Category: Industry Update

Latest news and updates from the Broadcast Television and Antenna industry

Jun
25

Posted in Industry Update | Comments

Ding-Dong, Aereo is Dead

Aereo is Dead for blog 2

The decision is made. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of innovation, the freedom of the American people and the sacredness of over-the-air television. Aereo, a non-moneymaking hobby backed by bloated investors, is dead. Finally.

There is reason to rejoice at their demise:

  1. Stealing is bad. It turns out you can’t sell something you don’t own. This is good for innovative companies such as – ahem – antenna manufacturers.
  2. Over-the-air is free right now and that is the way that it should be. If Aereo had won, broadcasters had threatened to pull their over-the-air signal and charge consumers for their content.

For some time, Aereo has cast itself as a star in its own underdog drama. It wanted to be the proverbial David. The fatal error Aereo made was thinking the American people were too stupid to see through their little myth. All along, there have been loopholes in this story:

  1. The technology is not real. It boils down to this: you cannot break the laws of physics with antenna technology or by calling them “microantennas.” As much as we would like to, you just cannot. It’s that simple.
  2. There is nothing innovative about stealing. If you are going to charge money to rebroadcast something, then the creator of the content should get a cut. It is called copyright, and it exists to protect innovations – not harm them.
  3. It was charging people for free content. Over-the-air is free. Not a subscription. You can receive it in full HD with an antenna. Millions of Americans have realized this and millions more will follow.
  4. Aereo is not actually a company. It has not actually sustained itself and made money. It took large amounts of cash and blew them on legal fees. For the millions they have invested in lawyers, Antennas Direct could have supplied scores of Americans with the ability to start watching television right now for free.

Aereo investors say they have no plan B. And we are so grateful for their arrogance, poor planning and illegal business model. We invite you to join us today in dancing on Aereo’s grave. Three cheers for free TV!

photo credit: Chad McDonald via photopin cc

Jun
12

Posted in Antenna Update, Industry Update | Comments

President Richard Schneider Opinion Piece Featured in Roll Call

Op-ed image

The cacophony of rising ire against pay television’s backward business practices has reached such a volume, the folks in Washington DC are waking up to the cord cutting revolution. While high paid cable company lobbyists have taken to bending consumer statistics, we, at Antennas Direct, know more Americans than ever are liberating themselves and watching over-the-air broadcast. Recently, our president and founder, Richard Schneider, wrote an opinion piece in the influential Washington DC publication, Roll Call, about the renaissance of over-the-air.

From the article:

“It is clear that the sea change against pay-TV is directly translating to market disruption for Big Cable, and the massive upwelling of support for antennas is evidence of the over-the-air revolution that has been building for years. Cable, satellite and telecom companies have to find a way to be responsive to the consumer. If not, the American people might just put them out of their misery.”

Read the full article here.

Mar
31

Posted in Cable be evil, Industry Update | Comments

CSI: The Death of Cable

Since crime scene dramas are the most-watched television programming for over-the-air viewers, we decided to use that medium to help you understand the dire straits in which cable providers have found. Scene opens on a wealthy tycoon’s office.

We had seen carnage before that day. But never any quite as mysterious. Cable Paymoor’s bloated body slumped forward in his throne-link office chair. The millionaire tycoon’s comb-over blew gently in the breeze of the open floor-to-ceiling windows. Piles of cash stacked around him escaped through the windows bill-by-bill.

My partner and I had been called to his residence after reports that he had not been heard from for days. We knew this was not out of character for Paymoor. He had a habit of going off the grid for days at a time and missing appointments. But this time, something much more deadly had happened.

“It appears there are no signs of forced entry,” said my partner.

“Well, that’s no surprise,” I said. “No one could penetrate this palace if they tried. No. I think what caused the demise of Cable is something more mysterious.”

We moved closer to Paymoor’s body and noted the open wound on his forehead. On the screen in front of him were the latest statistics on the number of Cable subscribers. It looked like he lost over 1.7 million subscribers.

MultiChannel Cable

In front of him lay a copy of the New York Times with the headline, “Cord Cutting Movement is Costing Cable Millions.” A pattern of blood splatter on the desk spelled out all we needed to know. Paymoor had died of self-inflicted wounds. He had smashed his head on the desk in frustration over losing his market share.

“My god,” I said. “Cable died of a broken heart. It appears this over-the-air option has driven Paymoor to the brink. He obviously couldn’t take it.”

On the desk next to the headlines I notice a cake. It read “MANY THANKS. STAY THE COURSE. XOXO Antennas Direct”

I turn to my partner: “Heh. I guess being a cable CEO is not such a sweet job anymore.”

Oct
30

Posted in Antenna Update, Cut the Cord, Industry Update | Comments Off

ClearStream 2V HDTV Antenna Featured in Forbes

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cable prices have risen 77 percent since 1996. In an effort to save money and enhance their TV viewing experience, many Americans are searching for alternatives to traditional pay-TV.

In comes an HDTV antenna from Antennas Direct! Our antennas offer superior HD picture quality and unmatched signal strength. C2V

Speaking of unmatched signal strength, the ClearStream 2V HDTV antenna was recently featured in Forbes. The article covered the wide-range of cord-cutting options that are on the market today, including HDTV antennas.

In the past, over-the-air TV was not a viable option for people that were living 50+ miles from the closest tower. The ClearStream 2V was praised for its 50-mile signal range and its ability to be installed anywhere in the house. No matter challenging your living environment might be, it is truly no match for the unparalleled power of the ClearStream 2V HDTV antenna!

The ClearStream 2V also has the power to—depending on the market—pull in up to 70 channels. These stations range from major network affiliates to foreign language channels, giving families a true Smörgåsbord of content to choose from.

If you would like to read the Forbes article in its entirety, please visit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/amadoudiallo/2013/10/16/how-to-cut-the-cord-cable-tv/

To find out which one is right for you, head on over to antennapoint.com, punch in your zip code, and enjoy all your favorite HD shows for free!

Oct
2

Posted in Antenna Update, Industry Update | Comments

Antennas: On the Cutting Edge of Technology

We have not ever seen ourselves as a “tech startup.” That term has certainly become en vogue over the last several years with the explosion of technology companies in seemingly every American city. The images that come to mind include hipster workplaces where tattoo-sleeved (cool yet nerdy) teenagers banging out code on sleek machines while a throng of twenty-somethings play table tennis. They build web-based applications, phone applications and other digital technologies.

Rarely, however, do you hear people discuss a product like our humble high definition antennas. But luckily St. Louis is full of rare people.

At a recent awards lunch hosted the St. Louis County Economic Council (SLCEC), Antennas Direct was recognized for its entrepreneurial vision alongside newer brands such as yurbuds and LockerDome as well as established brands such as Scottrade, Ameren and Edward Jones. The theme of the evening centered on research and innovation. Since Antennas Direct has shown steady growth for the past ten years (a pattern that has earned us a spot on the Inc. 5000 for the last six years), the SLCEC felt as though we are an important part of the St. Louis entrepreneurial scene. As a show of gratitude, each attendee received an antenna from Antennas Direct.

We applaud the SLCEC for their vision and bravery in recognizing the innovative and cutting edge technology that we have packed into our products and into our business thinking. We take it as confirmation of a belief we have held for some time: Antennas are the future of television.

 

Special thanks to host, KMOV’s Claire Kellett for plugging the benefits of over-the-air technology to the audience (“watching K-M-O-V”). Take a look at the video below to see our fearless leader, Richard Schneider, and a host of other business leaders discuss the values of the St. Louis region.

Aug
15

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A Special Message from Antennas Direct to Victims of the CBS and Time Warner Debacle

The cable television big shots are at it again – another carriage dispute is dominating the headlines and unfairly punishing their viewers. The current standoff between Time Warner Cable and CBS has meant viewers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and 13 other states have been without some of their favorite programming for some time now. CBS  blackout

What typically happens is this:
Cable and satellite companies began to charge customers for high-definition television (that is free over-the-air). The broadcasters then asked for a cut of the money that was being made on what is actually free. In an effort to negotiate a better rate, the cable company (in this case, Time Warner) blacks out the network television station.

It’s big names and big egos. In the end, no one wins.

And the biggest victim is you – American families who pop corn, pour sodas and watch your favorite mini-series like Under the Dome together. If you are one of the victims of this blackout, then know that you have been wronged.

The good news: it does not have to be this way. You don’t have to wait for the big shots to play their games. There is a way to get the programming you want to see without the monthly fee…all you need is an HD antenna.

Also, the picture and sound quality from an antenna far surpasses the compressed signal from your paid provider. So when you have your friends over to watch the Cowboys game (since it is blacked out on their TV), you will have a better image than ever.

The even better news: you don’t have to pay full price for a high quality HD antenna. We at Antennas Direct feel for the victims of this blackout. So, here’s what we want you to do:

1. Go to www.antennasdirect.com
2. Find the right antenna (use www.antennapoint.com)
3. Enter promo code “CBS20″ – which saves you 20%.
4. Enjoy over-the-air HD television (without the added big shot egos.)

Now the only drama you will be watching is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – not the local headlines.

Jul
11

Posted in Industry Update | Comments

Cord-Cutting Continues, Broadcast-Only TV Homes Increase

by Wayne Friedman, Jul 9, 2013, 10:34 AM

A new study says broadcast-only TV homes are continuing to increase.

This year, 19.3% of U.S. TV homes — 22 million homes — will be broadcast-only and not subscribing to any pay TV service. A year ago, some 20.7 million-plus homes were broadcast-only, per researcher GfK.

The research company says this would be nearly a 40% rise from three years ago, when 14% of TV homes were paying for TV via cable, telco, or satellite TV distributors.

The report said the No. 1 reason was financial; 60% of those who cancelled their pay TV service cited cost-cutting as the reason. More online video viewing and Internet-connected TV options may have boosted cord-cutting.

Other reasons for cord-cutting, according to CouponCabin, include not watching enough TV (27%); alternative ways of watching live TV (17%); and watching few TV channels (17%).

Looking at ethnicity, African-American and Hispanic-American TV homes have been climbing among overall broadcast-only households, while Asian-American TV homes are going in the other direction, according to the report.

Some 23% of Asian-American homes are broadcast-only, down from 30% three years ago. African-American TV homes have jumped to 22% from 12%; Hispanic-American TV homes are up to 25% from 23%.

Jun
4

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Variety – Moffett estimates U.S. pay-TV ex-subs have reached 1.9 million

Top Wall Street Analyst: Pay TV “Cord-Cutting Is Real”
June 3, 2013 | 08:12PM PT

Andrew Wallenstein

No one on the planet may know more about the pay-TV business than Craig Moffett, who analyzed it consistently and cogently for about a decade at Bernstein Research up until the end of last year. He resurfaced last month at his own research firm, Moffett Research, and returned Monday to the subject he knows so well with a simple message that stood out from the rest of a 135-page coverage initiation document: “cord-cutting is real.”

While that’s far from a 180-degree flip to anyone who has followed how his opinions regarding the complexities of pay-TV subscription rates have evolved since he called the trend an “urban myth” in 2009, it was clearly his most forceful declaration confirming the existence of cord-cutting.

Citing the largest year-over-year pay-TV subscriber slide yet that occurred in the first quarter of the year, Moffett didn’t mince words: “Pay TV is unmistakably declining and the rate of penetration decline is accelerating. The very fact that there have recently been more new households being minted each year than there have been new pay-TV households is proof positive that cord cutting is real.”

While making abundantly clear that this cord-cutting evidence didn’t mean “seismic changes” were just around the corner for the industry, Moffett projected that the pay-TV penetration rate would sink from 87.9% this year to 82% by 2020. He characterized the cost-cutting population as being 1.9 million strong — though that’s a drop in the bucket against a pay-TV populace totaling over 100 million in the U.S.

Moffett sees a combination of two factors driving the acceleration of subscriber decline: 1) the lower-income households that he believes comprises the biggest part of the cord-cutting segment are getting priced out of the market by increasing subscription rates 2) the digital alternatives from Netflix to Hulu that are meant to be supplements to the pay-TV market end up being substitutes in the aggregate.

It’s an interesting evolution for a prominent analyst who built a reputation as something of a skeptic on the cord-cutting front. But by no means is he flip-flopping: Moffettologists will note a creeping credence he lent to a trend he once pooh-poohed in his comments over the years. As early as 2011, he acknowledged, albeit parenthetically, that change was a-coming: “Notwithstanding an ongoing fascination with the notion of cord-cutting (in favor of web vide0), there is little evidence that this is a significant phenomenon (yet).”

May
27

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NAB Chief: What’s Not to Like About Free, Live and Local?

WASHINGTON— Just what part of free, live and local don’t you like, the chief broadcast lobbyist asked industry critics today during a House hearing.

National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith testified this morning before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet at a hearing on the “State of Video.” He kept it short and sweet, highlighting broadcasting’s role during disasters and emergencies, the business of retransmission consent and the migration to mobile distribution:

“Stations play a vital role in informing, protecting and entertaining every local community across this great nation,” he said. “And that is never more apparent than when a disaster strikes, reminding us of broadcasters’ important role as first informers.”

“We’ve seen this time and again. In Arkansas and Mississippi, you saw the largest tornado outbreak that took hundreds of lives across the South. Whether an earthquake in Washington, D.C., a hurricane in New York or a terrorist attack in Boston, I have no doubt that each of you can retell a tragic story from your own state. But I’m also confident that each story involves a response by your local stations. These stations kept residents safe.

“And when there was no cable, no satellite, no broadband, no cell or phone service, broadcasters were there to provide a lifeline to their communities. When it was time to rebuild, local stations were there for their neighbors in need, holding fundraisers and food drives to help them get through the hardest times. So I ask you, isn’t this a public good? Isn’t this a role that should be supported? Because if broadcasters are not there to serve this role, who will?

“Even with all of the spectrum in the universe, the wireless industry’s one-to-one delivery system could never match our unique architecture and ability to broadcast to the masses.

“It’s crucial that broadcasting and broadband work hand-in-hand to offload congested wireless systems and deliver the content consumers want and the emergency information they need.

I“n this regard, it was also critical that Congress implemented the necessary safeguards in legislation granting voluntary incentive auction authority. While these auctions will present an enormous challenge to the FCC, your constituents and local broadcasters, we stand ready to roll up our sleeves and conclude this auction in a successful, timely fashion.
“Broadcasters not only inform…we entertain.
“As content producers, we create the most watched shows on TV. In fact, 96 of the top 100 shows were on broadcast television last year. This content is valuable – to the viewers, to the stations that supply it and to the companies that retransmit it.

“Broadcasters’ ability to serve our local communities, produce the best shows on television and deliver that content free to over-the-air viewers, is sustained by two revenue streams: paid advertising and fees paid to us by those who rent our signals and sell our content to paying subscribers.

“Without this economic foundation, we could not do what we do.

“This revenue enables stations to meet their primary goal: serving the public interest. And policy decisions that threaten this economic foundation could cripple an industry that provides an indispensable, even irreplaceable, lifeline service to all Americans.

“I am always surprised when some of our competitors try to describe broadcasters as “yesterday” – part of a bygone era. I have to ask these critics: What is it about free and live and local that you don’t like?

“Our communities not only like broadcasting, they depend on it. And despite a changing media landscape, broadcast television is as relevant today as ever.

“When TV stations transitioned from analog to digital transmissions in 2009, it revolutionized free, local TV, providing viewers more choices than ever before. Most stations offer extra channels, called multicast channels, that deliver diverse and hyperlocal content. It’s coverage of local sports and community events, your weather and traffic matched to your zip code and programs reflecting vast languages and cultures, amplifying the voices of women and minorities in our communities.

“Broadcasters continue to innovate and deliver the content viewers want, when and where they want it.

“Including interactive TV customized to your needs that we’re sending to tablets, cars and smartphones. The future of TV is mobile and on-the-go and more vibrant than ever. In the past month alone, we’ve seen new services rolling out for viewers. Networks are investing in, and launching, mobile services to provide viewers with live, local and national TV on all their devices and even on demand. We also saw just last month at the NAB Show ultra-high definition broadcasting, which is literally 3D TV without glasses; the picture is astonishing.

“Consumers have limitless options for content and countless ways to access programming, and yet they continue to turn to broadcasting more than any other medium.

“That is the enduring value we provide.

“I would ask that as you consider public policy that impacts the future of this great industry, remember the unique and critical services local stations deliver, and consider the consequences of decisions that could impact broadcasters’ ability to serve our communities, and your constituents.”

May
17

Posted in Cut the Cord, Industry Update | Comments

Hollywood Taking Notice of Cord-Cutting Movement

In early 2012, the CEO of Home Box Office (HBO) referred to the cord-cutting movement as nothing more than a “fad.” Fast forward 14 months and the “fad” is not only still relevant, but growing at a rapid pace.  According to a 2012 study conducted by GFK Media, nearly 21 million households now receive TV programming exclusively through broadcast signals rather than cable or satellite.

Pretty startling statistics, wouldn’t you say?

In addition to receiving content over-the-air, many cord-cutters are supplementing their viewing experience with a streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu.  As the subscription totals for these platforms continue to rise, Hollywood executives are beginning to view these outlets as an alternative way to distribute original programming.

The producers of the Netflix original program, House of Cards, opted to go with Netflix over HBO because they felt the streaming service not only provided a better avenue to reach their audience, but afforded the viewers the luxury of being able to watch the entire season at their own convenience.

Additionally, Netflix will be bringing back the critically acclaimed comedy series, Arrested Development. Once again, Netflix beat out a cable network (Showtime) for the rights to broadcast the new season. The producers chose Netflix over Showtime because—according to Netflix data—that is where their target audience resides.

Amazon has also jumped into the original content pool. In April, the online retailer posted 14 original pilots, asking viewers to choose their favorite. This will, in turn, give the audience more control over their viewing experience, thus creating a stronger connection the program.

Sound Off: What do you think about Netflix and Amazons foray into original programming?

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