Expanding the Use of Commercial and Noncommercial Broadcast Programming on Cable Television Systems

by Leland Johnson


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This study explores the possibilities of taping programs from local commercial and noncommercial stations and repeating them exactly as originally broadcast (including advertising, station identification, etc.) on otherwise empty cable channels at times that would better suit the convenience of cable subscribers. The following examples are examined: (1) use of prime-time programs shown on public broadcasting stations, repeated during the day; (2) use of news and public affairs programs drawn from commercial stations, repeated during prime time; and (3) use of other commercial programs, including entertainment and sports, repeated at later times. The benefits and costs of taping and repeating in accordance with these examples are subject to problems such as copyright arrangements and agreements with labor unions regarding payments of residuals. A pilot test in several markets would be useful to accumulate data showing the attractiveness of various categories of repeat broadcast programming.

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