LAPA Leased Access Programmers Association

LAPA president cite’s FCC action giving cable ad sales serious advantage over local business advertising

LAPA president cite’s FCC action giving cable ad sales serious advantage over local business advertising

The president of the national leased access programming association is charging FCC’s lack of action on overseeing leased access has resulted in cable operators today using market power and depriving LAPers (leased access programmers) of the ‘genuine outlet’ prescribed by Congress.

Charlie Stogner, LAPA president, says FCC’s refusal to issue rules regarding how cable sites are to handle IPTV delivery of leased access signals combined with site’s placing control over channel placement and technical handling under their own cable ad sales is resulting in severely suppressing LAPer’s ability to secure local business advertising.

Since FCC’s Media Bureau altered Section 76.971, 37 CFR (code of federal regulations               (disregarding language that states leased access programmers must be placed on a tier ‘used by most subscribers’ to a tier with only more than 50 percent, allowing cable to place it on digital channels with far fewer subscribers that those channels where cable places their own channels offering local commercial content as well as those where cable offers local ad inserts in national networks.

This results in cable offering local businesses advertising reaching far more potential viewers providing than what they permit leased access programming providing them decisive market power where using aggressive sales techniques the cable operator takes an majority of local advertising.   Today cable sites derive a considerable amount of revenue from advertising and local time sales..

In one case after moving local leased access programming to a channel with less subscribers than basic where many channels offering local ad inserts are located, a mid-level executive from one cable operator was so brash in responding to a local resident’s request to not move the local programming to a channel where local business advertising would not be received by most area cable subscribers by stating the cable operator’s has a “local sales office to help small businesses advertise specifically in the local area on major cable networks.”

Stogner says compounding a cable site’s market power over leased access is that today many sites have ad inserts and other content delivered to via the Internet to broadband modems in the headend connected to equipment that inserts content to the proper channel.

He says this is identical to how many LAPers deliver content. The only difference is FCC permits the operator to charge the LAPer for broadband service while providing it at no charge to their ad providers.

Of course, Stogner adds, FCC’s own rules require cable sites to provide technical service for leased access the same as they do non-leased providers and at the same cost.  Where FCC to enforce this rule, cable could not charge leased access for the service provided free to others.

"It is clear the Media Bureau has consistently and repeatedly ignored the leased access programmers concerns for many years. The failure of the Media Bureau to even mention leased access in the announcement seeking comment on the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming for the 17th Report confirms this fact.  No data from cable operators has ever been collected on the status of leased access. Now, no data is even being sought." Stogner said.   

 

Stogner’s filed comments are at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001098283

If you’re a LAPer, you better pay attention

Published online by multichannel.newbay-media.com

Cable/telco companies are starting to view local origination/leased access (LO/LA) services as a source of new revenue, and providing a market advantage over satellite providers. This White Paper addresses current Market Dynamics changing the perception of (LO/LA), including:

-The Transition To IP Networks
- Introduction Of High Density Broadcast Servers
- Increased Hyper-local Content Demand
- Growth Of Commercial Services
- LO/LA Ad Insertion

More and more cable sites now have their ad insert reps creating local features and selling ads and sponsorships and are doing so in the same type shows the local LAPer should excel at. One site now has a different area high school coach on a show Monday through Thursday and they’re getting the addollars a LAPer would have from the same type shows.

If you don’t realize how cable is gradually encroaching on what should be our bailiwick and doing so on the basic tiers while placing our channels on digital with maybe 65% as many subscribers as well as now forcing us to pay for expensive equipment to be on the digital tier while NOT charging these same fees to the non-leased programmers on those same digital tiers, then you’re destined to be like the frog placed in a boiler with cold water and the stove eye turned on.

FCC is refusing to even answer basic questions regarding technical issues where there’s existing evidence the Commission or rather the Media Bureau, would have to rule cable cannot impose these burdens on us. You need to begin paying attention to this site, communicate with me, Charlie Stogner, LAPA president; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call me at 601-914-6672 and let me enlighten you on why you need to bring the inaction of FCC to the attention of your members of Congress.

I am hearing of more persons begin forced out of using leased access by aggressive cable sites than I learn of persons becoming new users.

Charlie Stogner
StogTv

FCC May Need to Revisit Content Delivery Issues

Back on April 1, 2008,StogMedia, filed a petition for relief with FCC seeking to have Cable One provide us with a broadband modem to receive our IPTV signal via the Internet.

In the ruling that was adopted March 5, 2009,some 11 months later, FCC stated, "because Cable One is not providing broadband capacity for free to any non-leased or leased access programmer on its system, it may charge StogMedia"

FCC went a little further in also stating Cable One provision of headend facilities"does not absolve leased access programmers, such as StogMedia, from the responsibility of transporting their programming to cable systems’ headends.".Oddly it's hard to understand why this was included in teh order since StogMedia never requested Cable One to 'deliver' signals, only receive them.StogTv fullyunderstood it was their responsibility to get their signal to the headend but thought FCC's rule were clear that Cable One was to receive and transfer them to the designated channel.

One key reason, if not the main reason, FCC ruled that Cable One could charge us for broadband reception seemed to be based in Cable One's contention in their response to the petition that StogMedia was the only programmer using the Internet to transport programming, failing to mention their own local origination channel, a direct competitor to StogMedia's local leased access programming used the Internet to deliver video content to a KeyWest MediaXtreme playback device, basically the same type equipment as used by StogMedia.

Cable One also failed to reveal they also provided a cable modem in the headend for their ad sales division to have a Slingbox, apparently for monitoring ad inserts.

As a result of FCC's ruling we're required to pay Cable One to receive our signal.

Now StogMedia has installed there Star-Cast server in Cable One's Brookhaven, Ms. headend and subscribes to their broadband service to receive the signal and transfer it to the channel.In this headend is a broadband modem used by their ad insert contractor Comcast Spotlight for delivering video content for ad inserts.There also is a Slingbox for their technical personnel to be able to view channels remotely.

Oh, I almost forgot. The're billing me for uploading to my own equipment over broadband service I pay them for.

If any of you that are using leasedaccess are experiencingplease email info on this to our association at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cable operators ignore intent of Congress with blessing of FCC's Media Bureau to drive leased access out of existence

At the beginning of 'leased access' FCC was concerned cable operators would have financial incentives to place the programming on channels that offered them nowhere near the same marketing opportunity as the operator.

From our association files we find that in 1992—Congress responds unequivocally to the FCC’s request in the 1992 Cable Act, and directs FCC to promulgate rules within 180 days of the Act’s passage, establishing maximum reasonable rates that a cable operator may charge such leased access programmers.

The principle reason for (the) deficiency (in leased access programming) is that the (1984) Cable Act empowered cable operators to establish the price and conditions for use of leased access channels… The Committee is concerned that cable operators have financial incentives to refuse leased access channel capacity to programmers whose services may compete with services already carried on the cable system, especially when the cable operator has a financial interest in the programming services it carries”. LAPA note…This was prior to the time operators began making serious income from ‘ad inserts’. Now with ad insert income plus commercial sales on local origination channels, including photo-display channels, cable operator definitely have a financial stake in NOT allowing LAPers ‘live’ feeds to enable them to truly compete with the cable operator’s own interest. H.R. Rep. No 628, 102nd Cong., 2nd Sess. 39 (1992)

The Senate Commerce Committee largely agreed. As the basis for its support of new leased access regulatory authority, the Committee cited its concern that a cable operator’s market power may be used to the detriment not only of consumers, but also of competing programmers. S. Rep. No 92, 102nd Cong.1st Sess. 23 (1991). Leased access was intended “to remedy market power in the cable industy.” Specifically, leased access was a “safety valve for programmers who may be denied access (or) given access on unfavorable terms. S.Rep. #92,

Based on a 2008 order by the Media Bureau that refused to even recognize language in the rules regarding placement cable operators were given free range to place leased access on digital tiers as long as the channel had more than 50% of the system subscribers.

Here's the rule: Sec.76.Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.Commercial leased access terms and conditions.

(a)(1) Cable operators shall place leased access programmers that request

access to a tier actually used by most subscribers on any tier that has a

subscriber penetration of more than 50 percent, unless there are technical

or other compelling reasons for denying access to such tiers.

Note the rule does not say it is to be placed on channels with only more than 50 percent but instead specifically says MOST subscribers use on any tier with more than 50 percent.

Leased access was created by an act of Congress long before cable discovered they could generate massive amounts of revenue by selling local 'ad inserts' in network channels. Today, a large degree of a systems income comes from ad sales and/or selling time for infomercials. Cable ad sales is the most serious competition local leased access programmers have for local business advertising, the main source of funding for the locally focused, locally produced TV shows aired by LAPers (Leased Access Programmers).

Today many sites have their ad sales personnel manage leased access the ultimate in having the fox guard the henhouse.

Additionally by moving leased access to digital tiers, sites have cost LAPers serious income due to many local businesses not wanting to purchase advertising on channels that don't reach the majority of subscribers.In fact one cable operator, Charter, wrote a local subscriber at Lake of the Ozarks saying:

Dear (subscriber),

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us with your concern about Lake TV.

On April 17, more than 90 percent of the channels in Charter services areas in Missouri and Illinois were reassigned in order to group channels by genre, (making it easier for customers to find similar programming), 6 channels were upgraded to a digital format and 28 new HD channels were added. Lake TV was assigned channel 90 from 24.

(Unrelated comment deleted)

In addition while Lake TV offers a quality advertising product, Charter Media (the advertising arm of Charter Cable) also has a local sales office to help small businesses advertise specifically in the Lake area on major cable networks like ESPN, Fox Sports, TBS, TNT, USA and many many more.... To contact Charter Media to advertise please call Gail Thompson @ (573) 552-3034 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

As you can see, this cable executive, Jerry Stelle, Manager of Advanced Media & Alternative Revenue, responsible for maximizing the systems ad revenues, was thoughtful enough to provide a name and number for their ad sales rep--the competition to the LAPer for local ad business.

But does the Media Bureau care?Apparently not.

Due the FCC Commissioners care?Who knows?There is strong reason to suspect those career levelemployees in the Media Bureau go to great lengths to keep the chairman and/or commissioners from knowing how they've aided cable in ignoring the wishes of Congress.

Big government likes big business.The small businesses like leased access programmers be damned. I wonder how much members of Congress would appreciate knowing yet another federal agency seems to have no respect for them?

How FCC;s Actions Hurt Leased Access Entrepreneurs.

Back on April 1, 2008,StogMedia, filed a petition for relief with FCC seeking to have Cable One provide us with a broadband modem to receive our IPTV signal via the Internet.

In the ruling that was adopted March 5, 2009,some 11 months later, FCC stated, "because Cable One is not providing broadband capacity for free to any non-leased or leased access programmer on its system, it may charge StogMedia"

FCC went a little further in also stating Cable One provision of headend facilities"does not absolve leased access programmers, such as StogMedia, from the responsibility of transporting their programming to cable systems’ headends.".Oddly it's hard to understand why this was included in the order since StogMedia never requested Cable One to 'deliver' signals, only receive them.StogTv fullyunderstood it was their responsibility to get their signal to the headend but thought FCC's rule were clear that Cable One was to receive and transfer them to the designated channel.

One key reason, if not the main reason, FCC ruled that Cable One could charge us for broadband reception seemed to be based in Cable One's contention in their response to the petition that StogMedia was the only programmer using the Internet to transport programming, failing to mention their own local origination channel, a direct competitor to StogMedia's local leased access programming used the Internet to deliver video content to a KeyWest MediaXtreme playback device in the headend, basically the same type equipment as used by StogMedia.

Cable One also failed to reveal they also provided a cable modem in the headend for their ad sales division to have a Slingbox, apparently for monitoring ad inserts.

As a result of FCC's ruling we're required to pay Cable One to receive our signal.

Now StogMedia has installed their Star-Cast server in Cable One's Brookhaven, Ms. headend and subscribes to their broadband service to receive the signal and transfer it to the channel.In this headend is a broadband modem used by their ad insert contractor Comcast Spotlight for delivering video content for ad inserts.There also is a Slingbox for their technical personnel to be able to view channels remotely.

Oh, I almost forgot. The're billing StogTv for uploading to my own equipment over broadband service I pay them for.

If any of you that are using leasedaccess are experiencingplease email info on this to our association at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.