Topic: Media Research Center
In a Jan. 18 appearance on Fox News, the MRC Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor complained that HBO paid $5 million for the rights to broadcast the inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, calling it "pay for play." Gainor added: "If he's such a news-making rock star, and I think we all agree the media are treating him that way, well then, if he's a newsmaker, this is news, and that means shared video for a major event, not exclusive." A Jan. 19 NewsBusters post on Gainor's appearance by Matthew Philbin adds that HBO's rights deal "meant that only HBO subscribers and the 37 percent of cable customers that have digital cable could watch."
Both Gainor and Philbin appear to be wrong. As TPM has noted, HBO descrambled its channel during the presentation itself, so basic cable subscribers still got to see it. Further, the Presidential Inauguration Committee owns the rights to the concert; HBO merely owns the broadcast rights for six months.