tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS March 29, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday march 29th. with a key deadline looming, secretary of state john kerry cancels an event back home to try to wrap up a nuclear deal with iran. in our signature segment, the future of television. is it headed for the graveyard? as more and more young people cut the cord. and so i don't feel the need to go out of my way to buy a tv, let alone pay a cable bill. >> sreenivasan: and the government takes new steps to crack down on lenders charging the working poor 400% interest on their loans. next on pbs newshour weekend.
>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by:i?orí÷ and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening. thanks for joining us. tuesday is the deadline for a nuclear deal between iran and the world's major powers. and in switzerland, negotiations are intensifying to try to wrap up an agreement. the european union's foreign policy chief expressed optimism about the talks >> we have never been so close to a deal, still we have some
critical points that need to be solved. >> sreenivasan: in israel today, prime minister benjamin netanyahu renewed his criticism of the apparent deal being fashioned by representatives from iran and the united states germany, france, the united kingdom, russia and china. >> ( translated ): i expressed our deep concern towards this deal emerging with iran in the nuclear talks, this deal as it appears to be emerging bears out all of our fears, and even more than that. >> sreenivasan: one of the key sticking points apparently holding up a final deal is how quickly western economic sanctions against iran will be lifted once that country agrees to conditions meant to prevent it from producing a nuclear weapon. >> agreed to form a joint military task force. it will number 40,000 troops. the action by the mostly sunni muslim group was taken in response to advances by pro iranian shiite-muslim rebels in yemen. saudi arabia has been bombing rebel positions in yemen for
several days now and reportedly has destroyed the rebels fighter planes. still, on n.b.c.'s "meet the press" today, the saudi ambassador to the united states didn't rule out the possibility his nation might send ground troops into yemen. >> we haven't made a decision to send in ground troops in so far. so far it's been an air campaign. we have a plan in motion and we are executing this plan. >> sreenivasan: in tunisia, government forces say they killed nine terrorists overnight, including one of the key suspects in the recent museum attack that resulted in the deaths of nearly two dozen people. tens of thousands waved the tunisian flag in a massive demonstration against islamic extremism. the marchers were joined by officials from many european and african nations. new games, a group linked to al qaeda claims it has captured a group linked to al-qaeda claims it has captured the city of idlib from government troops. this video, posted online, is said to be of the scene there. idlib becomes the second
provincial capital to fall into the hands of islamic extremists. the first, raqqa, is now the headquarters of isis. presidential voting in nigeria, africa's most populous nation, entered a second day today. it was marred by violent attacks from boko haram islamic militants. dozens have been killed this weekend in the northeast corner of the nation, where the militant group regularly launches attacks. despite those attacks and technical glitches, millions cast their vote in an election that could see the nation's first democratic transfer of power. results are expected in the next 48 hours. new evidence this weekend that the ebola outbreak in west africa is far from over. the government of guinea declared a health emergency in five regions, allowing it to restrict movement, quarantine medical centers, and institute lockdowns if necessary. in neighboring sierra leone, a three-day lockdown went into effect friday. but some residents there left their homes to get food. police later fired tear gas into a crowd of people to try to get them to leave. back in this country, indiana governor mike pence says he would support additional legislation to quote, "clarify" the intent of a bill passed just
days ago that critics say will allow business to discriminate against homosexuals. since the bill was approved, the mayors of san francisco and seattle have barred city-funded travel to indiana, and several corporations are considering reducing business dealings there. public health officials and farmers in minnesota are slaughtering tens of thousands of turkeys to try to contain an outbreak of the deadly bird flu there. minnesota is the nation's biggest producer of turkeys, and more than forty nations have banned poultry imports from that state since the outbreak began earlier this month. officials say this particular strain, which also has been discovered in arkansas, missouri and kansas, poses no immediate threat to human health. some good news for those of you who enjoy both alcohol and coffee. it's long been known that having several drinks a day increases the risk of liver cancer. but a recent analysis by the world cancer research fund finds that regularly drinking coffee can help reduce that cancer risk. researchers said its not clear
why coffee lowers the liver cancer risk, and called for further study. and finally, a penny saved is a penny earned. unless of course you have a birch penny, one of the first pennies ever minted in the one of those just sold at auction this week for almost $1.2 million. there are fewer than a dozen birch pennies known to exist. the coin, the size of a modern- day quarter, was made in 1792. the decision today by the 21 nations of the arab league to create a joint military force because of the crisis in yemen raises the question: why didn't the organization mobilize the same way to fight isis in iraq? for more about this and for the latest on the military situation in iraq, we are joined via skype in iraq now by matt bradley of the wall street journal. so why is it that the arab states very quickly got involved in yemen. it's almost a proxy war for shi'a and sunni states but
that's not the case in iraq? >> well they did get involved. rather quickly in iraq. the problem was that iraq was lead at the time on june 150th when islamic state ram tagged through northern iraq. iraq was lead by al-maliki who was a personal problem for many of the sunni arab leaders in the region. so he was considered to be very closely aligned with iran but also a lot of the sunni leaders in the region simply didn't like him and didn't consider him to be a reliable partner. and now it's part of the reason why some of the sunni states such as suddenee-- saudi arabia were so reluctant to get behind malick'-- maliki effort to repel an islamic state and in some ways sort of tacitly backed the islamic state until they found out the true nature of the threat. >> srennivasan: in iraq how likely will we to see ground forces from the arab league or even part of the u.s. coalition? >> it doesn't seem like there will be ground forces from the arab league any time soon. the arab league ground
forces is not-- is not a fully developed force quite yet. and so that would have to-- if that were to be deployed, it would be quite a long time in the future. i don't think that the united states or the iraqis or the iranians for that matter have the kind of patience to wait for a fully developed arab league for us to come together strengthly militarily, and legally to form that kind of legal app rat is that would build an arab army that has long been the dream of many of the sunni arab states. and they want to move to mosul later this year and we take iraq secretary islamic city before that city stays too long under islamic state control and really atrophies economically and politically. >> srennivasan: so what is an update on the fighting in the battle for tikirit? >> well tikirit is now entering tomorrow it will be entering the fourth week on the assault on tikirit. what was so unusual were there is these iranian back
militia started the fight on march. they didn't warn the u.s. or make an effort to work with -- >> especially in kobani where the united states was really flogging islamic states so for the first two weeks, these iranian-backed shi'a militias were able to repel islamic states outside of tikrit but once it entered the third week the fight sort of stalled and that is when after a couple of days of that impassee being dad went to the united states and asked them to intervene. so the united states said we will intervene as long as these shiite millishas take a backseat rule in the continuing fighting in tikirit so we are seeing a difficult moment where the shiite militias have been asked to withdraw from the front lines as the united states moves forward. but without these shiite militias backed by iran in tikirit the united states does not a strong reliable on the ground partner capable of moving in and
really liberating it from islamic state. >> srennivasan: matt bradley of "the wall street journal," thanks so much. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: quick check, are you watching this program on a tv, are you watching it at its regularly scheduled time? if you're of a "certain age" you might be watching this next story on a phone or a tablet, time-shifting it through a dvr to watch it when you want, you might not even own a television or have a connection to a cable or satellite service. in fact, cutting the cord is an attractive alternative to paying a monthly cable bill for a growing number of people. it's a way to save up to $60 or $80 a month. but what happens to the definition of television as our viewing patterns change? that's the topic of our signature segment tonight, special correspondent jeff greenfield reports. >> reporter: this was the american cityscape when television was new: forests of
rooftop antennas, capturing signals over the air from a half-dozen channels that fought for space on a crowded broadcast spectrum. turning those signals into flickering, sometimes ghostly black and white images on small screens. for almost 90% of today's homes, television comes to us through cable or telephone wires or via satellite. our cable bills bring us a so- called "bundle" of more than 900 channels. but most of us watch an average of only 17. and now, more and more viewers, unwilling to pay ever-higher fees for a huge "bundle" of choices they rarely use, are turning to a new technology that may threaten the very foundation of the cable tv industry. over the past five years, 3.8 million american homes have "cut the cord," canceling or refusing cable. younger viewers, so-called" millennials" form a growing class of "cord-nevers," rejecting the cost of a monthly cable bill, they've turned instead to broadband, high speed
internet connections, and a range of streaming video services to watch what they want, where they want, when they want. we didn't have to go far to find a prime example: hannah yi is a 31 year old producer for" newshour weekend," and in fact, is one of the producers of this piece. and she's a tv producer, remember, she doesn't have a television set. why are you not tempted, do you think, to buy yourself a television set and hook up to cable? >> i think it's because i already have ways to watch what i want to watch without a television. i have my phone. i have my ipad. i have my laptop. and i feel like, with good broadband, i can pretty much get everything that i need to see on those devices. and so i don't feel the need to go out of my way to buy a tv, let alone pay a cable bill. >> reporter: her $9 a month netflix subscription brings her not just movies and older tv shows, but original offers like" house of cards" and "orange is the new black." like many of her contemporaries, hannah, to put it politely, borrows a friend's password to watch hbo shows like "game of thrones" and "last week
tonight." another $8 buys her hulu plus- which lets her see shows from traditional broadcast channels although not when they're originally broadcast. >> "modern family" is an abc show. i get that on hulu plus so i watch that on my ipad. i'm not watching it with the rest of america, but i am still able to watch it easily on my devices. >> reporter: hannah isn't alone in using netflix, hulu plus or amazon. a recent neilson report found that over 40% of american homes subscribe to at least one of these services. for those unlike hannah yi, who do have a tv set, $50 buys them a roku, a simple piece of hardware that brings those online offerings right onto their hi-def televisions. and there's evidence that this new technology is having a serious impact. according to nielsen, viewership of traditional tv dropped 4% last year. meanwhile, time spent viewing streaming video is up 40% a dramatic increase in online viewing. in response, something like a
california gold rush has broken out, as many, perhaps most, of the biggest media players are offering services that don't require a cable or satellite hookup. apple, sony, the dish network, are among those looking to offer their own streaming subscription services, bundling about 20 channels, featuring entertainment, sports and news programming, for $20 to $50 a month. roger lynch, ceo of sling tv, dish's streaming service explains the rationale. >> we're going after millennials and cord-cutters and cord- nevers. so really people for whom the traditional pay tv bundle doesn't meet their needs. >> reporter: with so many players looking beyond cable, a key question arises: does this portend "the death of tv?" will this medium go the way of music, where records and c.d.'s are all but extinct, or newspapers, finding it ever harder to survive in print? well, it depends who you ask and what you mean by death.
earlier this month hbo's chief, richard plepler announced a $15- a-month streaming service, to be delivered through apple devices that set alarm bells ringing. when hbo announced that you were going to bring this new service to the public, one of the first reactions out there was, "a-ha this is the canary in the coal mine. the cord is being cut. this presages the ultimate death of cable." true? >> no, highly overwrought. listen, there are 70 million homes in the u.s. that don't take h.b.o. and one of the things we think about all the time is how do we go and bring those 70 million homes into the hbo family? so we wanna do that through kind of multilateral approach. we're gonna work with our cable operators. we're gonna work with our satellite distributors. we're gonna work with our telco distributors. and we're going to add digital distribution to that outreach. >> reporter: indeed, with 46 million cable and satellite tv
homes subscribing to h.b.o., there's a huge economic incentive for the network to stay with cable. it's the same logic for sports giant e.spn, which earns some $6.5 billion dollars year just from cable subscriber fees. that is a powerful reason to remain in the cable universe. >> reporter: as for those who are looking to save money by dumping a cable package, the advantage to cord-cutting may not be all that clear, says "the atlantic's" derek thompson. even in cutting the cord, they're still gonna be paying $40 a month, say, to time warner just for the internet. >> right. >> reporter: but now you add sling. that's $20 a month, i mean, when you start adding this stuff up, it doesn't look like these cord cutters are gonna be saving any money. they might actually end up spending more money. >> some people are not going to save money. some people surely are going to think that they're beating a
system but ironically are going to pay more for it. but there's a lotta people and they're gonna say, "i don't wanna spend $100 a month on entertainment. instead i just want to have netflix." and there you're only spending about $10 a month. >> reporter: there is, however is one wild card to contemplate. what is mostly "streamed" via broadband is more or less traditional, recognizable fare: big-budget dramas like "house of cards," re-packaged tv shows via hulu plus. but craig moffat, who's been analyzing the industry for years, notes that the cord cutting and cord-never millennials are actually often watching something very different. >> they're existing in an entertainment ecosystem that operates entirely outside of the pay tv system that we know today. it's content that's developed for 1/10 the cost per hour of traditional content. and it's not distributed via cable and satellite operators. it's distributed by social media companies. >> reporter: moffatt's talking about videos that you can watch without a tv, like "between two ferns", zach galifaniakis'
interview show on the "funny or die" website or "high maintenance," the sitcom about a marijuana dealer on vimeo. millennials are also watching video clips on youtube and the video messaging app snapchat. that's one reason why hbo's new streaming service includes a daily half-hour newscast from "vice," a distinctly non- traditional form of journalism. >> if you went to media companies five years ago or even three years ago and said, "what happens when the millennials go through a life stage change when they have children, when they get married?" they all would have said, "all of these millennials are gonna come flooding back to pay tv." they're not so sure anymore. millennials are disengaged from the entire ecosystem. and having children isn't gonna make them suddenly abandon netflix and go back to pay tv. they're simply gonna find their programming through a different venue. >> reporter: so, does this new media landscape really point to" the death of tv?" well, jay yarow, who writes a regular "death of tv" column for
"business insider," says this: >> there's still millions of people tuning in to tv shows. with any conversation around the death of anything, you have to keep in mind what the "death" really means. it doesn't mean it goes to zero, and goes away, and disappears entirely. what it means is it probably goes into decline, or it goes flat, it goes sideways. >> reporter: if you're betting that tv as we know it won't be around ten or even twenty years from now, you'd likely lose that bet. and the giants like espn or hbo will likely survive no matter how their signals come into our homes. but if millions more turn away from the "cable bundle", it's a very good bet that many of the smaller, specialized networks that depend on that bundle will be endangered species. >> sreenivasan: are you a cable tv subscriber, or have you cut the cord to stream media online? share your media diet on facebook or on our website at pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: the federal consumer financial protection
bureau this week took new steps to protect the working poor from people critics describe as predatory lenders, those making what are known as pay day loans. for more about this, we are joined now from washington by chico harlan of the washington post. so first i guess let's just set the stage here. what qualifies in t his category of loans that the cfpb is trying to regulate? >> well they're actually going after a pretty broad swathe of both short term and medium term loans. generally characterized by very high interest rates and by the target audience or the target consumer which tends to be the working poor. you have two categories pay-day loans which are you know you have a two weeks to pay it back and installment loans which go over a longer period you still have astronomical interest rates and they're paid back over weeks or sometimes months. >> what is the hazard when somebody takes a loan can't take it or pay it back they pick up another loan? >> yeah that tends to be
the biggest hazard. it's that these loans are marketed as a two-week fix let's say you have some unforeseen emergency a car accident bills that are larger than anticipated well you go to a payday lending store and you take out a loan with the idea that it will be paid back in two weeks. however, these are people without don't always have so much money on hand and when that two-week period hits boom you have all these financing fees that are added in and many people kind themselves in a position where the only way they can pay back that loan and still pay for food and other daily news is to take out yet another payday loan. >> so what is the bureau going to do or want to do to try to prevent this from happening? >> well they're going after this-- in a couple different ways. and it does get complicated but i think the key thing the pillar in this whole strategy is a cap that will come after the third loan. so let's say you take out a loan, renew it twice now a
payday company can no longer get you on a fourth or on a third renewal. they basically have to give you an off-ramp where all the money you owe after three payday loans in a row gets paid back over any period of time that you want? >> so when do these proposed rules go into effect? >> well it's still going to be quite a long period of delib racial. i would suspect that by sometime next year these rules or a version of them will go into effect. >> and what is the initial response from the lending industry about this? >> almost everybody i have talked to in the payday industry made it clear thises with far more strict than expected. and the outcome or the outcry i should say from people in the payday industry has been pretty-- pretty fierce saying that this will really jeopardize our business. but more importantly, this is their words this will jeopardize the ability of low income people to get credit when they're oftentimes not serviced properly by banks. >> all right chico harlan
from "the washington post" thanks so much. >> thank you, hari. >> reporter: some of the most expensive real estate in the bay area is alongside a freeway that connects san francisco and san jose. there, billboards rent for between 10 and 50 thousand dollars a month. kqed's scott shafer tells us, the ads are aimed at a very select group of drivers. for some landing in silicon valley is like arriving in shangri-la the place apple facebook and google call home. but even in paradise there's traffic. the commute along this 40 mile stretch of freeway between san francisco and san jose can take a couple of hours. drivers have plenty of time to stare out their windows at the seemingly endless stream of ads for tech companies. some billboards promote the familiar, but others seem to require a translator. >> box box no have-- i don't have that one.
>> standford university marketing professor pedro gardett say the billboard use a private language aimed at the tech set. >> these billboards are in a sense different from anything we've seen before. these companies have found a new way to do it which is putting up some little rid will-- riddles that in a sense say this ad is you. so it really makes sense in the microclimate we live in. >> among those driving by >> reporter: among those driving by are some of the biggest names in venture capital and high tech >> one of the major strategies when you build a new startup is to get bought. so there is nothing like getting awareness to get people to consider you for a purchase. >> reporter: natasha raja created the much buzzed about billboards for the tech recruiting firm, dice. the ads feature real engineers in their underwear. a commuter herself, raja thought drivers would appreciate some humor. >> you want to put a smile on people's face, but you also want people to pay attention, we wanted to make sure it was
funny. >> reporter: using an old-school technique to promote high-tech firms may seem counterintuitive but if the ads work, expect to see more of them. >> sreenivasan: some more news before we leave you tonight. authorities have discovered a body in that manhattan building that exploded after a gas leak earlier this week. two people had been reported missing. join us on air and on line tomorrow. thanks to all our friends here at kqed in san francisco. i'm hari sreenivasan, have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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