CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL
Minutes of Strategic Action Committee Meeting –
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Newtown Municipal Center
A meeting of the Strategic Action Committee of the Cable Advisory Council was held on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at the Newtown Municipal Center, Newtown, Connecticut.
Chairman Gregory Davis called the meeting to order at 7:02pm.
ATTENDEES: Chairman Gregory Davis (Roxbury), Vice Chairman Mike Muttitt (Monroe), Paul Katzmark (Southbury), Bob O’Keefe (Newtown), Stephanie O’Rourke (Kent), Gene Rosen (Newtown) and Kurt Symes (Chairman of the Commission on the Aging- Newtown)
Members introduced themselves.
The purpose of the Strategic Action Committee is to guide the chairman and to determine roles and responsibilities of the Advisory Council and how to better serve subscribers.
Chairman Gregory Davis provided the committee with an agenda for tonight’s meeting reviewed the packets.
Chairman of the Newtown Commission on the Aging Kurt Symes asked questions of the committee regarding the Cable Advisory Council’s role and connection with Charter employees. There was a brief discussion of subscriber fees. Chairman Gregory Davis noted that a report regarding subscriber fees is posted on the CAC’s website at www.cableadvisorycouncil.com
Interconnection Status- Update- Chairman Gregory Davis noted that the Interconnection will be done this week.
Annual Treasury Audit Committee- the Cable Advisory Council bylaws require an audit of the treasury every year. Treasurer Paul Katzmark noted that he will find a CPA to review the CAC books.
Membership outreach Committee- Vice Chairman Mike Muttitt noted that he has put together a spreadsheet to make a mass mailing list in order to reach out to First Selectmen and Boards of Education in various towns in order to increase membership for the Cable Advisory Council.
Legislative Traction Initiatives- This is ongoing.
SAC Mission Pool updates- Chairman Gregory Davis spoke of a list of SAC Mission Pool topics that are divided into five categories. Chairman Davis noted that each time something is crossed off the list, another objective should be added. He also noted that the first priority should be the securing of the future of funding for the Designated Community Access Provicers.
Correspondence- Chairman Davis spoke of a letter that the Town of Roxbury received from Charter noting that the free service that the Emergency Operations Center and the schools receive will no longer be available as of September 2014. Chairman Davis and Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry wrote a letter to PURA on August 1st inquiring about the intent and reason for this. A response was received to the Roxbury First Selectman from Charter Director of Government Affairs Tom Cohan on August 6th noting that the reason for this is that Charter is continuing to invest in our Connecticut network.
Industry News important to Community Access Subscribers
Chairman Davis spoke of Industry News important to Community Access Subscribers. A brief discussion ensued regarding some of this news.
Consumers Embrace Connected TV- According to a new study, the most important factor in purchasing a new TV is the ability for it to connect to the Internet and stream content.
Netflix surpasses HBO in Subscriber revenue
DirecTV and AT&T will take over Houston RSN
DirecTV struggles to rein in skyrocketing content costs- Due to ongoing rising programming costs; DirecTV is doing everything they can to slow down cost increases in sports programming.
Lackluster Q2 for Time Warner Cable- Time Warner lost 147,000 basic video customers in this quarter but this is a 22% improvement over the same period last year.
Set-Top Box Market Stable Despite streaming media player influx
California Lawmakers ask FCC to end SportsNet LA Standoff- TWC signed an $8.3 billion deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Time Warner to offer HBO-Go to Cord Cutters
Amazon to spend $100 million on original content in Q3 and is planning significant growth in its original content spend, increasing its investment in Prime Instant Video productions to more than $100 million in Q3.
Netflix passes 50 million subscribers- Netflix reveled that it has signed up an additional 1.69 million subscribers during the second quarter extending its total to 50.05 million. The company added 1.12 million international streaming subs for a total 13.8 million in this category.
Netflix call for Title II reclassification of ISPs in FCC comments.
NBA wants to double licensing fees- Currently ESPN has an average carriage fee of $5.54 per subscriber. This is compared to TNT as the second most expensive channel at $1.33 per subscriber.
A Secure Future for Community Access Television
Chairman Gregory Davis spoke of correspondence he has with Ruby O’Neill (wife of State Representative Arthur O’Neill) regarding having Representative O’Neill as the champion to help secure the future of community access television. Mr. Davis spoke of a transition to Over the Top Video Distribution via the internet that will dry up all the funding which supports Community Access Provider Programming and Operations. At this point, the CAC needs to convince Dr. O’Neill that there are enough stakeholders interested in this mission.
Why the Future of Community Access is at Risk
Chairman Gregory Davis spoke of reasons “Why the Future of Community Access is at Risk” and spoke of what went wrong. Mr. Davis noted that this is beneficial for potential members.
Invitation of Strategic Action Committee of the Cable Advisory Council for Area 19
Gregory Davis spoke of an invitation to stakeholders and interested citizens to attend tonight’s meeting regarding the transition to Internet and Over the Top which could cause the funding for Cable TV to dry up. Mr. Davis noted that he extended this invitation to Tom Sholtes at PURA. Chairman Davis noted that he had a telephone conversation with Mr. Sholtes and gave his position on this transition. According to this telephone conversation, Mr. Sholtes believes that the transition will be very slow and there will be plenty of time for the bundled cable package business models to react.
PURA Points of View
Chairman Davis spoke of an email correspondence that he had with Tom Sholtes at PURA. Mr. Davis asked: Is a CT CVFA or CCFA license holder required to collect community access subscriber fees from customers who ONLY subscribe to Internet service? Mr. Sholtes responded: No, internet is unregulated. Mr. Davis responded: Should PURA revisit the DPUC created Advisory Council Seat. Mr. Sholtes responded: PURA doesn’t make legislation.
Electronic communication to Gregory Davis from Kevin Burns
Gregory Davis noted that CAC member Kevin Burns was unable to attend tonight’s meeting but sent an email with two important points that he wanted noted:
It is important that people understand that community access revenue comes from an existing fee and what needs to be done is change the point of collection.
It is intended to be revenue neutral. So to the extent the number of collection points is increased, the amount collected per collection event should be less.
Gregory Davis gave a list of ideas that need legislative help. These are Legislative Initiatives to Preserve the Institution of Community Access. The Strategic Access Committee spoke of these initiatives and how they can be implemented.
Mr. Davis noted that the most important of these initiatives is- “Any CVFA or CCFA license holder will collect a fee from each subscriber exclusively for the support of the designated community access provider in licensed territory. The fee will be annually set by the PURA in the annual community access support review.”
Statewide Video Advisory Council
Gregory Davis noted that the next SVAC meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 20th. The Statewide Advisory Council is made up of representatives from all 24 Regions. Chairman Davis will attend this meeting and will invite the representatives from each of the other 23 Regions to bring their State Representative to the next SVAC meeting. It was decided to invite Arthur O’Neill to the next Cable Advisory Council meeting in September.
Open Forum- None
Gregory Davis made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:46pm- All in favor
Cable Advisory Council Strategic Action Committee