By: Jeff Simmermon at 05:45 pm
I’d like to bring your attention to recent article from Bloomberg:
Here’s an excerpt:
TV blackouts in the U.S. have reached the highest level in a decade and may climb as pay-TV operators fight higher fees sought by content providers.
Disputes over fees have caused five blackouts this year, the most since 2000. They have affected about 19 million pay-TV subscribers, leaving some viewers without access to the Oscars and New York Knicks games. Dish Network Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp. and AT&T Inc. all lost programming while haggling over costs.
Feuds will escalate as pay-TV companies resist the increased fees they typically try to pass on to subscribers in the form of higher cable bills, said Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG LLC in New York.
Cablevision and Dish are currently negotiating with News Corp. over fees for Fox, the home of shows such as “Glee” and “American Idol.” Cablevision’s contract with News Corp. ends on Oct. 15, and Dish’s expires on Nov. 1. If agreements can’t be made by then, Fox could go dark on both carriers.
For right now, just for this moment, the story doesn’t include us. We went a few rounds with Fox late last year, and Disney a little more recently. I’m sure we’re going to have some tense and difficult negotiations with some other broadcasters before the year’s over.
This supports something we’ve said all along — You can run but you can’t hide.
Switching providers in the middle of one of these disputes only solves the problem in the very short term. I mean, we always love it when people subscribe to our service. But there’s no guarantee that a DISH customer who switches to us won’t hear the same thing when we have to negotiate with a different difficult programmer. And similarly, a customer that dumps us for a competitor is just going to deal with the same problems somewhere else.
Retransmission consent problems face the whole industry, not just one provider, then another. Switching during a dispute is like going to a payday loan place to pay the rent — something I’ve actually done before.
It works for a little bit, but then something else comes up and you’re in a whole other mess. I’m not explicitly saying not to switch providers here, either. All I’m saying here is that this is everyone’s problem, and it’s going to get worse until Congress or the FCC step in.