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Monthly Archives: December 2014

DISH vs FOX the Fight Continues

The fee fight between the sat provider and the news network enters it’s second week with both sides showing no signs of backing down. Both FOX and DISH have released statements claiming the other side is being unfair and asking for too much money or isn’t willing to pay a fair fee for the content provided.

FOX pulled their the Fox News Network on December 20, 2014 after the two media giants could not agree to new terms for a carrier agreement between the two.

The Chairman of DISH Network, Charlie Ergen, went as far as releasing a video on his companies website explaining some of the issues the two companies are having in reaching a new agreement. He explains that Fox is demanding that DISH increase the carrier fee on a channel FOX owns that is not currently out of contract at this time. Ergen referred to this tactic as out right blackmail, something he says FOX should be ashamed of.

FOX responded by stating that DISH is notorious for underhanded dealings and trying to rip off content providers in carrier agreements, which is why they have lost ten channels in the past six months alone.

There seems to be very little progress being made in this disagreement, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel in site currently for FOX returning to DISH. DISH has gone as far as replacing FOX NEWS with another conservative content provider, The BLAZE Network which is run by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.

Time Warner Raises Rates in a Sneaky Way

While monthly rate increases are commonplace, especially towards the end of each year, Time Warner is putting into place increases that have not been seen before. Instead of an increase to the actual monthly bill itself, they are using monthly add on fees that affect all customers.

On January 1st 2015 Time Warner is adding a $2.75  monthly sports surcharge  to all video subscriber’s bills. This fee is added regardless of the package you have, and is added to customers bills that do not have any type of sports package. Time Warner will also be increasing their monthly local channel surcharge from $2.25 to $2.75 each month.

The Time Warner monthly fee increases does not stop there though. On January 1st, internet subscribers will be paying an increased monthly fee for their modems, which is being increased to $8.00 from the current price of $5.99 a month. HBO subscribers who get the channel as a stand alone monthly purchase will see their bills increase from $14.99 to $16.99 each month.

As it has been stated, it is common for cable and satellite providers to raise their rates towards the end of each year, but Time Warner has decided to try and sneak in their increases through means other than the actual monthly programming package costs. Time Warner has stated that they have no plans currently to raise the prices on their actual monthly package prices at this time.

The reason behind their increases and added fees is to be able to keep up with the increasing costs of providing sports programing and buying and maintaining new equipment. Time Warner is not alone in increasing their sports access surcharges (even though most other cable and sat providers only charge customers with sports packages) and are doing so to cover the increase in fees being demanded by content providers such as ESPN.


DISH and FOX News Network – An Update

The fee fight between DISH Network and the FOX News Network came to a head over the weekend. The two companies had been in heated negotiations over renewing their carrier agreement. This contract renewal had issues from the get go due to FOX asking for too much cash (according to DISH) and DISH trying to lowball the news network by offering terms that were considered unfair (according to FOX).

Fox used the now standard tactics of going public with these issues. They started a war or words on twitter, and social media slamming the sat caster and blasting a campaign of doom and gloom to their customers. This campaign which also included commercials that warned viewers they could be losing access to the FOX News channels because of DISH’s unwillingness to make fair offers at the negotiating table. They encouraged customers to call DISH to express their displeasure at the possibility of losing their FOX channels.  FOX went as far as setting up a website that warned of the pending blackout, but went one step further and offered customers the chance to see what other cable and sat providers were available in their area.

Taking these negotiations public has become extremely commonplace in the past year for both sides involved. The content providers have seen fit to bash DISH in very public arenas and in some cases have made the attacks extremely insulting and personal for the opposing side. This latest tactic though is something new and how this will affect the process of hashing out a new contract is yet to be seen. Directing viewers to other cable and sat providers is a very dangerous and potentially an extremely damaging tactic to use against DISH.

To attempt to push customers to another cable or sat provider could very well back fire on FOX. Even if it does not cause a massive migration of customers from DISH to other companies, just the possibility of this could upset the sat provider enough that they become standoffish or unwilling to negotiate with the new content provider.

This very tactic could very well be the cause of the breakdown in negotiations that took place between the two companies, which has  ultimately led us to where we are today. FOX is no longer on DISH Network. The two companies were unable to come to terms and FOX pulled their content, unwilling to even offer DISH an extension to their current agreement while a new one is hammered out.

As of right now, FOX is not available to DISH viewers, and there is no ETA being provided by either side on when or even if it will return to the airwaves. Time will tell if FOX shot themselves in the foot by pushing DISH customers to other cable or sat providers.

Dish Steps Into the Fee Fight Ring Again

In what seems like weekly news now, DISH Network in embroiled in another fee fight with a content provider that could leave viewers in the dark in less than a week. As has become common in these fights, both sides are taking the fight public, something that was unheard of 10 years ago when two companies were involved in contract negotiations with one another.

This time DISH has put the gloves on and stepped into the ring with FOX. The carrier agreement that DISH has with FOX ends this coming Saturday night at midnight, and if a new agreement can not be reached by then, viewers will no longer have access to the FOX News channel and the FOX Business channel.

DISH has been sending out massive amounts of tweets claiming that while FOX is asking for too much money, they are sure that a deal can and will be worked out between the two before the deadline. FOX on the other hand has begun using the tactics that several other content providers have used in recent carrier agreement negotiations. Commercials started airing on FOX Sunday evening warning DISH customers of the possibility that they would no longer have the ability to view these channels in the near future.

FOX’s use of the impending doom and gloom tactics also led them to set up a website, keepfoxnews.com urging customers to call DISH to express their displeasure at the thought of losing the news channels. According to Mediabistro.com over 20,000 people called the 1-800 number provided on the FOX commercials, and over 75,000 have visited the website set up by FOX.

One thing that stands out in this fee fight is that the website set up by FOX is actually telling viewers to look for other cable or sat providers in their area besides DISH. There is a section on the site that allows a visitor to put in their zip code and the site will look up what other companies are available to the visitor that carries the FOX News channels. This goes well beyond what any other content provider has done in terms of trying to force DISH Network’s hand in negotiations.

Will this tactic work in FOX’s favor? Or will their attempt at getting DISH customers to jump ship backfire against them? More than likely, as we have seen in the other recent fee fights DISH has been involved in, an agreement between the two media giants will be reached in time which will keep the FOX News channels on air for customers to view.

This new trend we have seen emerge over the past year of doom and gloom style proclamations of content blackouts every time a carrier agreement comes up for renegotiation is honestly getting old. Throw in the fact that these companies are now taking public what was once considered to be a private matter between two companies also shows that they are both desperate for attention and feel the need to make a show of matters that are not nearly as desperate as the two companies want them to seem to be.

4K Coming Soon to DIRECTV!!!!!

On Sunday, December 7th, DIRECTV launched an Ariane 5 Rocket was launched from French Guiana. The modern launch vehicle carried with it the new DIRECTV 14 satellite which has been designated for HD and 4K signal broadcasting.

Since it takes on average 60 to 90 days after launch for most satellites to become operational, which means the new super high def 4K content should be available to customers sometime between February and March of 2015. The new 4K content will be new channels offered by DIRECTV and if customers do not have a 4K TV, they will be unable to reap the benefits of the highest resolution picture currently available.

DIRECTV senior VP Phil Goswitz, told SpaceFlightNow.com that “This satellite is bringing the new technology of high-power reverse band and 4K Ultra HD to the world.”

DIRECTV currently offers 4K content via their streaming network, but this is a first in the industry in terms of mass availability of 4K content being made readily available to the masses.

Mr. Goswitz went on to say “DIRECTV will use this new technology to create the most advanced broadcast available — live, linear 4K Ultra HD services that at this moment do not even exist. 4K Ultra HD technology is a brand new technology and many have doubts and indecision about it, but not at DIRECTV.”

With these couple of sentences, DIRECTV is making it extremely clear that they plan on supporting 4K content broadcasting in a major way in the coming years. The launching of a satellite earmarked specifically for this type of content is not a cheap investment for any company to undertake. These types of investments can cost corporations and governments several hundred million dollars, even when splitting the costs of the launch, and depending on the cost of the satellite itself being put into orbit.

There is no word yet though on how many actual channels of 4K content will become available, or what those channels will be. Many customers have expressed hope that DIRECTV will commit these newly available channels to sports and premium movie channels according to various social media sites.



CBS Returns To Dish

After a long drawn out battle between the two media giants, CBS pulled their content from the Sat Casters line up. This move affected viewers in 14 major markets across the country, upsetting many people in the process.

This blackout was thankfully short lived. Dish Network and CBS were able to come to terms for a multi year carrier agreement that covers the 14 stations, as well as CBS sports and SHOWTIME, the networks cable movie channel. The newly agreed upon contract also dissolves the lawsuit that CBS had filed against DISH concerning their DISH Hopper DVR’s ability to allow customers to skip over commercials. CBS had claimed that this feature was a violation of their copyright, and was costing them millions of dollars in advertising revenue.

Dish resolved a similar lawsuit from Disney earlier in the year in a very similar negotiation process. DISH made agreements with both parties that they would alter their Hopper DVR to delay the ability for commercial skipping by three days for Disney (who owns ABC) and seven days for CBS. CBS has apparently agreed to allow DISH to distribute SHOWTIME on their new upcoming NET TV streaming service that should be available for consumer early next year.

Dish Contract Updates

When it rains it pours, or so the saying goes. And for Dish Network their problems just seem to continue to pile up higher and higher as the weeks go on. Recently they have had issues with Turner Networks pulling channels from their lineup, as well as heated series of negotiations with CBS that was once again extended to avoid a content blackout last night. Now though Dish is threatened with the possibility of losing content for 60 mid sized markets across the country if a new carrier contract is not negotiated by tonight at midnight.

The new fee fight is with Nexstar, who owns over 60 stations throughout the country in mid and small markets. Nexstar released a press release statement last night stating that DISH could lose these channels in the next 24-30 hours if a new agreement is not reached. This tactic of taking negotiations public is not uncommon recently, as many other content providers have done the same in an attempt to get their viewers to rally behind them and urge Dish to come to terms.

In this particular instance, Dish did not even bother to respond or acknowledge that a press release statement had been put out there for the world to see. This may not necessarily be a snub or an insult aimed at Nexstar, this oversight could be due in large part to the number of negotiating battles Dish is dealing with currently.

Besides the CBS and Turner fights, Dish is also working to keep the NBC regional sports channel as part of the line up as well. Negotiations in that fight have led to an extension granted by NBC as a token of good faith in the process, and to keep their viewers from missing out on the games they want to watch.

Time will tell if DISH is making the correct decisions in these instances, or if they are making choices that will eventually lead to their possible downfall. The loss of content channels on this scale can and will cause customers to jump ship to other sat providers.

DISH Hits a Possible Wall in CBS Negotiations

The carrier agreement negotiations between satcaster DISH Network and media giant CBS seems to have come to a true standstill. CBS put a press release out this morning stating that if an agreement has not been reached by Thursday December 4th, 2014 at 7pm, they will pull all content that is part of the dispute.

This content blackout will include major markets like New York, Chicago, LA as well as several smaller markets throughout the country. It could also include CBS pulling the cable network SHOWTIME from all markets, even though very little is being said about that at this point in time.

A content blackout of this magnitude would not only harm DISH by causing subscribers to jump ship to other providers, but it would also harm the ratings that are so important to CBS advertising dollars. For DISH though, this could not come at a worse time, as they are still embroiled in negotiations with Turner Networks to come to an agreement to keep their content on the DISH airwaves.

These heated public arguments over negotiations makes DISH look foolish, and could very well end up costing them dearly in the long run in subscription totals and a massive loss of content available to its customers. The question here is will an agreement be made that keeps CBS on the airwaves of DISH before the deadline on Thursday.

DIRECTV Drops The Ball Again With Their NFL Sunday Ticket

Once again customers that pay a large fee to subscribe to DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket swarmed the internet complaining about issues with their service. Customers flooded Twitter and DIRECTV’s customer service pages with complaints ranging from login issues, to connection and lag issues.

This is the forth week that the satcaster has run into major issues and problems that has had customers up in arms over the quality of the product they are paying for. The issues yesterday started approx. one hour after the 1pm kickoff and lasted throughout the day.

DIRECTV customer service acknowledged the issue publicly around 3:30 pm with the statement  “we are aware and working to resolve. Thank you for your patience.” Complaints continued well after this until some customers took it upon themselves to help out their fellow fans by posting on social media sights that you could login on mobile devices to watch the games with little to no problems.

While DIRECTV never once released a statement that they had resolved or fixed the issue for their customers, after fans started helping each other out with the new information, posted complaints began to slow down drastically compared to the previous hours.

There was no indication whatsoever throughout the day that the actual satellite transmissions for the games were interrupted or lost at any point in time. This leads industry experts to believe that the issue lies with DIRECTV itself having a system that has many flaws that have yet to be truly fixed or worked out.

These problems are similar in nature to those experienced in the 2013-14 season as well, which makes one wonder what, if anything, DIRECTV is doing over there to resolve the issues on a permanent basis. This continued series of connection and login issues has many DIRECTV customers becoming more and more frustrated with the Satellite Giant, and wondering if they are actually getting their money’s worth for the subscription. It is believed that DIRECTV could very well end up losing customers to their competitors if they do not get their act together and fix what internal issues are causing these problems.

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