Experts: Comcast's Acquisition of NBC May End Free TV

Increasingly, media moguls, national journalists and Wall Street experts are predicting that cable provider Comcast's acquisition of NBC will lead to the end of free broadcast television. Numerous outlets have reported that Rupert Murdoch, founder of Fox News Channel's parent company NewsCorp, is actively pushing to end the long-time television business model where advertising dollars pay for programming. Murdoch has said that his television properties cannot afford to continue offering free programming to viewers. Currently, local stations are offered to cable and satellite TV subscribers as "free," but this could change as networks are acquired by cable companies. Associated Press media reporter Andrew Vanacore says, "The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks' programming ... Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming."


I was there in the early 1970s when cable TV was started; it was $9.95 per month and NO commercials. After enough people got hooked the commercials started then the rate increases came. I started with satellite TV in 1998 when it was $19.95 per month. Every six months they raised the price until it reached $54.95 per month. Then I dropped it and went back to antenna TV.

Then the free over the air TV went to a digital signal this June. I live in Daytona Beach and we get our TV from the Orlando stations. The digital signal comes and goes. Some days I get every channel clear and sharp, other days I am lucky to get one channel. Right at the most important moment the signal will click off and might be gone for the rest of the night. OTA digital TV is a disaster.

The TV providers probably don’t care about the millions of antenna users because we are the poor. The loss of 5 to 10% of their market does not seem to worry them. The other 90% will pay and pay, not worrying one little bit about the cost, $10 a day, no problem those suckers will pay it.

As for me and several million others just like me if the credit card companies wanted to charge me to use their product I will stop using them and I WILL STOP USING THE TV. Back to a good book.

You could also call for an end of free targets for commercial-spewers. After a few months without seeing a commercial, your head feels as clean and fresh as your lungs after you've succeeded at quitting smoking.

Why should people open their heads to ads for Flo-Max and scamming credit repairers when there are so many things to do that improve your brain instead of rotting it?

Yes-we ARE just the peons who PAY for everyone's bail-outs and deficits and everyone elses healthcare- tho we have none. Sure, take away our free antenna t.v. too-- All the millions of us who won't be seeing your ads -to buy your products, pay your help etc. Senior citizens with some money won't be spending it, either, on your new products(that they won't be seeing without t.v.) Come to think of it -it will probably SAVE us peons mucho bucks too---not spending on all the ideas the wealthier people think of to get us to support THEM. We won't have any entertainment-except books-that tell us "How Not to Let the Big Guys Get the Better of Us". Probably we should be reading a lot more-BUT that IS OUR choice to watch t.v. or read a book. I CHOOSE to VOTE OUT these People who support this, along with the people who cannot stop "over spending", and putting PORK into the bills getting passed. I have had ENOUGH-paying the wealthy's way with nothing in return-not even t.v.

No not everyone opting to watch television via over-the-air signals is poor. I chose to drop pay-television due to increasing bills, declining service and poor-quality programming. Though a rediscovery of local stations with local issues and programming that appeals to the local market place we have actually began to enjoy television again.and our bank accounts have improved.

I am not sure who wants to end OTA broadcast, is it the networks seeking more direct control of programming, the pay-for-broadcast services hoping to stay profitable with less quality or a group which I have yet to identify?

If The National TV Broadcasters think that ending Free Over the Air TV is going to serve them as a way to coerce us into subscribing to any kind of pay TV in order to be able to watch their programming, they are dead wrong.
TELEVISION IS NOT A NECESSITY TO HUMAN SURVIVAL, WE CAN CONTINUE LIFE WITHOUT IT. It is a want not a need. It can be ditched just like most people have ditched their telephone landlines for other free or more economical methods of voice communication. The day they do this will be the last time I'll ever watch TV. I can understand that the present business model of free over the air broadcast is no longer working for their wallets, but in this economy struggling consumers are doing everything they can to stretch their dollars and spend them in things that really matter like rent, food, clothing, transportation, etc... If anything I will not waste my time seeing commercials trying to sell me things I don't need. I'll pop some corn in the microwave and watch a DVD movie at my own leisure. I'll open a traditional game board or a deck of cards and play like I used to years ago. There are always more constructive and active ways to participate and spend free time doing, other than sitting in front of a rectangular box.

Wouldn't it be possible for new groups to start local over the air TV broadcasting companies like there used to be? Aren't those airwaves available now? Maybe they won't be the glitziest, but back in the 1950s some of the most creative TV happened live (and local).

If the networks want to go 100% pay-tv, then fine.
That will force local stations to produce programs that better suit the needs of the locals viewers. That's what they are supposed to do, after all.
The airwaves belong to the people and are to be service for the benefit of the people.
This also opens the airwaves to micro-power TV stations run by small creative groups who are not bought by the corporations.

I watch OTA TV. I dropped cable 4 years ago because of rate increases and no new networks added. If OTA disappears, I would consider subscribing to either cable or satellite tv if they would offer "Al A Carte" programming. I only watched about 15 channels out of 60. I would gladly pay for only the channels I want instead of expensive packages stuffed with programs I would not care to watch.

Last April my parents dropped our satellite tv service for two reasons. The service sucked and to teach myself and my sister about priorities. There are more important things to spend our money on then dishing out $89 to pay for TV. Right now excluding watching the news on TV, I really only watch 5-8 hour of TV per week. I don't miss it. If free antenna TV were to be taken away then good riddens, I don't need it. I can pick up a newspaper or read a book. I can go on my computer and look up endless and more useful things then just staring at a TV. So go ahead, take away free antenna TV. The new DTV sucks too and I don't like the service.


Another way to keep those of us who cannot or will not pay the exobitant prices for cable TV, out of the loop. I live on Social Security, and its not enough to pay for cable. So those of us who aren't contributing enough to the scramble for wealth will be better off dead if we don't get news of some emergency. I guess I can go back to radio. It encourages using the imagination more anyway. The greed of cable companies is appaling. They must be money grubbing republicans.