stations in a market and the effect that such a mandate would have on the digital model adopted. The Multicast Business Model The f ollowing list includes five critical themes discovered that expl ain the current form that multicast technology is taking. The themes al so analyze some of the key factors influencing the adoption decisions that broadcasters are maki ng with respect to multicasting. The themes are as follows: Weather for the large market stations My Network and The CW for the small market stations Networks have a limited influe nce on digital model adoption Broadcast ownership groups are a primar y factor in digital model adoption Importance of cable carriage to assigni ng value to a digital multicast channel USDTV failed because of its inability to successfully compete with cable and satellite providers Weather Is the Most Popular Multicast Format, Particularly in the Larger Markets The first area to be discussed is that of the m ulticast format chosen by the broadcasters interviewed. Weather is, far and away, the most prominent multicast format that the television stations included in th is study are adopting. Managerial knowledge (supporting) There are several k ey reasons for weather bei ng the most prominent multicast format used. These reasons are centered around the supporting factor of managerial knowledge. First, numerous news studies show that weather is the greates t area of audience interest. Second, the localness of weathercasts helps to differentiate a station not only from the other stations in the market, but also from the national cable networks as well. Successful differentiation results in effective station branding.

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159 Media technology characteristics/technology cost (core) The m edia technology characteristic of technolo gy cost is also a primary driver of the weather format. This is the case because broadcasting a multicast weather channel is costeffective. Stations have alre ady invested in the weather forecasting, presentation software, and talent needed to produce such a channel. In most cases, the morning, noon, 6pm, and 11pm weather forecasters on the primary channel r ecord a quick segment to run on the multicast channel. This segment airs until the next mete orologist arrives to do the weather on the main channel. Also, the same set, or one slightly al tered, can be used to record these segments. In some cases, a station may run a 24-hour weather ra dar loop on a multicast channel. This form is certainly inexpensive, but it does not produce very compelling programming. The value of this information is that indus try professionals who are investigating the multicast business model need to co nsider using weather as a means of, at least, initially delving into the use of the new digital technology. It is a wa y of getting another channel operational without having to spend a great deal or having to develop entirely ne w content. It is also a way to brand a station which, in todays world of intense audience fragmentation, is extremely important. Smaller-Market Stations Are Multicasting My Netw ork TV and The CW Network: Market size (environmental) The second noteworthy theme is that there ma y be more alluring content being multicast by the smaller-market stations. This is because the smaller-market stations have the opportunity to carry such networks as The CW and My Network, popular national networks that may not already be airing in the smaller markets. In the larger markets, all of the major network affiliations are spoken for, including the newer My Network and The CW networks. The only

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160 opportunity to pick up a national network in thes e markets might be with such a network as LATV or WCSN, national digital networks lacking the popularit y and viewership of The CW or My Network. Market characteristics, such as market size, ha ve an effect on the digital content chosen by the broadcasters interviewed as part of this study. The significance of th is is that the smallermarket stations have a better oppor tunity to acquire a multicast channel that will have compelling content. In the larger markets, nearly all of the major affili ations are going to belong to a broadcast outlet currently and the st ations are going to have to be a little more creative in finding compelling content for their multicast channel. However, the fact that these larger market stations are generally bigger operations, they tend to have more resources from which to pull from to either produce or purchase programming that has the potential to ga rner sizeable ratings. Networks Have a Limited Influence on Digi ta l Model Adoption: Ma nagerial knowledge (supporting) The broadcast networks do not ha ve much influence over what th eir affiliates carry on their secondary channels. Aside from network ownedand-operated stations, ne tworks cannot require any affiliate to carry its digital service. Those affili ates that choose to carry a network-developed secondary channel are under some influence by th e network in that the network has developed the primary content for the channel. For instan ce, NBC, with its NBC Weather Plus, obviously dictates to an affiliate the progr amming to be aired on this secondary digital channel. However, NBC would not have the authority to dictate to this same affiliate the types of programming it can air on a third digital cha nnel, such as a local, 24-hour public-interest channel. The importance of this finding is that it truly is the local broadcasters decision to select and air the programming it feels will generate the greatest retu rn on investment while also serving the local community in the best manner po ssible. The decision is lead by the stations

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161 management team, especially the general manager. It is a good idea for broadcasters to observe stations in other markets to see what kinds of multicast programming these stations are airing and to try and gain an understa nding of how profitable these multicast channels are for these broadcasters. Broadcast Ownership Group Makes a Difference The broadcast ownership group to which a stat ion belongs can have an influence on the multicasting content offered by the station. Broa dcast ownership groups vary greatly in their approach to multicasting. Also, the ownership groups appear to be im portant to broadcasters that are in need of support in developing and broadcasting HD newscasts. Diverse strategic postures: Firm/entrepreneurship (core) There is a great am ount of variation when it comes to the broadcast ownership groups and their approach towards multicasting. Some broa dcast groups are extremely proactive, such as Gray Television, in that they are running additio nal digital streams and then acquiring The CW, My Network, and even Fox affiliations to air on th ese channels. Some broadcast groups are even going to the extent of creating th eir own multicast channel for their stations to broadcast, as in the case of 26-75 GM Bs broadcast ownership group. On the other end of the spectrum, you have broadcast groups that give their local stations complete d ecision-making authority to air the multicast programming they prefer. It is the philosophy of a numb er of the broadcast ownership groups that it is best to give sta tions the ability to do what they f eel best serves the needs of their market areas. The implications of this fourth theme are that a stations ability to develop an appropriate multicast strategy is largely a f unction of the broadcast ownership group to which it belongs. Some broadcast ownership groups are going to dictate to stations the types of programming that it can air, especially in the case of the groups that are producing their own multicast

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162 programming channel. Many stations will prefer this arrangement, but many more will be more comfortable developing the content which they feel will best work for their communities. It all depends on the management teams of these statio ns and whether they prefer to adhere to a directive and air previously produced programming or instead make their own decisions and take on the task of developing thei r own multicast programming. Broadcast ownership groups are important in providing funding and support of HD new scasts: Firm/entrepreneurship/or ganizational strategic traits (core) It is important for broadcasters to run an HD news in cases in which one or more of its competitors in a local market are already doing so. A large portion of the capability of the broadcaster to offer an HD news product stems from its ability to r eceive funding and support from its broadcast ownership group. Therefore, those stations which belong to a broadcast group that have begun running an HD news in other mark ets have an advantage in that their company believes in the technology and is willing to invest in it. The relevance of this theme is that a broadcas ter needs to maintain a good relationship with its ownership group. Since the ownership group help s to provide the resources that a station will need to run an HD news, the broadcaster needs to value this relationship because the station will reap financial rewards from the ownership groups investment. As the broadcaster begins to air an HD newscast, its value in the local marketplac e can potentially rise si gnificantly allowing the station to achieve the leverage it needs to successfully negotiate multicast cable carriage. Cable Industry as a Mediator of Strategy: Managerial know ledge and broadcaster-cable provider relationship (supporting) The sales departments of broadcast stations must position their multicast channels as valuable. In order for these channe ls to be sellable, the channels must be seen to have value in the eyes of the advertiser. It is the responsibility of the manage ment team to ensure that the multicast channels have value from the pers pective of the advertiser. Although some

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163 cannabalization of the primary channel will take place, the audience of the secondary channel will also be made up of viewers that were drawn from the fare of competing broadcasters. One very important part of demonstrating that a multi cast channel has value is its carriage on the local cable systems within a market. Many station ex ecutives realize that once a multicast stream is picked up by the cable companies and starts to ge t ratings, then it can be looked at as valuable and broadcasters can start genera ting revenue from it. One cons ideration that station managers must make, though, is at what point does a station reach critical mass and can start to profit from the airing and selling of spots on multicast channels. Critical mass, in this case, refers to the minimal level of viewership necessary to enable a television station to overcome the start-up costs of broadcasting a digital channel. Not only must management consider the costs of converting to digital and the investment in the servers, multiplexers, and transmitters, but it must also consider the expense of an automation and traffic system for this digital multicast channel. The value of this information is that the mana gement team must, first, work with the cable companies to get cable carriage of their multicast channels. Once the cha nnel has cable carriage, the broadcaster must promote the station through various mediums and avenues to ensure that the channel will generate some sizeable ratings. The management team must clearly communicate the value of the multicast channel to the sales department so that the sales team can sell the channel at a rate high enough to overcome the expenses of carrying the channel and running advertising on it. If a station were to try and sell a multicast channel without cable carriage, it would be difficult to convey a level of value to the potential advertiser in airing his/her spots on the channel. Even if a broadcaste r is able to secure cable carriag e, it might want to delay setting up the automation and traffic systems until it sees an audience for the channel.

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164 USDTV Failed to Successfully Compete w ith Cable and Satellite Providers USDTV was an over-the-air, low-cost alternativ e to cable that once ope rated in four major U.S. markets. The company utilized unused ba ndwidth on digital television stations to send around a dozen cable channels in addition to all the local digital streams to subscribers with special set-top boxes for a price of only $19.99 per month. In July 2006, the company filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy before ceasing operations in March 2007. Competition (environmental) USDTV struggled to compete in the video pr ogramm ing arena for several reasons. First, USDTV tried to grapple with well-established cable and satellite comp anies that carry many more channels at a cost-per-channel that was lo wer than USDTVs. Consumers certainly viewed receiving 30 channels instead of, approximately, 100 as a step backwards, even if these consumers never watched the majority of the channels. Market conditions (environmental) Second, the com pany tried to counter the habits of the consumer. These habits are largely centered around the fact that a ma jority of people are accustomed to receiving their television through either a cable or a satellite provider. Viewers are co ntrolled to a large extent by their habits and their percep tions and they, for the most part, are comfortable pa ying a cable or satellite company for television service. Those that do not subscribe to cable or satellite are accustomed to receiving their over-the-air signals for free with the use of an antenna, not for a subscription fee and the use of a set-top converter box. Firm/entrepreneurship (core) Another m ajor challenge that USDTV had to deal with was the variety of station ownership groups which, as previously men tioned, vary widely in their philosophies on multicasting. This made it especially difficult to negotiate with these ownership groups because

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165 they each not only operated differently, but they looked at digital technologies and content differently. Market conditions (environmental) In addition, the com pany was limited to only la rger markets because the smaller markets did not have enough stations and, therefore, not enough bandwidth for USDTV to have carried much of a selection of channels. The value of this information is that other potential future low-cost wireless alternatives to cable and satellite will have difficulty gaining market share as did USDTV. Most consumers have it ingrained in their minds that they must pay for television service through either cable or satellite or receive it ove r-the-air for free. Also, they have a need to have access to a large variety of channels from which to choose to watch and be entertained. The consumer demand for USDTVs service was just not what it needed to be in order for the company to survive the overwhelming competition provided by the cab le and satellite companies. Ancillary Services/ Datacasting There is only one m ajor theme uncovered that relates to research question #2, the limited adoption of ancillary services by broadcasters. Before discussing this theme, research question #2 needs to be restated. The question asked about the major factors which are driving the adoption of ancillary services. The respondents were asked a bout the services they were planning to offer as well as the rationale behind their decisions. Also, the method stations would use to achieve profitability with these ventures was ascertained. There appears to be limited adoption of ancillary services/datacasting at this point in time. Many television executives do not u nderstand the business and they do not view it as part of the familiar business of broadcasting. Executives are concerned about investing money in something that could detract from the core, ex isting business of broadcasting, the airing of

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166 programming to gain viewership and then se lling advertising based on the audience for this programming. One major concern of television professionals is that these ancillary services will use up the bandwidth necessary for a clear si gnal to be broadcast on both the primary and secondary digital streams. Of the nine executives interviewed, only 1-25 GM B could discuss any specifics in regards to his stations intentions to uti lize ancillary services. This, in c onjunction with the fact that the larger markets stations, those in D.M.A.s ranked 75 and larger had intenti ons to pursue ancillary services, demonstrate a possible in creased adoption level at larger market stations. However, more research needs to be conducted to dete rmine whether or not this is true. The importance of this finding is that television executives need to invest the time to understand the capabilities of ancill ary services. The stations that truly embrace the broad-range of capabilities will have a strategic advantage over those stations that do not invest the time or effort to understand the wide array of possibiliti es that these services can provide. The reason for this is that station management will have a variety of digital services that may be possible methods of generating revenue. Only those sta tions whose management teams place a focus on these potential services would be capable of reaping the financial benefits. Furthermore, these additional services are the result of the digital revolution and stations need to embrace them in order to remain competitive. Otherwise, broadcas ters will eventually lose market share in their respective D.M.A.s for not having the foresi ght to invest in th ese new technologies. Current Federal Communications Commission Decision to Not Mandate Multicast Cable Carriage There are four them es which relate to re search question #3. Before reviewing these themes, research question #3 needs to be restat ed. The question asked about the adoption of

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167 multicasting and ancillary services by broadcaste rs as a result of the current FCC decision to only carry a stations primary broadcast stream. The first area reviews the far-reaching eff ects of the FCC mandating multicast cable carriage. The focus is that of th e cable industry and its ability to act as a ga tekeeper to the video service distribution channel. Th ree different themes account for the propensity of cable systems to voluntarily carry a broadcasters multi cast channels. They are as follows: the broadcaster-cable relationship a stations affiliation and access to HD programming the competitiveness of the cable market. The first of the themes concerning the like lihood that cable systems will voluntarily carry multicast channels states that it is the relations hip between the broadcaster and the cable operator that has the strongest impact. T opics covered that directly relate to this relationship begin with the need to tie carriage of the di gital subchannels to that of the primary channel when it comes to negotiating retransmission agreements. Th e second theme suggests the idea that it may be easier for broadcasters to deal with the smaller cable systems. Also, the fact that broadcasters will soon be asking for subscriber f ees, and, in some cases, higher subscriber fees, is mentioned in this section of the chapter. The stations affiliation and access to HD pr ogramming have a strong influence on the ability of broadcasters to receive cable carriage. A key consideration is a stations affiliation with a Big 4 network on its primary channel because this affiliation gives the station the leverage it needs to successfully negotiate cable ca rriage of its secondary digital channels. The last of the themes, the competitiveness of the cable market, also appears to impact the ability of a broadcast outlet to receive cable carriage for its digital subchannels. In a competitive

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168 market, cable operators do not want one of the ot her cable systems to carry a channel to which it does not have access. Mandate in Favor of Multicast Cable Carriage Would Be Significant All but one of the broadcasters who claim ed that their strategy would differ in reaction to a multicast carriage mandate stated that such a re gulatory change would have a major impact by encouraging a lot of broadcasters not curren tly multicasting to begin doing so. Not only broadcasters, but the entire distribution channel, including producers and programmers would be affected They would be motivated to start producing mo re content for all the new channels that would be carried on cable systems. This finding has major ramifications for th e broadcasting industry. Multicast cable carriage is very important to broadcasters, especially carriage on the analog tier. There are a lot of people and companies waiting in the wings for su ch a mandate, and if it were to be approved by the FCC, which, at this point, seems unlikely, there would be a mass of people ready to capitalize on the technology. Mult icasting has recently b ecome fairly widespread without such a mandate, allowing one to only imagine the influx of new content that would flood the market in the event of a multicast carriage mandate. The Cable Industry Has Become a Gate keeper: Competition (environmental) Cable com panies have become gatekeepers because of the limited capacity of their systems. The cable companies have created monopolies on the distribution channel as they determine which programming will actually reach their subscribers, which make up the dominant share of television viewers in th e United States. The cable industry uses the lack of available bandwidth and its effect on the ability to maintain clear signal quality as reasons for not carrying multicast channels. In the view of some of the executives interviewed, this means that cable operators are experiencing too much competition from broadcasters and their new multicast

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169 channels and, thus, feel the need to stifle the competition by using bandwidth limitations as an excuse. This finding shows a lack of trust between br oadcasters and cable pr oviders. If the two entities are to work together in a way in which bo th parties will benefit, they need to develop a stronger sense of trust. Broadcasters need to attempt to break through the excuses of the cable operators and see if they can convince them th at by carrying their stations multicast channels, cable systems will be providing a better-quality produc t to their subscribers. Cable operators, on the other hand, need to be careful in evaluating these multicast ch annels so that they do not disregard a channel with compelling and unique content that could be a valuable part of their channel lineup. Concurrently, they need to be cautious not to retransmit a multicast channel lacking in alluring content or one that directly competes with one of the national cable networks already airing on their systems. Themes of Multicast Carriage The results indicate market size has no bearing on the ability of broadcasters to receive cable carriage of their multicast channels. Inst ead, three possible themes which may explain the likelihood of a cable system carrying a broadcasters multicast channel(s) were found: the relationship between the broadcas ter and the cable systems in a market area, the competitive nature of the cable industry in a market, and th e affiliation of the broadcasters primary channel. Multicast carriage theme 1: Broadcaster-ca ble provider relationship impacts multicast carriage The ability o f broadcasters to receive multicas t cable carriage correlate s to the relationship that a broadcaster has with a cable company, corpor ately and locally. At the corporate level, the broadcast ownership groups meet with the corporate offices of multip le service operators (MSOs) to work out an arrangement in which th e cable operator will carry some or all of the

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170 digital channels the broadcast ownership groups st ations air in each of the markets in which the MSO operates. However, in many cases, the broa dcast ownership group is not very involved in the negotiating of cable carriage as it is completed at the local level. At the local level, stations work with the various cable comp anies to arrange a carriage agreement. As stated by one the television executives interviewed, there are a number of ways for stations to reach an agreement with cable operators, trade, promotional opportu nities, and video-on-demand, to name a few. Furthermore, given the fact that the larger-market cable systems have a larger channel capacity than the smaller-market cable systems, one might th ink that it would be easie r for broadcasters in larger markets to receive carriage. However, this is often not the case as the larger market cable operators have more broadcasters and, therefore, more multicast channels to place on their systems than do smaller-market cable systems. The importance to a broadcaster of having a strong relationship w ith a cable operator cannot be overemphasized. Sometimes a great relationship with a cable company is more important than having a lot of cl out in an effort to receive mu lticast cable carriage. It is important that broadcast stations try to work together with ca ble operators on local promotional and community events in order to strengthen the bond that they have with the cable companies. The relationship could go a long way in improvi ng the likelihood of receiving cable carriage, including placement on the analog tier instead of the digital tier. The relevance of this finding is that if a broa dcaster wants to receive cable carriage of its multicast channels, it should focus on developing a strong partnership with the cable companies in its market. If a broadcaster has an adversar ial relationship with the local cable companies, it may only be impeding its ability to receive cable carriage of its digital signals.

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171 Important for broadcasters to tie carriage of secondary channels to that of the primary channel. In Chapter 2, some attention was focused on retransmission consent and the fact that the current regulatory environment calls for the carriage of only a broadcasters primary channel in the case of a digital br oadcaster. The findings of this study suggest that broadcasters may be able to receive carriage of their sec ondary channels in their retransmission consent agreements with cable operators. For instance, a broadcaster, who is an affiliate of CBS and has a variety of HD programming to offer a cable system could tie the carriage of this channel to carriage of its secondary channel, on the analog channel tier, which coul d be a 24-hour all-news channel. The cable system could refuse this offer and counteroffer by stating that it could, instead, place the 24-hour all-news channel on its digital tier. Many cable systems, instead of denying broadcasters carriage of their multicast channels altogeth er, will offer broadcasters multicast carriage on their digital tiers. These ar e the high-numbered channe ls that only a cable systems digital subscribers can receive. This is the solution that many cable companies will choose to offer as it does make the channel available to viewers and it will not compete directly with cable networks such as the Discovery Ch annel, which can be found on both the digital and analog tiers. This solution keeps broadcasters from complaining that they are not receiving carriage, while ensuring that the viewership on these channels will not be high enough to negatively affect viewing of the cable networks. The relevance of this finding is that a broadc aster needs to be prepared to negotiate for carriage on the analog tier of a cable system, the channe l tier that all of their subscribers receive. A broadcaster needs to be sure to emphasize the uniqueness of its programming and how it can positively add to the program diversity of a cable systems analog tier. Not only will this argument be effective for broadcasters on the ba sis of providing greater variety of programming,

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172 but also on the fact that this unique programmi ng, by its very nature, is less likely to siphon viewers from the cable networks. On the other hand, if cable opera tors are willing to consider granting a broadcaster carriage on their analog tier, they need to be sure that the broadcasters programming does contribute to the diversity of programming found on the cable systems lineup. If it appears that the ch annel will not effectively add to the diversity of programming of the cable systems analog lineup or that the chan nel will draw viewers away from some of the cable networks, the cable operator needs to take measurers to defe nd its decision to relegate the broadcasters channel to the digital tier. Broadcasters negotiation with smaller cable systems may be easier. The smaller cable systems in a market may be easier for broadcasters to deal with because these systems want all the free content they can get a nd they are not in the business of selling advertising. These smaller systems, in many cases, do not have th e resources of the larger systems to pay the subscriber fees to receive a wide array of cable networks. The multicast ch annels of broadcasters give these cable systems a wide variety of chan nels without having to pa y subscriber fees for these channels, or, at least, not very high subscr iber fees for these channels. In addition, these smaller cable systems are not in the business of se lling advertising so they are not as concerned with carrying broadcast stations with similar content to that of their cable networks. The importance of this finding is that broadcas ters need to capitalize on these facts and get as many of their multicast channels on these smaller systems as possible. This will give broadcasters a wider audience base and it may also help to apply some competitive pressure to the larger cable systems so that they might be more willi ng to carry a broad casters multicast channels.

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173 Subscriber fees paid by cable operators to broadcasters will become much more prevalent. According to the executives interviewed as part of this study, broadcasters, in the near future, will start to ask cable operators for subscriber fees for their secondary channels and higher subscriber fees for their primary channels. In this case, broadcasters will be willing to deny cable systems retransmission of their signals if they are not adequately compensated for providing them to the cable operators. It is th e belief of some of the television executives interviewed that the cable companies may follow the directives of the broad casters, if reluctantly, because they want to avoid receiving customer complaints. The significance of this findi ng is that broadcasters need to remain steadfast in their willingness to deny programming to the cable companies in cases in which they are not being adequately compensated. Broadcasters need to band together in a market to ensure that all of the stations in their market do not agree to less comp ensation than the value of their signals dictate. If one station is willing to accept a disproportionately lower level of compensation, it could jeopardize the value of the other stations in the market. Broad casters should be in a position of influence for not only carrying compelling content that only they have available, but also because cable companies have not fared well in a number of customer satisfaction studies. The cable companies desperately want to and have been trying to repos ition themselves in the minds of consumers. As a result, they may be especia lly willing to work with broadcasters if it means avoiding receiving complaint calls from unsatisfied customers. Multicast carriage theme 2: Affiliation and access to h igh-definition programming influence multicast carriage A stations primary affiliation has a strong bear ing on its ability to receive carriage of its multicast signals. The television executives interviewed were nearly all in agreement that there is more value associated with the Big 4 networks and that these networks have a greater capacity

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174 to offer compelling content. A station has more leverage and more market influence when it carries a Big 4 affiliation, especially when one considers the sporting events carried by these networks. Other than ESPN, the only way to re ceive most marquee sporting events is through one of the Big 4 networks. The Big 4 networks also carry a wide ra nge of high-definition programming, with the prime schedule of the CBS network, for instance, almost entirely broadcast in HD. This highlights one of the ar eas of difficulty for independent stations and stations affiliated with networks other than the Big 4; these st ations have difficulty attaining high-definition programming to showcase. Most syndicated series only come in standarddefinition format and it is expensive for independ ent stations, particularly, to produce their own HD programming. However, some independent stat ions do have significant leverage and those are the ones that have a strong news product as well as a diverse line-up including popular syndicated dramas and sitcoms as well as local community affairs programming. The significance of this is that affiliated statio ns need to consider the leverage they have with the cable companies and realize that in their retransmission agreements, they have significant power. They have the ability to o ffer the cable systems some thing that they cannot get anywhere else and that is ne w dramas, sitcoms, and sporting even ts all in HD. What is most important for cable operators to consider is that these networks carry th e programming that will, most likely, be viewed by a greater share of the television viewing public than will the programming carried by the cable networks. The major broadcast networks have the greatest resources and positioning within the marketplace to offer the most alluring content of any of the networks available.

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175 Multicast carriage theme 3: Level of competitio n experienced by cable operato rs influences multicast carriage The third theme is as follows: the level of competition experienced by cable operators in a given market influences the ability of broadcasters to receive carriage of their multicast channels. The level of competition refers to which cable systems are there and which ones are not and the market power than any one particular cable provider has in that market. A cable system which has a lot of market power is one that exclusively serves, or nearly exclusively serves, a particular market and one that operates within a D.M.A. dominated by the delivery of video programming via cable. The cable industry needs to brace itself for increased competition, according to the responses of the broadcast executives. The telephone companies are now stepping in the arena of video program distributors as they are clai ming to have the ability to carry every multicast stream a broadcaster sends out. They say that their bandwidth is limitless unlike the cable operators who claim they have limited bandwidt h. This new form of competition to the cable industry is good for both broadcasters and consumers alike. The relevance of this finding is that a compe titive cable market will work in the favor of broadcasters receiving carriage of their multicas t channels. This will be a strong factor in determining the likelihood of cable cooperation with broadcasters in the carriage of their digital signals. To the contrary, in a non-competitive ca ble market, one in which a cable company has a monopolistic position, broadcasters may be less likel y to receive cable carriage of their multicast channels. Limitations of the Study The m ajor limitation of this study was its scope Due to the fact that the interviewer conducted in-depth interviews w ith each of the television executives, he was unable to gather

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176 information from a wide variety of subjects repr esenting various television stations. Since the researcher was conducting exploratory research, interviewing fewe r subjects with each providing a plethora of detailed information was the ne cessary approach. Because only nine executives were interviewed, this research cannot be genera lized to the overall popula tion and its results are intended to only reflect the views and thought s of a few industry practitioners. A second limitation of this study was that each television executive was not asked the same series of questions in the same order. As this research was explorator y, the researcher had to tailor each question to each specific interview and he chose particular follow up questions that in some cases were only asked of one professional, wh ich led to some gaps in the research findings. The reasoning for this method of questioning was that the researchers objective was to try and gather as much information as possible from each of the executives. Had the research questions focused on an area more widely explored then the researcher would have been more strict in adhering to a specific series of que stions in a specified order. A third limitation of the study was that the rese archers personal biases may have entered into some of the questions asked and the voice in flection he used in aski ng particular questions. This may have been evident in both the actua l interviews as well as the investigators interpretations of the interviews found in this chapter and Chapter 4. This is always a concern of qualitative research and cannot be avoided. Areas for Future Research There are a num ber of areas of future research interest to the investigator. The areas of interest are separated out by the topics aff iliated with each of the research questions, multicasting, ancillary services and multicast cable carriage.

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177 Multicasting An area of future research would be to survey viewers in different m arkets and see if the most popular multicast content broadcast by televisi on stations will change, or remain the same, over time. It would be of interest to see if a nother genre of local progra mming would be able to surpass weather. The advantages of the weather format will make this difficult. It will be sometime, if ever that another format will be able to take the place of weather as the number one area of audience interest. The localness and cost-effectiveness of weathercasts also add to the allure of the multicast format for television statio ns. One possibility might be a locally-produced entertainment channel in that many people may find the content more intriguing, however, the program would be more expensive to produce. A second area of future investigation pertai ning to multicasting involves a look into the model of program choice. Since multicasting is just now becoming wide spread, it would be interesting to see, in perhaps, five or ten years, to what extent the larger selection of multicast channels contributes to program di versity. Also, it would be of in terest to see to what extent broadcasters will imitate the way in which cab le companies currently operate by repeating programs over their multicast channels. A third area of future research would be to ta ke a look at a variety of television stations that are broadcasting multiple streams and see in what cases they decide to dedicate a separate sales team to the multicast channels. When a sta tion adds a third or fourth channel, the station will have much more programming that it can broa dcast and sell to potential advertisers, but are the potential revenue gains substantial enough to warra nt the focus of an en tire sales team? Along with the number of multicast channels, it would also be of interest to see what types of content will increase the likelihood that a separate sales team w ill be dedicated to the multicast channels.

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178 Ancillary services An area inv olving ancillary services that warran ts future investigation relates to the fact that the larger market stations are further advanc ed in developing ancillary services as compared to the smaller market broadcasters. The research could focus on the possibility that the smaller market stations could achieve a similar level of de velopment to that of the large market stations in the case of ancillary services. Particularl y, the ability of the smallest markets, those 126 D.M.A. sized and smaller, to reach a similar level to the largest markets, those stations in the top 25 of D.M.A.s in terms of size. It would be fascin ating to see what variables come into play that effect this in a positive or negative manner. Su ch variables may include various initiatives of the broadcast ownership group to which a sta tion belongs, technologies being employed by competitors to a station in a market, and the vision of the broadcasters management team. Multicast cable carriage An area of further research would be to investigate the relationship between broadcasters and cable sy stems within particular markets to see what impacts a posi tive relationship between the two entities would have on the prevalence of multicasting in a market. A researcher could conduct surveys of both television station executives and cable system managers to ascertain the status of the relationship between the two. The st atus would be considered to either be positive or negative. From this information, a comp arison could be made between the positive and negative broadcaster-cable relations hips to see if there are significant differences between the two status groups when considering the amount of multicast channels that th e television stations are broadcasting. A second area of interest for future research is that of the re lationship between the competitiveness of the cable market and the prevalence of multicasting in that market. Such research would be based on the idea that the more likely cable systems are to carry multicast

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179 channels, the more multicast channels that would be offered by broadcasters. In other words, cable carriage would drive the creation and deve lopment of these channels by broadcasters. Some evidence does suggest that the more competition there is in a market to the cable companies, the more likely that these companies may carry multicast channels in an effort to avoid a situation in which their competitors ar e carrying programming that they are unable to distribute to their subscribers. A third area of further research would be to look at the relati onship between stations that have strong leverage and the amount of multicasti ng they are conducting as compared to stations that have weak leverage. Leverage could be m easured in terms of a stations affiliation with a Big 4 network or a station which broadcasts a significant amount of HD programming. A final area of further research could be to look specifically at cable companies that sell advertising and those that do not and see what differences exist as they relate to the carriage of multicast channels. There is evidence to suggest that cable companies that sell advertising on their systems may be less likely to carry multicas t channels of broadcasters because they are concerned that these channels will draw viewer s and, subsequently, advertising revenues from their networks and systems. Conclusion In this chapter, the researcher h as summarized the results from Chapter 4 and has grouped them together as common themes. These themes look at the implications of the information provided by the nine television executives to the curre nt and future states of the broadcasting industry. As can be seen, there are a variety of themes that were uncovered in the process of this research study. These themes we re grouped into three major areas, the multicast business model, ancillary servic es, and multicast cable carriage.

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180 The first of the major groups is that of th e multicast business model. It was found that weather was the most popular format to be multicast, particularly in the larger market stations. The other trend in multicasting content was that of My Network and The CW being broadcast on secondary digital channels in th e smaller markets. When the re searcher looked at the influence of the network on the content carried on the multi cast channels, there was a limited influence. However, when the investigator looked at the broadcast ownership group and its impact on multicasting content, there was a strong correlatio n. Furthermore, it was discovered that cable carriage is an important part of assigning value to a multicast channel. Lastly, in regards to the multicast business model, it was discovered that th e efforts of USDTV were unsuccessful mainly because the business model used by the MVPD faile d to compete effectively with the dominant industry players, cable and satellite. The second group contained only one major theme and that was the limited adoption taking place of ancillary services. This seems to be the result of the limited understanding of the technology and the fact that it is quite unlike the typical broadcaste rs business model. The third group contained a number of them es that centered around the current FCC decision not to impose a mandate on cable operators to carry all of the secondary channels of broadcasters. The first item discussed, as part of this theme, was that a mandate in favor of multicast carriage of all of a broadcasters signals would be a major development. The second item discovered was that the cable industry has be come a gatekeeper along the video distribution supply chain. Moreover, there are three major themes of multi cast carriage. The first of these themes is that the relationship that exists between broadcasters and cable operators has a major impact on the ability of broadcasters to receive carriage of their multicast signals. The second of the three

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181 major themes of multicast carriage is that the affiliation of a broa dcasters primary station and its access to HD programming have a strong influence on the broadcasters ability to receive carriage of their secondary streams. The third of the major themes of multicast carr iage is that the competitiveness of the cable market influe nces the ability of br oadcasters to receive voluntary carriage of their secondary channels. Furthermore, the researcher mentioned some of the limitations of the study. They include the limited scope, the fact that the same seri es of questions were not asked of each study participant nor were they asked in the same order, and the researchers own unintended personal biases and their effect on the actual interviews and the investigators interpretations of the information provided. The chapter concludes with a discussion of a few areas in which further research is needed.

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182 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION The digital revolution is rapid ly advancing. Digital television set prices are falling, HD programming is now more prevalen t than ever, more television st ations than ever before are broadcasting multicast channels, and cable and satellite providers have more content than ever to offer their subscribers. It is a time of great confusion and conflict, but also of tremendous opportunity. Broadcasters and the multichannel vide o program distributors of cable and satellite need to be constantly aware of new developments and new technologies wh ich will be available to their industries. Those companies that have the vision and flexibility to ride this wave of change will be the ones that will successfully navigate their way to the shore. It is in this place, where they will await the arrival of a tide of new technologies while remaining firmly poised in the sand to, once again, ride th e waves of change.

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183 APPENDIX A LIST OF KEY DEFINITIONS Digital Television (DTV) a new technology for transmitting and receiving broadcast television signals. It delivers be tter pictures and sound, uses the broadcast spectrum more efficientl y, and adds versatility to the range of applications. There are two levels of DTV: (1) High-Definition Television (HDTV) This is the highest quality DTV, with resolution of 720p to 1080i or higher and being produced in a 16:9 (wide-screen) aspect ratio with up to six channels of Dolby Digital sound. (2) Standard Definition Television (SDTV) This refers to a signal that is lower in clarity than that of HDTV, but higher than the analog signal being used today. This is usually in the format of 480i or 480p and is comparable to todays digital satellite and DVD picture quality. Multicasting A technique by which two or mo re channels (programs) are simultaneously broadcast on one major channel. Ancillary Services This refers to various ad vanced digital services such as datacasting, subscription television, tele text, and interactive TV. Datacasting A technique by which additional program data or interactive information is transmitted along w ith a program, such as catalog pages or even Web content. Designated Market Area A region where the population can receive the same (or similar) (D.M.A.) television station offerings. Aspect Ratio The ratio of a TV pictures width to its height. Our current system uses a 4:3 aspect ratio, whereas HDTV uses a wider 16:9 aspect ratio. Scanning Formats: (1) Interlaced (i) A process where even-numbered lines are scanned first followed by odd-numbered ones. (2) Progressive (p) A process in which lines are sca nned in sequences, from top to bottom

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184 Lines of Resolution A measure of horizontal resolution in a video system. The actual measure is how many vertical black -white lines can be resolved on a display. The current NTSC format provides for 525 horizontal lines while an HDTV standard provides for either 720 or 1080 horizontal lines. Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (M VPD) An entity such as, but not limited to, a cable operator, a Multiple System Operator ( MSO ), a multiple channel distribution service, a Direct Broadcast Satellite ( DBS ) service, or a television receive only satellite program distributor who makes available for purchase by subscribers or customers multiple channels of video programming. MVPD encompases all providers of multichannel TV, including MSOs, Private Cable Operators ( PCO )s, Competitive Local Exchange Carriers ( CLEC )s and DBS systems.

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185 APPENDIX B INTRODUCTORY LETTER Todd Holmes Graduate Student University of Florida (My address here) (Name typed here) General Manager (Address for Station) Dear (Name of Executive): I am a graduate student at the University of Florid a and, as part of a Masters Thesis, I am conducting interviews with television station general managers in various market s. The purpose of these interviews is to see what digital business model stations are curre ntly using, or looking to use, to increase audience share and, subsequently, revenues. I am c ontacting you because I believe that your thoughts on (broadcast station)s digital strategy as well as your op inion as to the best ways for television stations to remain competitive during the current transition to dig ital will prove to be of great value to the research study. The interview will take no more than 45 minutes. Specifically, I will be asking you questions about multicasting (simultaneous broadcasting of two or more channels at the same time) and ancillary services (additional program data and/or interactive conten t being transmitted along with a program). Your responses to these questions will be kept confidential a nd your identity will not be revealed in the final copy of the thesis. I will be contacting you early next week to discuss the possibility of us setting up a meeting. Realizing that you have many demands on your time and various important issues with which to deal, I would like to set up this interview for a time that would be of most convenience for you. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this research study or would like to take a look at the questions I will be asking, please dont hesitate to give me a call at (352) 339-1515. I look forward to speaking with you soon to discuss th e possibility of an interview. I hope to have the opportunity to meet you in the near future and I am ve ry appreciative of your time and your consideration of my request. Sincerely, Todd A. Holmes Graduate Student University of Florida

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186 APPENDIX C INFORMED CONSENT LETTER Dear Station Executive: I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. As part of my Masters Thesis, I am conducting indepth interviews. The purpose of these interviews is to see what digital business models stations are utilizing to increase their audience share and revenues as the digital transition unfolds. Specifically, I am looking into multicasting (simultaneous broadcasting of two or more channels at the same time) and ancillary services (additional program data and/or interactive content being transmitted along with a program). I am asking you to participate in one of these interviews because you have been identified as a TV station executive with a great deal of knowledge about your stations digital business model and the industry-wide transition to the new digital standard. Interviewees will be asked to participate in an inte rview lasting no longer than 45 minutes. The schedule of questions is attached to this form. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Your interview will begin after I receive a copy of this signed consent from you. With your permission, I would like to audiotape this interview. Only I will have access to the tape which I will personally transcribe, removing any id entifiers during transcription. The tape will then be erased. If you decide to not allow me to audiotape the interview, I would like to take handwritten notes of your comments instead with your permission. Whether the interview is tape-recorded or handwritten notes are taken in lieu of an audiotape, your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law and your identity will not be revealed in the final manuscript. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this interview. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may discontinue your participation in the interview at any time without consequence. If you have any questions about this research protocol please contact me at (352) 339-1515 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. David H. Ostroff, at (352) 392-0463 Questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611; ph (352) 392-0433. Please sign this copy of the letter and hand to me if and when you wish to proceed. A second copy is provided for your records. By signing this letter, you give me permission to report your responses anonymously in the final manuscript to be submitted to my faculty supervisor as part of my Masters Thesis. Thank you, Todd A. Holmes ___________________________________________________________________________________ I have read the procedure described above for th e Digital Business Model Interview research. I voluntarily agree to participate in the interview and I have received a copy of this description. Signature of Participant:____________________________ Date: __________ Signature of Investigator:___________________________ Date: __________

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187 APPENDIX D INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 1 General: 1. W hat is your name and job title? 2. What are your primar y job responsibilities? 3. What network(s) does your station carry? 4. What station group do you belong to? Research Question 1: What are the primary factors which are driving the adoption of multicasting at broadcast outlets? 1. Are you familiar with multicasting? a. Is it something your stati on is currently offering viewers? b. If so, how many digital streams are you offering? c. If not, when are you looking to begin using the technology? 2. What types of programming are you offering on these digital streams? a. What kind of network programming are you airing? b. What kind of in-house pr ogramming are you airing, if any? c. How did you decide to use this combination of programming? 3. How much influence does the network have over your selection of multicast channels? 4. Are there multicasting in itiatives you are aware of within the station group? 5. What are the costs involved in carrying these multicast channels? 6. Are you currently selling a dvertising on th ese channels?

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188 a. If so, how are you selling ad time? 1. Are you offering program or channel s ponsorships or selling individual spots? 2. Are you tying in your spot sales on the secondary channels with those on the main channel? 3. Do you have or do you plan to have a separate sales team for these secondary channels? b. If not, why arent you selling ad vertising on these secondary channels? 7. You may have heard of USDTV or Emmis Communications and how they are purchasing unused spectrum from broadcasters in select market s to offer a low-cost alternative to cable. If they were to call on you, w ould you be willing to sell th em some of your unused spectrum/bandwidth? a. Do you believe that these compan ies have a viable business concept?

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189 APPENDIX E INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 2 Research Question #2: What are the primary factors which are driving the adoption of various ancillary services (datacasting, subscription television programmi ng, teletext, and interactive services, etc.) at broadcast outlets? 1. Are you familiar with ancillary services, such as datacasting, subscription television programming, teletext and interac tive services? a. Is your station currently offering any of these digital services? b. If so, how many streams of an cillary services are you offering? c. If not, when are you looking to begin utilizing these services? 2. What types of information/ entertainm ent are you offering on these digital streams? a. What kind of network-provi ded information are you datacasting? b. What kind of in-house information are you providing, if any? c. How did you decide to use thes e combination of digital services? 3. How much influence does the network have ove r your selection of dig ital services and the type of information that your station sends out? 4. Are there any digital serv ice initiatives you are aware of within your station group? 5. What are the costs involved in carry ing these data/entertainment channels? 6. Are you currently tying advertisi ng in with these digital services? a. If so, how are you selling adve rtising on these ancillary services?

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190 1. Are you offering providing advertiser sponsorships on thes e digital channels? 2. Are you tying in these sponsorships w ith spots sales/sponsorships on the main channel? 3. Do you have or do you plan to have a separate sales team for these ancillary services? b. If not, why arent you selling advertising on these digital services? 7. Are you currently or do you plan to charge subscription fees for the use of these services?

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191 APPENDIX F INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: RESEARCH QUESTION 3 Research Question #3: How is the current FCC decision mandating th at cable systems only have to carry a broadcasters primary video programming stream effecting the multicasting and ancillary service adoption decisions being made at broadcast outlets? 1. For some time, the FCC has been debating the carriage of multicast (secondary) channels on cable systems. Do you feel that your business st rategy would be different if cable systems had to carry every multicast channel offered by local broadcasters? a. If your strategy would be different, why? b. What would be differe nt about your strategy? c. What are the factors which are contribu ting to the ability of some broadcasters to receive voluntary carriage? 2. Do you feel that affiliates in smaller markets have more or less of a chance of getting their multicast channels on cable systems than affiliates in larger market