Fwd: Communications-related Headlines for 12/1/98

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 08:44:48 -0800 (PST)

>ANTENNAE ATTRACT VIEWERS TO SATELLITE TV
>Issue: Satellite TV
>Congress seemingly closed the Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) companies
>from carrying local TV signals by requiring them under most circumstances to
>carry all local signals nationally if they were going to carry any. The
>inability to carry local signals has slowed DBS incursion into the
>television industry since both over-the-air and cable sources carry local
>channels. One of the new marketing efforts of the DBS companies is adding a
>separate advanced antenna to their satellite package with easy switching
>between the antenna and the satellite receiver. (The stainless steel
>antennas are shaped like arrows and are about half the length of a
>yardstick, much smaller than traditional antennae.) Bell Atlantic, GTE and
>other regional phone companies have been enlisted by two of the DBS
>companies to sell their services. These marketing efforts are working. The
>combined subscriber base of the four DBS companies will jump this year by
>30% to about nine million households. Similar gains are expected next year.
>Users suggest their price packages are equal to or less than the price of
>cable.
>[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B1), AUTHOR: Leslie Cauley & Frederic M. Biddle]
><http://www.wsj.com/>
>
>==================
CABLE & TELEVISION
==================

1999: BIG YEAR FOR CABLE REGULATION
Issue: Cable
The cable industry is awaiting some important decisions from Washington in
the coming year. One of the biggest questions facing the industry is weather
they will be required to carry both broadcasters' analog and digital signals
as they make the transition to digital TV. The FCC will also determine
weather cable Internet services should be regulated as local telephone
service is. Meanwhile, Congress is scheduled to review laws regarding
satellite TV, which could potentially provide important competitor to cable.
Congress will also consider a bill to encourage competition by restricting
exclusive deals between programmers and distributors. Additionally, the bill
would allow communities to determine if their local cable franchise is
offering desirable programming at a fair price. If not, they could be forced
to offer different programming packages.
[SOURCE: Broadcasting and Cable (p98), AUTHOR: Bill McConnell and Paige
Albiniak]
<http://www.broadcastingcable.com/>

DIGITAL PUBLIC INTEREST DEMANDS TONED DOWN
Issue: DTV
The Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital TV
Broadcasters, known as the Gore Commission, has softened its recommendation
that cable operators should fully carry broadcasters' signals in return for
broadcasters meeting minimum public interest requirements. The current draft
of the committee's report still recommends mandatory minimum standards for
digital broadcasters, but it no longer ties 'must carry' to the fulfillment
of the minimum standards. 'Must carry' is offered as one option of
expediting the deployment of digital broadcasters that have met their
obligations to the American public. [For more info see
<http://www.benton.org/Policy/TV/piac.html>]
[SOURCE: Broadcasting and Cable (p11), AUTHOR: Paige Albiniak]
<http://www.broadcastingcable.com/>

FCC SAYS NETS DO OF JOB OF KIDS TV
Issue: Children's TV
While the major broadcast networks won approval from the Federal
Communications Commission for their programming aimed at children, media
advocacy groups say that both the networks and the FCC deserve bad grades
when it comes to kids. The Center for Media Education says there needs to be
stronger rules to prevent excessive preemption of kids' shows during
Saturday morning sporting events. The FCC found that children's shows were
preempted nearly 7% of the time on networked owned-and-operated stations.
[SOURCE: Broadcasting and Cable (p18), AUTHOR: Bill McConnell]
<http://www.broadcastingcable.com/>

MEDIA TALK: INTERNET NEWS FANATICS PREFER TELEVISION SITES
Issue: Internet
Broadcast and cable television news sites on the Internet attract more
people for a quick look at breaking headlines than newspaper sites,
according to a recent survey by Jupiter Communications. Eighty-seven
percent of Internet news consumers responding to the survey felt online news
was at least as reliable as more traditional news outlets. The main
attractions for those surveyed: national and international news (61%),
business news (39%), sports news (34%), and entertainment news (31%). The
study also concluded that few people on the Internet look at the video clips
that are available for some news events.
[SOURCE: New York Times (CyberTimes), AUTHOR: Felicity Barringer]
< http://www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/news/financial/media-talk.html>

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
510-643-8566
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld