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What do others say?

Don’t just take our word for it – read what others are saying about high programming fees and blackouts

Local broadcast stations

Hearst Stations Go Dark to DirecTV

Hearst Television, after granting four temporary extensions to DirecTV and streaming service AT&T TV Now to try to hammer out a deal, pulled its 34 broadcast stations from the satellite giant’s customers Friday, after the parties failed to reach a retransmission consent agreement. Read more

DISH drops WXII, other Hearst stations, in dispute

Just two months after a dispute briefly took WXII off DirecTV, the station is off another satellite television provider’s lineup. On Friday, Dish Network Corp. removed Hearst Television, which owns and operates WXII and 25 other local TV stations in markets across the country, from its lineup. Read more

Dish’s Latest Blackout: Satcaster Loses TV Stations in 38 Markets in Fight With Tegna

Dish charged that Tegna was seeking “above-market rate increases” that are twice what the satcaster currently pays. “With Dish willing to grant an extension and a retroactive true-up on rates, Tegna had nothing to lose and consumers had everything to gain by leaving the channels up,” Warren Schlichting, Dish senior VP of programming, said in a statement. “Instead, Tegna chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use innocent consumers as bargaining chips.” Read more

This is Why There Are More Network Blackouts Than Ever

Over the past few months, we’ve seen channels dropped across the cable, satellite, and streaming industries — most frequently local channels. While content disputes have happened across locals, sports, and entertainment — its locals and regional sports where the biggest disputes have occurred. And it comes down to costs, at least in terms of locals, for something that previously was free. Read more

Cable networks

Fox Warns Altice’s Optimum And Suddenlink Subscribers About Impasse

Fox has started spreading the word that its distribution deal with Altice USA is set to expire in the coming days, warning that a blackout could leave millions of Optimum and Suddenlink subscribers without access to key fall programming. The pact covers the Fox broadcast network, FX, FS1, Nat Geo and other networks, so the dispute threatens big draws like NFL and college football and the upcoming Major League Baseball playoffs.

“We are disappointed that they have started threatening to black out certain channels in an effort to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in new fees from us and our customers,” [Altice’s] statement said. “Programming costs are the greatest contributor to rising cable costs, and we urge Fox to stop its threats and instead focus on negotiating an agreement that is fair for consumers.” Read more

Cable Blackouts Growing More Common, Even If Subscribers Get Angry

Among media companies, “going dark” was once a matter of last resort. Now it’s an option that is seeing more light. If getting top dollar from Madison Avenue has grown more difficult, then media companies are forced to rely more heavily on the retransmission fees they get from cable and satellite operators. Read more

A timeline of price hikes at YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and other vMVPDs

Here’s a timeline of price hikes – pieced together using data collected by UBS – that vMVPDs have instituted over the past year and a half. For many of the vMVPDs that began life as bargain alternatives to traditional cable or satellite, the pressure of programming costs and growing channel lineups have led to necessary price increases. Read more

Disney and Charter are talking about carriage fees, and the outcome could affect how much you pay for cable in the streaming era

Disney is set to renew its multiyear carriage agreement with Charter, the second-largest U.S. pay TV provider. But this particular Disney deal has widespread implications for how future TV carriage deals will be crafted. The outcome could lead to more contentious battles between TV providers and content creators, and perhaps stem the tide of rising cable TV bills. Read more

Sports

Disney Warns AT&T Customers They May Lose ESPN in Contract Dispute

Walt Disney Co. has started warning AT&T Inc.’s U-verse and DirecTV customers that they may lose ABC, ESPN, the Disney Channel and Freeform if the companies can’t agree on new financial terms when their current contract expires soon. Read more

#GameOver: Regional Sports Networks: NBA, MLB and NHL Need New Media Strategy

Earlier this week, an RSN owner finally admitted publicly what we already knew: the ONLY viable RSN economic model is to force everyone who takes multichannel television to pay an exorbitant price/sub/month to subsidize the TINY minority of fans that want to watch the channel; essentially forcing subscribers to subsidize how much the RSNs have overpaid the teams for media rights.

The proper business model is clearly an a la carte offering similar to the UK where you pay extra for Sky Sports if you are a passionate European football fan or how consumers pay a la carte for HBO today. Read more

Dish Network May Cut Ties With Regional Sports Networks

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen suggested that the blackout of the 21 RSNs and YES Network … could extend indefinitely. “It doesn’t look good that the regional sports will ever be on Dish again,” Ergen said, noting that the high cost of carrying the channels may justify dropping them altogether.

Other than ESPN and its family of spinoff networks, no programming costs cable and satellite TV customers more than the top-tier RSNs. With an average affiliate fee of $6.74 per sub per month, the New York Yankees’ YES Network is the most expensive RSN. Both figures are in stark contrast to the average fee for all nationally-distributed cable channels, which works out to around 30 cents a pop. Read more

Raiders owner says canceling the entire NFL season is still one of three options the league has for 2020

During an interview with ESPN.com, Davis revealed that he thinks there’s still a possibility that the 2020 season could be completely canceled, which is an option the league hasn’t ever publicly mentioned. Obviously, it’s all going to come down to how whether or not NFL players can avoid coronavirus, which is why Davis doesn’t sound completely convinced that a season is going to happen. Read more

AT&T Pulls NFL Network From DirecTV Now, U-verse as League Mulls Ending DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket Exclusivity

AT&T said, “The NFL Network and Red Zone Channel remain available to all fans on DirecTV. However, as we continue to manage content costs, we could not reach an agreement with the NFL to continue to carry their channels on U-verse TV and DirecTV Now.” Read more