08-15-2022  12:16 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

The Oregon Lottery’s most recent advertising slogan is “Together, we do good things”. But when we look at where the profits are coming from and where any potential benefit from lottery profits flow to, is this really true? 

Court Sides With Governor Kate Brown Over Early Prison Releases

Two attorneys took particular issue with Brown’s decision to allow 73 people convicted of murder, assault, rape and manslaughter while they were younger than 18 to apply for early release.

Ballot Measure to Overhaul City Government Promises Minority Representation While Facing Controversy

The Portland Charter Commission aims to bring city in line with how other major U.S. cities do local governance. 

White Woman Calls Police on Black Man Standing at His Home

“If you guys have a lease, I’d just like to see the lease,”

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Hospital to Refuse Some Patients Due to Capacity

The hospital is caring for some 560 inpatients, more than 130% of its licensed capacity of 413 patients. ...

West Seattle Bridge to Reopen After Yearslong Closure

The 40-year-old bridge is among the city’s most important, previously allowing 100,000 drivers and 20,000 transit users to move...

Jefferson Alumni Invites Community to Block Party

This inaugural event is open to the public and will have tons of entertainment in tow, including a live DJ and music, a rib contest,...

Oregon Approved to Issue an Additional $46 Million in Pandemic EBT Food Assistance to 80,000 Young Children

The additional food benefits will be issued to families’ existing EBT cards in Fall 2022, with the exact dates yet to be...

Free Vaccination Events Provide Required Back-to-School Immunizations

On or before the first day of instruction, all K-12 students in Washington state must be up to date on vaccinations required for...

Coast Guard responds to small oil spill near San Juan Island

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to a diesel spill off the west coast of Washington state's San Juan Island after a 49-foot (15-meter) fishing vessel sank with an estimated 2,600 gallons (9,854 liters) of fuel on board. A Good Samaritan rescued all five crew members...

Police: Woman dies in Seattle light rail station accident

SEATTLE (AP) — Police say a woman has died after being struck by a Seattle light rail train at a station on Sunday. KIRO-TV reports that firefighters worked to extricate the woman from between the train and a platform at the Mount Baker Station. She was evaluated by paramedics...

OPINION

No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Developer finds human remains near Nashville Civil War fort

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A developer has unearthed human remains that could be two centuries old while digging to lay the foundation of a new Nashville project not far from a Civil War fort and a cemetery dating back to 1822. For Nashville, the discovery marks the latest intersection...

Kansas district rejects strategic plan urging diversity

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas school district's board rejected a proposed strategic plan after some members questioned its emphasis on diversity and students' mental health. The Derby Board of Education voted 4-3 this week to reject a plan presented after months of work by parents,...

Two years on, foundations stand by issuing bonds in pandemic

NEW YORK (AP) — When the Ford Foundation took the unprecedented step in June 2020 of issuing jumi billion in debt to help stabilize other nonprofits, it delighted investors and inspired several other large foundations to follow suit. Two years later, the foundations all stand by...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jon Batiste leaves Stephen Colbert's 'The Late Show'

NEW YORK (AP) — Jon Batiste, his career soaring after winning multiple Grammys this year, is leaving his perch as bandleader of “The Late Show” after a seven-year run backing up host Stephen Colbert. “We’ve been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent...

In ‘The Princess,’ a documentary on Diana flips the focus

The last thing the world needs, you might think, is another Princess Diana documentary. It’s a fair thought considering that almost 25 years after her death, her life and impact is still media fodder. Whether it’s a magazine cover or a book claiming to have new revelations or just...

'South Park' enjoys a silver anniversary of satire

NEW YORK (AP) — Reaching the age of 25 is usually a sign of hitting adulthood, a signal to put away all childish things. Not for “South Park” and stars Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman. The Comedy Central staple about four bratty, perpetually bundled-up youngsters in an unhinged...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Police: Man killed himself after ramming US Capitol barrier

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man drove his car into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol early Sunday and then began firing...

Whanganui River 'always makes things better for me'

WHANGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — Five years ago, the Whanganui River was recognized as a living person in a...

Salman Rushdie 'on the road to recovery,' agent says

MAYVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — Salman Rushdie is “on the road to recovery,” his agent confirmed Sunday, two days...

A year on, ex-Afghan leader defends role in Taliban takeover

ISLAMABAD (AP) — On the eve of the anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Kabul, Afghanistan's former president...

Ship carrying grain for hungry Ethiopia leaves Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A United Nations-chartered ship loaded with 23,000 metric tons of Ukrainian grain destined...

Malaysia ex-PM begins final bid to toss out graft conviction

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's top court Monday began hearing a final appeal by former Prime Minister...

Peter Svensson AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The weak economy is hitting Americans where they spend a lot of their free time: at the TV set.

They're canceling or forgoing cable and satellite TV subscriptions in record numbers, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of the companies' quarterly earnings reports.

The U.S. subscription-TV industry first showed a small net loss of subscribers a year ago. This year, that trickle has turned into a stream. The chief cause appears to be persistently high unemployment and a housing market that has many people living with their parents, reducing the need for a separate cable bill.

But it's also possible that people are canceling cable, or never signing up in the first place, because they're watching cheap Internet video. Such a threat has been hanging over the industry. If that's the case, viewers can expect more restrictions on online video, as TV companies and Hollywood studios try to make sure that they get paid for what they produce.

In a tally by the AP, eight of the nine largest subscription-TV providers in the U.S. lost 195,700 subscribers in the April-to-June quarter.

That's the first quarterly loss for the group, which serves about 70 percent of households. The loss amounts to 0.2 percent of their 83.2 million video subscribers.

The group includes four of the five biggest cable companies, which have been losing subscribers for years. It also includes phone companies Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. and satellite broadcasters DirecTV Group Inc. and Dish Network Corp. These four have been poaching customers from cable, making up for cable-company losses - until now.

The phone companies kept adding subscribers in the second quarter, but Dish lost 135,000. DirecTV gained a small number, so combined, the U.S. satellite broadcasters lost subscribers in the quarter - a first for the industry.

The AP's tally excludes Cox Communications, the third-largest cable company, and a bevy of smaller cable companies. Cox is privately held and does not disclose subscriber numbers.

Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett estimates that the subscription-TV industry, including the untallied cable companies, lost 380,000 subscribers in the quarter. That's about one out of every 300 U.S. households, and more than twice the losses in the second quarter of last year. Ian Olgeirson at SNL Kagan puts the number even higher, at 425,000 to 450,000 lost subscribers.

The second quarter is always the year's worst for cable and satellite companies, as students cancel service at the end of the spring semester. Last year, growth came back in the fourth quarter. But looking back over the past 12 months, the industry is still down, by Moffett's estimate. That's also a first.

The subscription-TV industry is no longer buoyed by its first flush of growth, so the people who cancel because they're unemployed are outweighing the very small number of newcomers who've never had cable or satellite before. Dish CEO Joe Clayton told analysts on a conference call Tuesday that the industry is "increasingly saturated."

But like other industry executives, Clayton sees renewed growth around the corner. Though his company saw the biggest increase in subscriber flight compared with a year ago, he blamed much of that on a strategic pullback in advertising, which will be reversed before the end of the year.

Other executives gave few indications that the industry has hit a wall. For most of the big companies, the slowdown is slight, hardly noticeable except when looking across all of them. Nor do they believe Internet video is what's causing people to leave.

Glenn Britt, the CEO of Time Warner Cable Inc. said the effect of Internet video on the number of cable subscribers is "very, very modest;" in fact, so small that it's hard to measure.

SNL Kagan's Olgeirson said the people canceling subscriptions behind, or never signing up, are an elusive group, difficult to count. Yet he believes the trend is real, and he calls it the "elephant in the room" for the industry.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that young, educated people who aren't interested in live programs such as sports are finding it easier to go without cable. Video-streaming sites like Netflix.com and Hulu.com are helping, as they run many popular TV shows for free, sometimes the day after they air on television.

In June, The Nielsen Co. said it found that Americans who watch the most video online tend to watch less TV. The ratings agency said it started noticing last fall that a segment of consumers were starting to make a trade-off between online video and regular TV. The activity was more pronounced among people ages 18-34.

Olgeirson expects programmers to keep tightening access to shows and movies online. A few years ago, Olgeirson said, "they threw open the doors," figuring they'd make money from ads accompanying online video besides traditional sources such as the fees they charge cable companies to carry their channels. But if it looks as if online video might endanger revenue from cable, which is still far larger, they'll pull back.

"Are they really going to jeopardize that? The answer is no," Olgeirson said.

Already, News Corp.'s Fox broadcasting company is delaying reruns on Hulu by a week unless the viewer pays a $8-a-month subscription for Hulu Plus or subscribes to Dish's satellite TV service. Other subscription-TV providers may join in the future. TV producers and distributors want to discourage people from dropping their subscriptions.

Moffett believes it's hard to separate the effect of the economy from that of Internet video. Subscription-TV providers keep raising rates because content providers such as Hollywood studios and sports leagues demand ever higher prices. That's causing a collision with the economic realities of American households.

"Rising prices for pay TV, coupled with growing availability of lower cost alternatives, add to a toxic mix at a time when disposable income isn't growing," Moffett said.

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