Antenna giveaway aimed at disgruntled cable subscribers

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If retransmission fees lead to higher cable fees and subscribers drop their service, over-the-air antenna manufacturer Antennas Direct thinks it has a solution: use an antenna to receive "free" multicast over-the-air programming. The company is running a nationwide bus tour, educating the public to this point and giving away antennas as an incentive.

"Because people are working harder and making less, they are fed up with the cable companies' poor service and prices and are leaving in a mass exodus," said Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct in a news release. "We are educating people on an option they did not know was available, with advantages like multicasting. Some markets offer more free channels than basic cable."

Somehow, this message of "free" over-the-air television doesn't quite jive with announcements that Disney (NYSE: DIS) has wrung about 50 cents per subscriber per month out of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) for carrying its ABC broadcast affiliates or that Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) , thinks retransmission fees are on the same scale as the multi-billion take from Avatar. Both of those costs will not be eaten by the cable provider; they'll go straight into the bills for consumers.

"There's a monumental shift in the way people receive their favorite TV shows," Schneider correctly stated.

What he didn't say is who's to blame for that shift.

For more:
- see this news release

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