Were there other factors that went into the decision to air this on commercial television, as opposed to PBS?
Tyson: When we first shopped around the idea, we went to the normal list of networks, PBS, Discovery Channel, Science Channel and National Geographic. While we were doing this, I met Seth MacFarlane at a special meeting in California intended to connect Hollywood storytellers and artists with scientists. I didn't think much would come of it, but Seth called me one day when he was in New York and invited me to lunch. He told me he wanted to do something to serve science in America and he asked me what he should do. I thought maybe he could invest in a pilot that we could use to show sponsors. He said "I have a good idea, let's take it to Fox."
Now, there are a series of thoughts I'm about to share with you that I think lasted about 12 seconds. My first thought was "This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard, he doesn't get it, this is a waste of a lunch."
But then I said, "Wait a minute, Fox is 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures, they brought Avatar and Slumdog Millionaire to the screen. Yes, there's Fox News, but also the Fox Network which has acerbic liberal commentary of The Simpsons and Family Guy. And there's Fox Sports. I realized Fox has more demographics of American culture going through their portfolio than any other network. And so, I concluded that there's no better place to be than on Fox.
Instead, consumers pay $8 to $12 a month to watch almost live — there is a delay of a few seconds — and recorded programs from the major broadcast networks and public television. It’s a threat to both the lucrative cable bundle and the networks that receive rich fees for being part of that cable package. Aereo would give so-called cord cutters the means to assemble a more affordable package of online streaming options like Amazon Prime, Apple TV or Netflix, and still spend a Sunday afternoon watching the N.F.L. and “60 Minutes” immediately afterward. As antenna-driven viewing has dropped and digital consumption has surged, Aereo is a way to put old wine in a new bottle.
It is a crafty workaround to existing regulations, which rides on the Cablevision court ruling in 2008, which held that consumers had the right, through their cable boxes, to record programming. But then, cable companies pay broadcasters billions in so-called retransmission fees while Aereo pays them exactly nothing. (And the case is not just about Aereo — it opens the gate for cable companies or others to build a similar service and skip the billions in payments to the networks.)
The broadcast networks have a technical legal term for this particular innovation — theft — and they have been trying to shut down Aereo from the start.
It all collides on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court will hear the caseAmerican Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo. It will be up to the court to decide whether the service is a consumer-friendly reskinning of the broadcast universe or just one more example of an Internet pirate trying to loot copyrighted content. In some senses, the case is as big of a deal as the Betamax ruling in 1984, which allowed consumers to record programming.
“This is the Sony Betamax of this century,” Mr. Kanojia said on the phone last week, citing a case that is likely to come up a lot on Tuesday.
Lynn recommends this BBC 4 Front Row program to Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. I'm not a big fan of the genre and haven't listened to the piece, but Lynn's recommendatons are usually solid. If you don't have flash you can listen to the mp3 here. (about 28m)
Sukie gave me a Tom Baker Dr Who scarf. Over twelve feet long with a variety of colors. It turns out the scarves varied from season to season (the first resulted from a miscommunication with a knitter that happened to work out and become iconic). To identify which scarf type I have I found a site with more than you probably wanted to know (an even more serious site is here - probably useful if you want to knit your own)
It turns out exact matches are impossible as certain yarn colors are no longer made. Also some were made to display in a certain color on now extinct color televisions that had color gamuts that are no longer used. Mine, as it happens, is closest to the season 12 scarf.
In deciding which opponents to play, coaches and administrators may consider the merits of playing an opponent they can easily beat or a formidable opponent that will boost their strength of schedule (an important consideration in rankings). They may also consider whether they want to recruit in the locations of their away games, how to spread out their most challenging games, and whether a visiting team will help them sell out their stadium that week.
The main consideration in scheduling cupcake games is that the NCAA has no rules about playing an equal number of home and away games - or how you share revenue with visiting teams. So, universities like Ohio State that sell out their 100,000 person stadium for every game gladly pay teams like Buffalo to give up one of their own home games to play at Ohio State.
The weaker opponent may be less of a draw for ESPN and television networks, but universities are largely shielded from the financial consequences of scheduling patsy opponents as they split television revenues with their conference. Colleges pay cupcake opponents $400,000 to over $1 million because an extra home game brings in as much as $4 million to $5 million in additional revenue for the biggest programs. And during a mediocre season, that extra victory could be the difference in earning six wins and a profitable trip to a postseason bowl game.
In return, small programs receive increased exposure, a pipe dream of victory, and a check for as much as two thirds of their football budget and 20% of their athletic budget in a single game. (Head coaches are sometimes literally handed a six or seven figure check after the game.)
One has to wonder what changes would occur if EPSN was not bundled with cable - the average cable viewer is forced to pay about $60 a year for the channel and fewer than ten percent are regular viewers... Unbundling could be very interesting.