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HD carriage dispute w/ ABC/ESPN/Disney


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#41 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:51 PM

Then again, the relative impact may depend on how ultimately popular the World Cup turns out to be. DISH might counter with a "preview" of the channels from the Espanol package.

MDIAL is already free to all customers ... the Spanish networks are included in AT 200/HD 200 and above. IF ESPN becomes part of this they could air in preview.

Cutting off ESPN during the Nationwide race this weekend would probably have a bigger effect than losing Soccer.

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#42 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:57 PM

By the way, as for the topic, corporate greed pretty much sums it up. I do not know which is worse, broadcast stations, whose licenses are technically publicly owned asking for carriage fees or private cable channels who keep raising their fees by using excuses like professional sports salaries or "production costs". While in both cases, they air more and more commercials, get higher and higher rates, but this income is not enough. Hence, why I spend most of my time watching TCM, Fox Movie Channel and now EPIX1 and EPIX2. Add in the Encore owned channels. Most everything else on the other cable channels are repeats of recently run network shows. We pay more for less variety.

There aren't a lot of channels out there that you can watch that are not owned or controlled by The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, News Corporation, NBC Universal, National Amusements, Inc. (the Redstone family which has controlling interest in CBS/Showtime and Viacom), Liberty Media, and Comcast. In fact, if you add Sony, there isn't a lot of content out there that isn't totally or partially owned or controlled by one or more of those companies.

Hence TCM is owned by Time Warner, the Fox Movie Channel is owned by News Corporation, Encore is owned by Liberty Media, the EPIX channels are partially owned by Viacom subsidiary Paramount and MGM which is owned by Sony and Comcast.

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#43 OFFLINE   purtman

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:01 PM

Are we now going to change the sticky thread above to say "DISH Network Becomes First and Only TV Provider to Offer 196 National HD Channels"?:lol:

#44 OFFLINE   gor88

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:32 PM

I remember when Disney was a premium channel.


So do I. When Sammons Communications, the former cable company in McComb, MS, went from 12 channels in the basic package to 25 in 1987, Disney was also made available but as a premium channel for $6-7 a month extra. A few years later it magically dropped into the basic package.

As to this whole mess about content providers and their greed, I would LOVE to see Congress (the opposite of progress :D ) pass a disclosure law mandating cable and satellite providers to show how much they have to pay per subscriber for each channel. If channels are negotiated in groups, the price for the group and which channels were required to be added in order to secure broadcast rights. I would bet that such a disclosure would cause a LOT more people to hold righteous anger against the content providers.

#45 OFFLINE   gor88

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:43 PM

By the way, as for the topic, corporate greed pretty much sums it up. I do not know which is worse, broadcast stations, whose licenses are technically publicly owned asking for carriage fees or private cable channels who keep raising their fees by using excuses like professional sports salaries or "production costs". While in both cases, they air more and more commercials, get higher and higher rates, but this income is not enough. Hence, why I spend most of my time watching TCM, Fox Movie Channel and now EPIX1 and EPIX2. Add in the Encore owned channels. Most everything else on the other cable channels are repeats of recently run network shows. We pay more for less variety.


<soapbox value="on">
IMHO, Congress should have NEVER allowed OTA affiliates to get jack from cable and satellite companies!!! They were granted permission to use the public airwaves for the public interest! It is INSANE that I can pick up the OTA signal for free, but have to pay the OTA channel money if I happen to receive the same channel from the cable company. :eek2::nono::nono2::rolleyes:

Back in the late 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's, before there was an abundance of non-OTA networks, you might could have made the argument that cable companies were making money off the back of OTA stations. However, in this day and age, the local channels are more or less loss leaders. It's the non OTA channels that the masses subscribe to cable and satellite for, not the locals. The locals are just expected to be included as a courtesy, more or less.
<soapbox value="off">

Edited by gor88, 22 June 2010 - 07:49 PM.


#46 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:46 PM

Are we now going to change the sticky thread above to say "DISH Network Becomes First and Only TV Provider to Offer 196 National HD Channels"?:lol:

DISH added seven PPV channels last week ... so there has been gain as well.

#47 OFFLINE   GrumpyBear

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:50 PM

Is Mickey fricking Mouse that much better in HD? :nono2:

Whats funny about that, is That 70's show, looked better on the SD version instead of the HD version. ABC Family and Disney, have had some of the poorer HD feeds. I hope this gets resolved soon, will watch in SD until then.

#48 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:34 PM

Whats funny about that, is That 70's show, looked better on the SD version instead of the HD version. ABC Family and Disney, have had some of the poorer HD feeds. I hope this gets resolved soon, will watch in SD until then.


As for PQ - Disney HD seems very nice on Directv and Time Warner, but ABC Family was never top notch. It has improved, though.

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#49 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 10:42 PM

IMHO, Congress should have NEVER allowed OTA affiliates to get jack from cable and satellite companies!!! They were granted permission to use the public airwaves for the public interest! It is INSANE that I can pick up the OTA signal for free, but have to pay the OTA channel money if I happen to receive the same channel from the cable company


I've said this before in other threads, but it bears repeating here.

I can't speak for all OTA or all markets... but here in my DMA.. years ago, the OTA channels were in a big fight with Time Warner over:

OTA was being given to customers free BUT Time Warner was charging customers for those same channels via cable. The local channels said essentially either give those OTA rebroadcasts for free to your customers OR pay us for retransmission if you are going to charge for them.

Ultimately, Time Warner (and by association once the precedent was set, satellite companies) decided to pay for retransmission so they could charge for the service.

So... while it might seem "unfair" to have to pay for "free" OTA... it is equally unfair for a satellite or cable company to capture that OTA for free and then sell it to you without paying the local station for the right to do so.

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#50 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:03 AM

I've said this before in other threads, but it bears repeating here.

I can't speak for all OTA or all markets... but here in my DMA.. years ago, the OTA channels were in a big fight with Time Warner over:

OTA was being given to customers free BUT Time Warner was charging customers for those same channels via cable. The local channels said essentially either give those OTA rebroadcasts for free to your customers OR pay us for retransmission if you are going to charge for them.

Ultimately, Time Warner (and by association once the precedent was set, satellite companies) decided to pay for retransmission so they could charge for the service.

So... while it might seem "unfair" to have to pay for "free" OTA... it is equally unfair for a satellite or cable company to capture that OTA for free and then sell it to you without paying the local station for the right to do so.

I totally disagree.

I "pay" the broadcast station by being counted among its viewers and am sold to their advertisers. I pay the cable or satellite company so I don't have to use a 800' tower with amplifying equipment to get the signal the FCC promised me would be free when they licensed the station exclusively for my area.

That's the broadcast model. A free signal broadcast to the air, but I have to pay for (a) the means to receive it (an antenna or the cable or satellite company's antenna and delivery system) and (B) the means to watch it (a TV).

Within the context of the FCC license for a broadcast station, the cable or satellite company is delivering the signal, not selling the content to me. They are selling a delivery service like UPS or FedEx. They have competition - let's liken an antenna to the Postal Service, and cable and satellite to UPS and FedEx. The moment the signal leaves the broadcast stations tower, it is supposed to be free to everyone within their DMA who can receive it. No one ever said that the means to receive it couldn't be a UPS or FedEx.

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#51 OFFLINE   RasputinAXP

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:40 AM

And here I was wondering why the hell Handy Manny was SD this morning...

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#52 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 04:56 AM

So... while it might seem "unfair" to have to pay for "free" OTA... it is equally unfair for a satellite or cable company to capture that OTA for free and then sell it to you without paying the local station for the right to do so.

Cable started with "community antenna" service ... basically shared antenna rental. Each customer paid a few dollars per month for the infrastructure to simply receive an OTA signal and retransmit it via coax to subscribers. The monthly cost was a lot less than buying and maintaining the antenna and tower needed to receive the signal oneself in the rural areas CATV started in. The benefit to the customer was a clear(er) signal. The benefit to the station was more potential viewers.

Then cable expanded. Stations lost some viewers to cable networks and a recession hit all businesses. Stations saw cable companies making a nickle off of rebroadcasting their signal and even though it was helping their advertisers reach more people, they decided they wanted a cut. It snowballed from there.

Cable systems are now required to offer a cheap "lifeline" service including local stations. Free would be nice but the infrastructure isn't free. Someone has to pay to catch the signal, amplify it and deliver it to homes.

I'd like to see free satellite service as well. Every channel that contains advertising should live off of its advertising and not charge me! But that isn't going to happen either. Programmers have discovered a revenue stream and now that they are addicted to getting ad money and carriage fees there is no way to break the habit. :(

DISH will have to pay for the ABC/Disney HD fees ... hopefully a fair rate. It would be nice if providers would just see the value of getting their feeds in front of customers ... but they want cash and viewers. And that's just the way it is.

#53 OFFLINE   Hunter844

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 05:34 AM

Well look at the brite side...here in a few months Dish can add them back and claim they've added 4 NEW HD CHANNELS!!!!

#54 OFFLINE   tedb3rd

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 06:48 AM

Good point Hunter!! They can count those channels twice!

But the irritating part is that television (delivery of programming) industry seems to have cornered themselves into bundling channels by parent company/provider and now it's harming consumers. At first, it might have been an advantage--like buy one get one half price... But now it's gotten to the point where it's like you must buy the door and frame also when all you need/want is the doorknob... I know that the SD channels are still available for now but if they are running into this garbage with HD then I'm guessing it's going to be round 2 when SD renewal comes along. Too bad they can't offer more al-carte' or even a 'cartoon package' etc., etc. Sirius/XM has managed to do that and I love it...

But if my kids have to endure standard definition for a few days/weeks if it means my price not increasing.. Well then, it sucks to be a kid for a little while. I think there's a reason that Dish is cheaper than cable... This is probably one of the reasons. If people want fewer 'down channels' they can go to cable... and pay more.

#55 OFFLINE   jclewter79

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:56 AM

According to the other site, E*'s statement about this deal states that they are the low price leader by offering "free HD for life" so they cannot afford to pay fees when they are raised by large amounts. Disney's official statement cites a court decision in washington as upholding their position to ask the amount that they are for the channels in question. Because of the fact that I have not dropped the platinum channels, I still pay the same for HD service this month that I did last month. I am sure that both ends are working toward a solution to the disagreement but, I also hope that Disney understands that a court decision alone is not always enough to pressure Charlie into doing what you want. Just ask TIVO.
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#56 OFFLINE   BillJ

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 09:11 AM

For me it's not a question of getting satellite for free, even the OTA channels. What I object to is broadcasters demanding they be paid twice for the same content because one source is SD and the other HD.

I know we aren't near that point yet, but if DISH or DTV had HD receivers for everyone, they could tell ABC to forget getting paid for SD and just give everyone the HD feed only. HD receivers feed an SD TV just fine.

In reference to earlier comments on the early days of cable, where I grew up the cable companies (initially there were several small ones) had to put their antennas on the top of surrounding mountains and feed the signal to the town below. You couldn't put up a tower tall enough at home to get a signal. Still true in that city.

#57 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 11:57 AM

I totally disagree. .


I'm not sure why you would totally disagree with what I was saying.

Your local OTA channel provider gives away their signal to the public for free (yes you have to buy a TV and antenna to watch), but they make money through various means such as charging for advertisements. This is why they give that signal away.

The cable/SAT company wants to rebroadcast that to customers because they know their customers want to receive it. Some customers don't want to put up an antenna, others can't receive the signal for various reasons.

IF the cable/SAT company gave the rebroadcast OTA locals for free OR charged only a minimal infrastructure fee to cover their equipment costs... then that would be fine.

BUT... cable/SAT companies make money by charging you more than it costs them to provide those retransmissions of the OTA that they receive for free by picking them up OTA themselves.

They have no legal right to do that unless the OTA gives them permission. And as I said, in my area the choice given was "pay us for the retransmission if you are going to make profit OR give the channels free to your customers as you get them free from us".

It's really about fair use at this point... and applies to things other than just TV.

Back to the topic here... Disney is (per their court case apparently) taking the position that Dish hasn't been paying properly for the HD versions of some of their channels. I'd rather the HD be "free" to me for buying the SD channel... but Disney has the same right to ask for more money.

Dish, of course, has the right to not want to pay... and lose the channels. I hope the channels come back... but am not sure which way this will go.

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#58 OFFLINE   JWKessler

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:32 PM

Was there cable TV during the cutover to color TV?


It wasn't called "cable" back then. It was CATV - Community Antenna TV. a company would set up a big tower on a hill in a town, stick a bunch of antennas on it, pull in stations that could not be received with a roof top antenna and distribute the signal through out the community.

A lot of folks still had B&W TVs at this point. Color sets didn't start selling in large number until the late 1960s when their prices started to fall. This is a bit like HDTV where there are still a lot of people using their old CRT SD sets.

One difference is that the CATV operators didn't pay the stations for their signals at that time. The stations saw it as an advantage to them to get their signals out to more viewers. So the cable operators didn't have to make much more of an investment to carry color signals. Perhaps the hardware needed to be a bit more sophisticated to carry the color signal.

I recall when CATV first came to my small town at the eastern end of Long Island, people found they could point their antennas at the amplifier boxes hanging on the poles outside their homes and get free service! Better hardware resolved that problem.

#59 OFFLINE   JWKessler

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:47 PM

I totally disagree.

Within the context of the FCC license for a broadcast station, the cable or satellite company is delivering the signal, not selling the content to me. They are selling a delivery service like UPS or FedEx.


That is an interesting analogy. Imagine if Amazon charged FedEX for the right to carry an item I ordered from Amazon. Of course FedEX would have to pass that additional charge on to me, so it would be like Amazon charging me for the privilege of being an Amazon customer. Of course FedEX could refuse to pay that charge preventing Amazon from delivering the item I ordered.

#60 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:02 PM

IF the cable/SAT company gave the rebroadcast OTA locals for free OR charged only a minimal infrastructure fee to cover their equipment costs... then that would be fine.

BUT... cable/SAT companies make money by charging you more than it costs them to provide those retransmissions of the OTA that they receive for free by picking them up OTA themselves.

I'd have to argue the "more than it costs" assumption. Infrastructure isn't cheap. EchoStar is operating 160 fiber points of presence to get their signals back to one of the 12 uplink centers they operate for DISH. Due to satellite configurations it is not always the nearest one (although with the replacement of the two uplink E-7 with the seven uplink E-14 it is more likely). The fiber network and additional uplink centers are a cost that is there solely to support locals. DISH has six centers unique to E-12 at 61.5 due to it's spotbeam design. That costs money.

They have no legal right to do that unless the OTA gives them permission.

That is where the law needs to be changed. But that is a windmill that isn't worth tilting at.

Back to the topic here... Disney is (per their court case apparently) taking the position that Dish hasn't been paying properly for the HD versions of some of their channels. I'd rather the HD be "free" to me for buying the SD channel... but Disney has the same right to ask for more money.

The ESPN lawsuit (as noted near the top of the thread) was over payment. DISH paid for rights to "all feeds" of the ESPN networks it carried. When HD was introduced DISH played the "all feeds" card and demanded carriage of the HD feeds at no extra cost. ESPN balked wanting separate payment for their (then) unique ESPN and ESPN2 feeds (they have since gone to simulcast). See you in court.

What I don't understand is how DISH carried the channels for so long if they were not paying. ABC/Disney could have deauthed DISH's receivers just as easily the day DISH added those channels to the DISH system as now. ABC/Disney *allowed* DISH to carry those channels. And now?

I suspect that ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD are being paid for thanks to the initial ruling of the court saying that they are (or were) separate feeds.




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