Friday, March 9, 2012

Broadcast Networks Don't Want To Be Free

Broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, would like to have the FCC change its rules and allow cable operators to encrypt their signals.  They together argue that enabling encryption will actually improve the delivery of their signals and improve innovation of digital content delivery.  And for the cable operator, it would reduce bandwidth issues and improve security.  But is it also good for the consumer?

"Critics of the rule change contend that putting MSOs on parity with other providers by allowing basic-tier encryption would force consumers to rent set-tops and limit choice, because they would no longer be able to receive "clear QAM" digital TV."  Still, it is all about serving content to authenticated consumers.  As long as broadcast networks also offer over the air, digital signals, then these channels can still be fully accessed by non cable subscribers.  In an ideal world, all broadcast channels would have a web presence, enabling a live linear feed of its programming to any consumer via the internet. Content that is geographically limited, like NFL football games, may need to be blocked, but typical network programming should be accessible and available regardless of a cable subscription or not.

Should Apple Buy Barnes & Noble?

UPDATE:  Former Cablevision chief financial officer Mike Huseby is the new CFO of  Barnes and Noble. There has been some suggestion that his expertise is in spinning off and selling companies.  He was involved with Cablesvision's spin off of MSG and AMC.  Whether his role is to get the company ready for sale or for growth remains to be seen.


The recent announcement of the new iPad from Apple and constant wondering what Apple's next steps might be, pose an interesting speculation, should Apple buy Barnes & Noble.  What would Apple get?  How about a retail presence on over 600 college campuses.  Over 700 retail stores around the country.  Additional access to content publishers, the Nook e-reader, and greater impressions and presence in the marketplace.

If Apple truly releases its own TV set, it would likely want to sell them within their own retail environment.  B&N could be that retailer.  And if any company could transition a book retailer into a major digital player, it is Apple. The idea may be out of box, but isn't that what Apple is known for.