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Chapter 6

Chapter 6. CABLE and the Specialization of Television. Opening Exercise. Invent a new cable channel, which will Fill a clearly defined niche Draw an audience demographically profitable for the advertisers who will pay for the channel’s operation. Development of Early Cable Technology.

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Chapter 6

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  1. Chapter 6 CABLE and the Specialization of Television

  2. Opening Exercise Invent a new cable channel, which will Fill a clearly defined niche Draw an audience demographically profitable for the advertisers who will pay for the channel’s operation

  3. Development of Early Cable Technology • Devised by appliance store dealers and electronics firms, 1940s • Need to get TV programming in rural, remote areas • built antenna relay towers in remote rural communities, ran wires to homes

  4. CATV:Community antenna television • first small cable systems • in communities where mountains or tall buildings blocked broadcast signals • served 10% of USA, with 12 channels • Advantages: no over-the-air interference, increased channel capacity

  5. Cable threatens broadcasting • broadcasters lobbied to curb cable development for 30 years • FCC backed broadcasting industry, banning cable competition until the early ’70s • only exception: CATV allowed in remote areas

  6. How Do Cable Systems Work? • Headend: computerized nerve center • downlinks program channels from satellite • relays programming through coaxial or fiber-optic cables attached to utility poles • signals run through drop lines into homes through converter boxes

  7. FCC and CABLE REGULATION, 1972 • Must-carry rules: required cable operators to carry all local TV broadcasts • Limited number of distant commercial stations carried • Mandate for public access channels and leased channels

  8. Public Access Television If you controlled a public access channel in your community, what would be your channel’s goals? How could public access television find a larger audience than it has in most places? Is a larger audience desirable?

  9. Cable Franchising • Local communities awarded monopoly to selected cable company (late 1970s-1980s) • Franchises awarded by local municipalities and, sometimes, state governments • Opportunities for corruption in bidding • Some states defined cable as a public utility

  10. CABLE TV’s AMBIGUOUSREGULATORY STATUS • WHO holds jurisdiction over wired television? • Is it broadcasting, or a public utility (a common carrier)? • Or is it an electronic publisher?

  11. Cable Act of 1984 • represented more support and protection for cable industry • ended rate regulation and must-carry rules • cable subscription charges skyrocketed • cable systems began dropping PBS, local and independent stations

  12. Cable Act of 1992 • FCC and Congress re-instated rate regulations • must-carry or retransmission consent options for local commercial broadcasters

  13. TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT of 1996 • first major change since 1934, finally incorporating cable under federal regulation • removed market barriers between phone companies, long-distance carriers and cable operators • re-affirmed must-carry rules to protect local broadcasters

  14. CNN Revolutionizes TV News • 24-hour TV news channel, 1980, Turner Broadcasting • 1982: Turner launched HEADLINE NEWS channel as well • lost money until 1985 • emerged as major news competitor during Persian Gulf War, 1991, with 24-hour coverage

  15. The CNN “formula” • emphasizes news itself rather than celebrity anchors • 24-hour format allowed unprecedented viewer access • delivers timely news in greater detail • offers live, unedited continuous coverage of breaking events • emphasizes international news

  16. MUSIC TELEVISION NETWORK (MTV) • 1981, Warner Communications (bought by Viacom in 1985) • Global offspring and strong international presence: MTV Asia, MTV Europe, MTV Brazil, MTV Japan, MTV Latino

  17. MTV’s niche • originally, rotation of music videos (a new media form); in early 1990s, added original programming • partnership with recording industry: MTV bought exclusive rights to music videos • exclusive agreements with cable systems to limit competition

  18. MTV’s Style Visual style has revolutionized the “look” of film, television, and culture worldwide • hand-held camera • innovative camera angles • fast-paced cuts • bright colors

  19. CNN AND MTV In addition to the changes CNN and MTV have made to US culture, they are also seen in many other parts of the world. What changes might they be making in the cultures of other countries? Do you see them as positive or negative in a global context?

  20. Direct Broadcast Satellites (DBS) • DBS bypasses cable to get programming directly from satellite • legal issues--who owns the satellite signals? • Early satellite dishes huge and expensive • FCC restricted DBS services in 1970s and 1980s • Full, legalized DBS services in 1994

  21. OWNERSHIP ISSUES in the CABLE INDUSTRY • Multiple-system operators (MSO’s) • Oligopoly: handful of corporations control most of programming • Which companies dominate the cable industry?

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