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Broadcast Networks Should Steer Clear of Pay TV

New York -- Broadcast-television networks should focus onhigh-definition television and steer clear of multicast digital, said Jim Rosenfeld,managing director of Veronis, Suhler & Associates.

Rosenfeld was speaking here last week at a panel, "TheFuture of Pay Television," hosted by the International Radio & Television SocietyFoundation.

"Networks have a single asset, and that'smass," Rosenfeld said. "Mass should continue to be their asset as everythingelse continues to proliferate."

Using their newfound digital channels for multicast servicemakes even less sense for broadcasters in the near term, said Tom Rogers, president of NBCCable and Business Development, because there won't be a critical mass ofdigital-ready televisions or set-top boxes for many years.

Projections of merely 10 million to 12 milliondigital-ready receivers on the market in the next four years don't bode well forcreating new channels, Rogers said.

NBC has said that it will use its digital channels forHDTV. Rogers predicted that digital must-carry rules for cable operators will not includeall multicast channels.