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Old 03-11-2004, 03:12 AM   #61 (Print)
GuidoTKP
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Quote:
Originally posted by AJRitz
I'm pretty sure that the $5 change fee only refers to downgrading your core programming package (like going from TC+ to TC or TCP to TC+). In those cases, I think it probably has something to do with a desire on the part of DirecTV to recover discounts that are built into the packages, as opposed to essentially a la carte premium channels.

I work for Directv and have for about a year now and the only 5 dollar fee I know of that even comes close to what you are describing is the phone transaction fee...and that only applies to payments and ppv ordered over the phone thru a CSR.you can change your package up or down and there is no fee for doing it.

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Old 03-11-2004, 04:12 AM   #62 (Print)
PippyDaKid
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Guido: back in the day, the $5 fee was also for downgrading services.
It also tickles the back of my head that there were two or three different transaction fees, depending on which you were doing; change of service fee, check by phone fee (about the same time, the credit cards were no fee, also...)
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Old 03-11-2004, 09:12 AM   #63 (Print)
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So as per the terms of the contract they can charge you the $5 fee.

If they run a query to find all those that changed 2 or more times in a Month they could bill you.

Watch out dont abuse the system. Someone may write a query to do this, you never know.

You are recking it for everyone if you abuse the system. Dont do it too many times in a month.
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Old 03-11-2004, 10:07 AM   #64 (Print)
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Cool learn something new everyday.

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Old 03-11-2004, 10:12 AM   #65 (Print)
Bob TeaTow
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Been this way before. Think about how many people will read this vs the millions of Directv/HBO subs. Not to worry - turn it on and off via the website as much as you like.
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Old 03-11-2004, 02:16 PM   #66 (Print)
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I spelled it out pretty clearly

Quote:
Originally posted by BrettStah
avermeer, what's ethically shaky exactly? DirecTV has an automated process set up for customers to sign up for and remove some premium features. They bill monthly, and if you remove a service before the month is up they charge you a prorated amount per day. Billing is computerized and automated, the web site to add/remove stuff is automated, and many people who wouldn't normally pay for the full month's price pay some of it.

Do you think it's OK to only sign up for HBO for the months that The Sopranos are on? Let's say they only come on 4 months each year. Is it OK to turn HBO off for the other 8 months, or is that shaky too?


Brett, all I said was that it was ethically shaky, not that you couldn't do it. I think you have to be pretty obtuse to not see a difference between the people who "wouldn't normally pay for the full month" (paying 40 cents a show) and someone who subscribes 4 months out of the year and then drops the other 8. The difference is that the people subscribing for 4 months out of the year are paying between $36 and $48 and the people circumventing the normal monthly billing are paying about $6. Do you think HBO could afford to pay for a show as good as the Sopranos if everyone paid $1.50 a month? Do you think somebody who is able to watch the Sopranos for $1.50 a month is probably being subsidized by the rest of us?

If HBO ever did come up with a Daily Pay 0r Pay Per View plan, you know they would charge more like $2.99. If they only charged 40 cents, they'd go bankrupt and there would be no more Sopranos. So, yeah, the guy who subscribes for the season that the Sopranos is on and drops for the rest of the year is O.K. He's paying the true cost.

The guy who is paying 40 cents a show probably is making excuses why its O.K. because he's "on a tight budget." Well, if you're on a tight budget, use that $1.50 a month to buy some more ramen noodles. Eating is a necessity, watching Tony Soprano whack a guy isn't. Remember, he didn't ask if he could do it, he asked if he should.
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Old 03-11-2004, 03:07 PM   #67 (Print)
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It's 40 cents a day (assuming you don't have any additional premium channels), not per show. That's what DirecTV charges for HBO. 40 cents a day. If you want HBO for one day a week, and make all changes over the Internet, you pay 40 cents for that day (times the number of weeks in the month). If you have HBO 2 days a week, it's 80 cents for those two days (times the number of weeks in the month). I would think (and it's just a guess) that the 40 cents a day is money they would normally not get (from people not willing or able to fork over $12 a month), so they are making more money then then normally would. Plus some people undoubtedly turn on HBO and forget to turn it off promptly, meaning more money as well.

Do some people do this when they otherwise would subscribe for the whole month? Sure, most likely. But my suspicion is that they make a net gain on the deal (or they wouldn't have this feature).

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Old 03-11-2004, 03:55 PM   #68 (Print)
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Re: I spelled it out pretty clearly

Quote:
Originally posted by avermeer
Brett, all I said was that it was ethically shaky, not that you couldn't do it. I think you have to be pretty obtuse to not see a difference between the people who "wouldn't normally pay for the full month" (paying 40 cents a show) and someone who subscribes 4 months out of the year and then drops the other 8. The difference is that the people subscribing for 4 months out of the year are paying between $36 and $48 and the people circumventing the normal monthly billing are paying about $6. Do you think HBO could afford to pay for a show as good as the Sopranos if everyone paid $1.50 a month? Do you think somebody who is able to watch the Sopranos for $1.50 a month is probably being subsidized by the rest of us?

If HBO ever did come up with a Daily Pay 0r Pay Per View plan, you know they would charge more like $2.99. If they only charged 40 cents, they'd go bankrupt and there would be no more Sopranos. So, yeah, the guy who subscribes for the season that the Sopranos is on and drops for the rest of the year is O.K. He's paying the true cost.

The guy who is paying 40 cents a show probably is making excuses why its O.K. because he's "on a tight budget." Well, if you're on a tight budget, use that $1.50 a month to buy some more ramen noodles. Eating is a necessity, watching Tony Soprano whack a guy isn't. Remember, he didn't ask if he could do it, he asked if he should.


If you were right then DirecTV would simply change how they charge for premium channels. They allow this so to them there is nothing wrong with it. I don't see how this is an ethical issue at all. DirecTV sets up the rules this way. If they don't have a problem with it why do you?
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Old 03-11-2004, 03:56 PM   #69 (Print)
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Yeah, I know

It's 40 cents a day, but he's doing it to watch one show which is why I put it that way. And again, to put it this way: "That's what DirecTV charges for HBO. 40 cents a day." is really taking it out of context. DirecTV advertises no feature and intends no one to buy HBO at 40 cents a day. It just so happens that if you work the system, you can finagle a way for yourself to get HBO for 40 cents a day through the DirecTV web site.

If DirecTV or HBO wanted people to do this, they would advertise the option and you know perfectly well it wouldn't be 40 cents a day. Economics 101: Buying in bulk costs less per item, buying singles costs more. I guarantee, if they were willing to sell HBO at a per day rate, it would be at least $2.99, on par with a pay-per-view movie.

Like I said, he's not getting it for true cost, he's getting it heavily discounted through a loophole that's subsidized by people who pay the true cost. 40 cents a day is the pro rata, intended for people who have had HBO for a while and decided to discontinue. I doubt HBO or DirecTV looks at this type of customer and says "Wow, this 40 cents a day crowd is really improving the bottom line." If they have an awareness of it at all, they're looking for ways to discourage it.
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Old 03-11-2004, 04:01 PM   #70 (Print)
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Maybe they look at it like extra money for people who figure it out, but something they don't want to advertise for fear some people already paying for the whole month trying it? You're implying that the rest of the month is a big waste, and that the $12 covers the cost of one show. What about all of the other stuff they air the other days of the week/month? They don't pay licensing fees to air movies or other series?

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Old 03-11-2004, 06:41 PM   #71 (Print)
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I'm sure they'd rather have the whole $12

"something they don't want to advertise for fear some people already paying for the whole month trying it" -- Fear, because if everyone did it, they'd go broke. That's what makes it unethical. If the results are catastrophic when you ask yourself "What if everyone did this?" then it's unethical. Basic Kantian moral philosophy.

Obviously, the rest of the movies/shows cost money, but HBO long ago became the pay network that concentrates on high-quality series to draw the viewer in to pay the full month. If everyone only paid when they wanted to watch a particular show, they wouldn't have the money to produce another show or buy rights to other movies/sporting events.

All the rest of the shows are not a big waste, that's why his 40 cents a day is unethical. It's a loophole. Like gaining favorable tax status on your 400 acre "farm" when you only have a few horses on it. It might be "legal" but it's stealing from my kids school, forcing the rest of us to cough up the difference.

I understand your argument - it's a variation of the outlet store business model. People sell cheaper clothes at outlets because those people buying them cheaper wouldn't buy them if they weren't cheaper. Gives the companies who own these stores a little extra frosting on their big cakes. Getting to the outlets is more work, the items are often dated or discontinued, often they're labeled as an outlet item, which ensures that not everyone will shop there and ruin the companies because nobody is buying the full-priced stuff.

I just hesitate to accept that this is the same thing. He's not getting last year's HBO, nor is he getting an "edited for cheapskates" version. He's also not really working very hard for it. And if he was working hard for it, like with having to go through the painful customer service process via phone every time, I'm sure somebody would figure it out quickly anyway and the loophole would be closed. HBO is not a retailer and I doubt they're going to get into the business anytime soon. Their widget is the whole month for all the reasons outlined above.
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Old 03-11-2004, 10:06 PM   #72 (Print)
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So what if I invite the neighbors over and we watch The Sopranos together, so that they don't have to subscribe to HBO?

(I just like debating, by the way... I don't get upset easily, but if this gets tiring I understand. )

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Old 03-11-2004, 11:35 PM   #73 (Print)
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I've been doing this for more than a year. I turn various pay channels on and off to catch certain movies and shows. Works great as long as you remember to turn it on before your TiVo is ready to record something. And I really don't feel like I'm cheating anyone as I wouldn't pay $12 for one or two shows/movies, so they're making a little tiny bit more money from me, and sometimes I forget to turn it off for a couple weeks, so they make out just fine.
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Old 03-12-2004, 01:33 AM   #74 (Print)
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hmm...

I'd say the neighbors thing, is, um...fine but I don't know why or why not anymore. You win. I'm never going to be a master debater.

And as far as drmcm is concerned, it's like I said before. This is just my opinion and I'm fully aware that most people are against me on this. I don't work for HBO but if I did, I'd have a very pointed discussion with DirecTV about this.
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Old 03-12-2004, 02:17 AM   #75 (Print)
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The problem with your argument avermeer is that direcTV could easily turn this feature off. They could easily make you buy a minimum of one month when you sign up for a premium channel, but they don't. Have you considered the possibility that they make money off this. The fact remains if direcTV didn't want people doing this they would stop it. They get to set up the rules however they want and they chose to do it this way. If everyone purchased premium channels they would not go broke, they would simply change the policy. This really has nothing to do with ethics.

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Old 03-12-2004, 08:28 AM   #76 (Print)
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Avermeer,

Hmmm, I suppose I should always pay rack rate at Hotels, list price for everything, and more to the point, refuse the $15/month discounts that DirecTV offered me when I asked - I should ever ask for a bargain, a break, a discount?

We don't live in a moral economic system. We live in a system with different price points, designed to extract more money from those willing to pay, and a little less from others looking for a bargain. That's why there are always "sales", promotions, discounts, coupons --- all marketing gimmicks to try to satisfy (or rope in) customers and maximize overall profits.
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Old 03-12-2004, 09:20 AM   #77 (Print)
aejanis
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I am confused...

....why are we fighting over this being right or wrong...do the math.

HBO Cost $12.00 Month (if you have 1 premium service selection)

$12.00 divided by 30 (the # of days in a month) equals $0.40.

Nobody is screwing anybody. That is what it costs per day to have HBO.
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Old 03-12-2004, 10:59 AM   #78 (Print)
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We called DirecTv last night inquiring about the $10 discount if we signed up for HBO. The CSR took about 20 seconds to find it. He had us all set up with HBO and the discount in about 3 minutes.

So, now I can watch the whole Sopranos season for ~$2/month. Not a bad deal.

Thank you to whoever originally posted the discount on the forum!
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Old 03-12-2004, 01:14 PM   #79 (Print)
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I believe that the premimum channels cost DirecTV $0.16/day for each channel. If they are charging you $0.42/day, whose making money now?

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Old 03-12-2004, 01:37 PM   #80 (Print)
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For those of you wondering how this works... here you go. My standard package is Total Choice Plus w/Locals, plus HBO & the Tivo fee. It just so happens that the night I first started playing this game, was the night of my last bill run, so the billing system had to prorate back the money I paid last month for a full month of STARZ, which it did just fine, in the second line under Subscriptions, below.

Previous Balance 0.00
03/10/04 Payment - Thank You - Amer Expr -52.46

Subscriptions
02/10/04 02/11/04 Purchase: Partial Month HBO, STARZ!, and CINEMAX 1.10
02/10/04 03/08/04 Monthly HBO and STARZ! -21.46
02/11/04 02/13/04 Purchase: Partial Month HBO and STARZ! 1.53
02/13/04 02/14/04 Purchase: Partial Month HBO and CINEMAX 0.77
02/14/04 02/18/04 Purchase: Partial Month HBO 1.60
02/18/04 02/20/04 Purchase: Partial Month HBO and SHOWTIME 1.53
02/20/04 03/08/04 Purchase: Partial Month HBO 7.20
03/09/04 04/08/04 Monthly DIRECTV DVR 4.99
03/09/04 04/08/04 Monthly HBO 12.00
03/09/04 04/08/04 Monthly TOTAL CHOICE PLUS with Locals 42.99
Sales Tax 0.21
AMOUNT DUE $0.00
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Old 03-12-2004, 02:21 PM   #81 (Print)
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Where do I start...

I guess I'll go in order:

puma - they will shut it off when it's abuse becomes more noticable. I'm only arguing ethics and we already went over the "what if everybody did this" argument. The answer to that question is catastrophic so that 's what makes it unethical. In other words, just because you're not hurting anybody doesn't make it right because if everyone was doing it, you would be hurting somebody.

bob - you're talking about advertised discounts that companies manage with date blackouts, expirations and promotional periods. We're talking about an unadvertised loophole. I also already discussed the idea of "differing price points" in the Outlet Mall discussion and showed why this is not comparable.

aejanis - you must have missed the lesson in economics a few posts above, I'll some it up for you. Buying in bulk (30 days) is always cheaper than ala carte (1 day). The true cost of buying just one day is not being met because this is a loophole meant for more honest folk who have had the service for a longer period.

Rainy Dave - good job out of you. You are both cheap AND ethical.

judson - breaking down a per day wholesale cost of the service doesn't begin to show what the true cost of the service is.
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Old 03-12-2004, 02:58 PM   #82 (Print)
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Re: Where do I start...

Quote:
Originally posted by avermeer


aejanis - you must have missed the lesson in economics a few posts above, I'll some it up for you. Buying in bulk (30 days) is always cheaper than ala carte (1 day).


Maybe there is no bulk discount in the way you are thinking..

Look at it this way...Directv doesn't look at 1 month as "bulk"...but they look at several channels (read premium channel packages) purchased at once as "bulk".

I can buy premium packages in bulk and get a discount making them each cost me less the .40 per day.

No matter how much gas I put in my car, the gas station won't discount it to me (the end user). I can buy as little or as much as I want...it is all the same 1 gallon or 40 gallons.

So, maybe your economics view on this issue is not the same way Directv looks at it. I say they look at it as a discount for bulk channels, not bulk days. Last I check that is they way things worked.
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Old 03-12-2004, 04:26 PM   #83 (Print)
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It's as good an argument as I've seen

but I still disagree.

HBO has around an average of around 27 million subscribers. The Sopranos has about a $26 million production cost for a season. I use the Sopranos as an example because the original poster was doing the "40 cents a day" thing to watch this show. That's about a dollar a subscriber a season to pay for the Sopranos. He's essentially paying $6 to watch the season of the Sopranos and it appears to cost HBO a dollar a season to produce it.

Caveats: HBO is the only one paying for the Sopranos but DirecTV still gets their cut. What is DirecTVs cut? Judson claims that DirecTV pays 16 cents a day for premiums. That means that HBO is getting roughly $2.25 of his $6. $1 of which covers the costs of him watching the Sopranos, but he's also getting a whole day of HBO shows which carry their own production costs and movies which carry royalty fees along with that. Plus, HBO has to pay their employees and their facility costs and their transmission costs. Do think that the $1.25 over the cost of the production for The Sopranos is going to cover that? Like I've said, if everyone did this, HBO would go broke and there wouldn't be any Sopranos or Sex and the City or Six Feet Under for anyone. That's why it's unethical.

What's happening is that DirecTV is making out fine here, they are the ones "allowing" this bastardized on demand service to take place. I'm sure they don't care, but like I said, if I worked for HBO, I would have a pointed discussion with DirecTV about this.

So this might be the way things work at the gas station, but the refiner is getting bilked.
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Old 03-12-2004, 05:49 PM   #84 (Print)
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So it would be wrong for me to watch HBO 24/7 for 30 days?! Because according to you and your math I would be watching more then I am paying for.

HBO knows they are making money in one place, while at the same time they are not making money somewhere else. It is much like unlimited bandwidth with DSL or Cable modems. They are able to say unlimited (unless "they" are comcast) because not everyone is going to use the connection 24/7. However subs are within their right to use it all day and all night long @ full tilt because they paid for it. They (HBO or a ISP) are counting on a small amount of their user base to use the service to its full potential. So what if a few thousand suck the .40 (or .16) per day dry...that is what they determind they need to charge to stay a float with the mix of usage they have with their subs.

I am sure that HBO knows how many people are doing this (or could if they really cared)...Directv has to pass the buck to them, with proof of the amount of people that had access to their programming.

So they win some and loose some. That is how this kind of busniess works.

NBC has not made any money on Friends in several years it is a "loss leader" for their Thursday night lineup. Sopranos is probably consitered a loss leader to the folks at HBO.
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Old 03-12-2004, 10:17 PM   #85 (Print)
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I didn't say they don't plan on a certain degree of this

"So what if a few thousand suck the .40 (or .16) per day dry...that is what they determind they need to charge to stay a float with the mix of usage they have with their subs."

I'm just saying that it's ethically suspect. Sociopathically cheap. I'm sure they plan on a certain degree of stealing cable and descramblers, too. So do you say "so what" to that, too? They plan for stealing so it's okay?

I don't know how many times I have to say this, I'm talking about ethics. If you study ethics, you'll discover that this situation is absolutely wrong under Kantian ethics, because if everyone did it HBO would fail and a grey area in Utilitarianism, which would be confusing because it dictates that you should do whatever makes the greatest number of people happy. Does finagling a bastardized pay per view system where the true cost of the service is not equal to the cost paid make the most people happy? I don't think so. It makes the finaglers happy, all right, but few else. I suppose I could discuss Nicomacean ethics with you, but its a far less simple model and I can already sense the tilted heads and furrowed brows out there.

I'm not telling anyone they shouldn't do anything. The original poster asked if it was kosher, I took that to mean "is it ethical." The answer is no. Before anyone flames, please read the rest of the posts and arguments concerning this (pages 4 and 5) and be sure that you understand it, because it's tiring to have to go over the same concepts more than once.
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Old 03-12-2004, 11:37 PM   #86 (Print)
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Taking this to its logical conclusion

Imagine the possiblities:

A script, running on your hacked Tivo. You select what you want to watch on all the premium channels. The script keeps track, and automatically subscribes for only the days needed.

It Could Be Done.

As for being unethical: the worst thing that would happen to HBO is that they'd be forced to change their business model. Instead of $x a month, with the average customer watching only y hours out of a month, they'd charge $x per y hours, or x * (hours in a month / y) per month. For some, this would be a better deal; others would pay more. I'm not sure if I'd consider the situation an improvement myself, but at least it would motivate HBO to stop packing their schedule with crap and reruns. (More hours actively subscribed = more revenue, under the new model.)
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Old 03-13-2004, 12:56 AM   #87 (Print)
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Great Idea

I wouldn't be surprised if somebody has already hacked their DirecTV in this way.

I think the new business model you've outlined is a fantastic idea. But to the rest of you, I guarantee even an hour would cost you more than 40 cents, much less a day. LOL!

HBO is already playing with its On Demand channels in some markets. You can watch whatever is on the schedule whenever you want to watch it. Right now it's a $6.95 monthly fee for unlimited use, but the catch is that it's an add-on to the HBO package. You have to be getting HBO in the first place to add On Demand. They're trying to stabilize their subscriber base because churn forces them to look for new subscribers all the time. From the articles I've read, it's helping to increase and stabilize subscripions quite a bit. But since it's working so well, it doesn't look like they'll be adapting the buy-what-you-want model anytime soon. Looks like their business model has been and will continue to be based on a stable subscriber base.
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Old 03-13-2004, 02:47 AM   #88 (Print)
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avermeer- WOW you have insulting people nicely down to an art!
I heard "bastardized" , "Sociopathically cheap", (all I could think of off the top of my head). You talked about finagleing and "working the system". Where do you get this? They turn it on and then turn it off and payed for the time in between!!! Where is the loophole?

I see you as someone who would try to argue that TIVO owners are ripping off the networks by FFWD through commercials. I have had DTV for about 10 years now and have had just about every package they have and one thing always pissed me off at the end of the month......I paid good money to scroll through the guide and see that what's on today was the same thing that was on yesterday and the day before etc. etc.

"I don't know how many times I have to say this, I'm talking about ethics. If you study ethics, you'll discover that this situation is absolutely wrong under Kantian ethics, because if everyone did it HBO would fail and a grey area in Utilitarianism, which would be confusing because it dictates that you should do whatever makes the greatest number of people happy. Does finagling a bastardized pay per view system where the true cost of the service is not equal to the cost paid make the most people happy? I don't think so. It makes the finaglers happy, all right, but few else. I suppose I could discuss Nicomacean ethics with you, but its a far less simple model and I can already sense the tilted heads and furrowed brows out there."


OH NOOO YOU DIDNT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You brought out the.......I'm ejecated and yur not card.
Someone's gonna have fun with that but not me cuz I aint egukated nuf! :

Edited because I forgot to tilt my head and furrow my brow!
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Old 03-13-2004, 03:00 AM   #89 (Print)
bigpuma
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Re: I didn't say they don't plan on a certain degree of this

Quote:
Originally posted by avermeer

I'm just saying that it's ethically suspect. Sociopathically cheap. I'm sure they plan on a certain degree of stealing cable and descramblers, too. So do you say "so what" to that, too? They plan for stealing so it's okay?


Call it cheap all you want, but I suspect that people who purchase premium channels one day at a time would not subscribe to the channel anyway. Regardless, you are paying for service. It is perfectly legal and ethical. Why don't you understand that this system is set up by DirecTV, they want it this way. If they didn't they would change it. Did you ever consider that they make more money because of the few people who purchase premiums a few days at a time. Please don't insult us by trying to compare purchasing service legally through DirecTV, with stealing service with black boxes or cable descramblers.

Quote:

I don't know how many times I have to say this, I'm talking about ethics. If you study ethics, you'll discover that this situation is absolutely wrong under Kantian ethics, because if everyone did it HBO would fail and a grey area in Utilitarianism, which would be confusing because it dictates that you should do whatever makes the greatest number of people happy. Does finagling a bastardized pay per view system where the true cost of the service is not equal to the cost paid make the most people happy? I don't think so. It makes the finaglers happy, all right, but few else. I suppose I could discuss Nicomacean ethics with you, but its a far less simple model and I can already sense the tilted heads and furrowed brows out there.


Do you really need a class to tell you what is ethical? This just seems silly to me. I mean I know lawyers have to take classes but that is because they were born without that gene Purchasing services through the DirecTV website, according to the agreement they set up and cancelling them in accordance with their rules is NOT unethical no matter what class you take. If DirecTV lost money because of this or for any reason did not want to SELL their services this way they wouldn't. End of discussion.

Quote:

I'm not telling anyone they shouldn't do anything. The original poster asked if it was kosher, I took that to mean "is it ethical." The answer is no.


Actually the answer is yes.

Quote:

Before anyone flames, please read the rest of the posts and arguments concerning this (pages 4 and 5) and be sure that you understand it, because it's tiring to have to go over the same concepts more than once.


I agree it is tiring.
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Old 03-13-2004, 02:32 PM   #90 (Print)
marcelval
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It is in no way unethical...

If "everybody" did it HBO would make a fortune, since "everybody" includes all the people who don't subscribe to HBO today. If every single non-HBO subscriber bought one day of HBO per month HBO would be making a lot more money than they make today. Did it ever occur to you that HBO has figured out how much 1 day costs, and has allowed Direct TV to sell it that way and still turn a profit.

It's simple. Direct TV knows this happens. HBO knows this happens. Both would rather make an extra profit off the "one day a month-ers". I don't see how paying the sellers asking price for what you get could possibly be unethical regardless of how many people do it.

Of course my masters degree in film may not be enough education for me to understand the issues...
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