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Guest Message by DevFuse

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HD carriage dispute w/ ABC/ESPN/Disney


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#121 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:18 PM

Yes and no. ESPN has always been special. Cable and satellite have paid a premium for it for years.

IMHO no one should sign an agreement that combines ESPN channels with any other channel, but apparently it didn't occur to Charlie that he'd be looking at Disney demanding that ABC Family HD is a different channel from ABC Family. In 2005 there was no Disney HD. It began broadcasting on March 19, 2008. ABC Family HD launched around that time also.

In the next go around in negotiations with everyone look for News Corp to refer to FX HD as a separate channel from FX, NBCU to refer to USA HD as a separate channel from USA, etc.

Netflix will look a whole lot better in the future if they can hold their prices down.

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#122 OFFLINE   david_jr

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:42 PM

I've got an idea for a new rule: No content provider can charge extra for any HD channel that does not broadcast 100% HD programming. Bars on the sides don't count, even if they say ESPN in them.

#123 OFFLINE   CoolGui

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 05:50 PM

Did I miss your post singing Dish's praises all the times they've added HD channels and not raised your bill? After all fair's fair here. Now really being fair this is a carriage dispute, happens regularly, company that owns the channels wants more $$$, Dish understandably doesn't want to pay more. As always they'll hash something out sooner or later.


I am not really complaining about the dispute myself, yet... but what is this "not raised your bill".... it gets raised pretty much every year, if you aren't getting that higher bill then you must be special! :)

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#124 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:10 PM

That's true. They didn't have zero costs back in '58 when they went to color. It isn't that I think they have zero costs, it is that I don't see the point of separating contract provisions.

The push for color isn't the same as the push for HD. Color was impressive ... so was adding stereo and sap. Perhaps impressive enough for a channel to charge more for it's carriage. But in 1958? Comparing distribution in 1958 to today is foolish.

HD is TV unless the media conglomerates decide it's something different. What's happening looks a lot like we're going to have "first class and coach" in the TV business.

Already there ... except the HD class isn't paying double as you suggested in your post.

There is value added with the provision of the HD feed. Why shouldn't the providers pass on the cost of that added value?

At least most providers are giving a choice. Or at least they have ... I expect the next round of contract renewals to be "you will pay for and carry our HD signal or you won't get the SD version". That may be happening with WE AMC IFC and Fuse. As SD contracts expire leveraging required HD distribution is logical.

#125 OFFLINE   deepen10

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:40 PM

THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I am FURIOUS RIGHT NOW!

ESPNNEWS HD was there last night, i came this morning and its gone? WTF?

Just waiting for my contract to end in October, so I can leave DISH and their disgraceful service.. I'm either getting FIOS or switching back to cable or maybe even DirecTV

#126 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:51 PM

In the next go around in negotiations with everyone look for News Corp to refer to FX HD as a separate channel from FX, NBCU to refer to USA HD as a separate channel from USA, etc.

But how do you know this hasn't happened already?

From the court decision James posted, Disney flat out told Dish Network they weren't going to receive the HD feeds of the aforementioned channels. It appears Disney wasn't so thrilled Dish Network didn't pay their bills on time.

And think about it: if you think about every HD channel launch, did it coincide with recently negotiated agreements? Or can you second guess that it is possible Dish Network may not have the correct agreement to add certain HD channels?

#127 OFFLINE   RasputinAXP

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:54 PM

THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I am FURIOUS RIGHT NOW!

ESPNNEWS HD was there last night, i came this morning and its gone? WTF?

Just waiting for my contract to end in October, so I can leave DISH and their disgraceful service.. I'm either getting FIOS or switching back to cable or maybe even DirecTV


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#128 OFFLINE   deepen10

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 08:00 PM

Asleep for a week, Rip Van Winkle? :lol:


well I just got on the forums after a while and didn't know they were dropping... but mine didn't go away on the 22nd like the PR said, I was watching ESPNNEWS HD yesterday.. and I had Disney as well. I just noticed they were gone this afternoon.

#129 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 08:45 PM

Unless you've got something magical about your setup... everyone lost these particular HD channels on the same day last week. I can't think of any reason or way you could have still had them yesterday.

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#130 OFFLINE   HDlover

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 08:47 PM

This is the perfect time for Dish to turn espn channels into optional pay channels. I wouldn't pay for them and I'm sure so wouldn't a lot of subscribers. That would get Disney thinking about their greed, that we have no control over, with package programing the only way to buy. Hopefully every provider would follow suit. Paying extra for HD channels is ridiculous. If they want me to watch their channels they have to be HD. All channels should be HD AFAIC. Too bad the FCC didn't mandate it.

#131 OFFLINE   coldsteel

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 09:12 PM

THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I am FURIOUS RIGHT NOW!

ESPNNEWS HD was there last night, i came this morning and its gone? WTF?

Just waiting for my contract to end in October, so I can leave DISH and their disgraceful service.. I'm either getting FIOS or switching back to cable or maybe even DirecTV


Yeah, real disgraceful trying to keep your bill down... :nono2:
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#132 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 11:38 PM

And think about it: if you think about every HD channel launch, did it coincide with recently negotiated agreements?

Of course. Otherwise I wouldn't be grumbling about no AMC HD.

But surely they aren't wording the agreements that there are separate channels with programming called FX SD and FX HD each with it's own price. I'm assuming that News Corp is allowing Dish to deliver the programming on FX in both the SD and HD versions with a sufficient fee to cover both.

My hangup is with the language the court used which apparently is what Disney is asserting:

Defendants license programming networks, consisting of standard definition and high definition programming, to distributors such as EchoStar.

Back in the good old days, we did not talk about color programming and black & white programming depending upon what TV the viewer had. We had programming which some could watch on their color TV in color and some could watch on their black and white TV in black and white.

What disturbs me is that the truth should be stated as follows: "Defendants license networks, consisting of exactly the same programming transmitted in standard definition and high definition, to distributors such as EchoStar."

If then it is argued that Dish's license for ABC Family was only for the SD transmission and it should pay some incremental amount to use the HD transmission, fine! But there is no ABC Family programming and ABC Family HD programming each to be negotiated separately. That language is Orwellian. It's one channel of programming available in SD and HD.

The TV world should be working towards an uniform standard of technology transmitted to everyone - a 16:9 color 1080i (or 720p) 3D capable 5.1 surround sound signal - with the goal of eliminating the SD format.

I don't know why Dish doesn't just tell Disney the only ESPN, Disney and ABC Family channel signals they will pay for is the HD signal. Let's get rid of this double level now. That will save every one money.

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#133 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 03:36 AM

But surely they aren't wording the agreements that there are separate channels with programming called FX SD and FX HD each with it's own price.

The court documents clearly state that the mouse networks contracts apply in that way. Why not FX's channel?

My hangup is with the language the court used which apparently is what Disney is asserting:

Defendants license programming networks, consisting of standard definition and high definition programming, to distributors such as EchoStar.

Back in the good old days, we did not talk about color programming and black & white programming depending upon what TV the viewer had. We had programming which some could watch on their color TV in color and some could watch on their black and white TV in black and white.

And you had a lot less of it! If you are going to live in the past you must completely live in the past ... give up the benefits of all the improvements made over time.

We've come a long way from "what's a rerun" and people having no concept of paying for TV (more than the price of a set and appropriate antenna).

What disturbs me is that the truth should be stated as follows: "Defendants license networks, consisting of exactly the same programming transmitted in standard definition and high definition, to distributors such as EchoStar."

It is not the same. The programming delivered via the programmer's "high definition" network is delivered at a higher quality than the programmer's "standard definition" network.

If then it is argued that Dish's license for ABC Family was only for the SD transmission and it should pay some incremental amount to use the HD transmission, fine! But there is no ABC Family programming and ABC Family HD programming each to be negotiated separately. That language is Orwellian. It's one channel of programming available in SD and HD.

You are believing DISH's interpretation, hook line and sinker. An interpretation built out of pieces from different contracts covering different programming that was clearly rejected by the court.

I don't know why Dish doesn't just tell Disney the only ESPN, Disney and ABC Family channel signals they will pay for is the HD signal. Let's get rid of this double level now. That will save every one money.

It will also remove programming from the majority of the 14 million customers who can't receive a HD feed. DISH doesn't get to create a HD channel by upconverting SD and they don't get to create a SD channel by downconverting HD. They have to deliver what the network provides as provided for in their contract.

#134 OFFLINE   jclewter79

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 06:52 AM

It is true that they cannot alter the signal to SD that they are sending out but, they can downrez a signal at the set-top box. Maybe these crazy prices that they will have to pay out to channel providers will justfy the mpeg4 conversion much sooner than we all though a few weeks ago.
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#135 OFFLINE   TulsaOK

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 06:56 AM

THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I am FURIOUS RIGHT NOW!

ESPNNEWS HD was there last night, i came this morning and its gone? WTF?

Just waiting for my contract to end in October, so I can leave DISH and their disgraceful service.. I'm either getting FIOS or switching back to cable or maybe even DirecTV


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#136 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 07:42 AM

It is true that they cannot alter the signal to SD that they are sending out but, they can downrez a signal at the set-top box. Maybe these crazy prices that they will have to pay out to channel providers will justfy the mpeg4 conversion much sooner than we all though a few weeks ago.

If you have a few billion to spend on replacing working MPEG2 boxes with MPEG4 boxes go for it! The programming fees would be cheaper.

I would also expect providers to have their prices set at "SD Only" and "SD plus HD". Negotiating a HD only price that was less that the "SD plus HD" price may be possible, but I see it as unlikely. Programmers will use ANY excuse to raise their prices. Programmers will use no excuse to raise their prices. It is up to the providers to keep those increases in check.

#137 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 08:40 AM

If then it is argued that Dish's license for ABC Family was only for the SD transmission and it should pay some incremental amount to use the HD transmission, fine! But there is no ABC Family programming and ABC Family HD programming each to be negotiated separately. That language is Orwellian. It's one channel of programming available in SD and HD.

Okay. Let's take that line of reasoning...

Dish Network signed a carriage agreement in 2005 for six SD and two HD feeds of ESPN. Later, they signed a carriage agreement for three SD feeds of ABC Networks, and then another agreement for the SD feed ABC Family.

Dish Network SIGNED the contracts. Later, Disney told Dish Network in no uncertain terms that Dish Network would not be carrying HD programming for the four HD channels that were disputed. Obviously feeling jilted, Dish Network sued Disney and carried them anyway. In an absolute rout, Dish Network has been ordered to pay $65 million and has been told that those channels are not under contract.

So the simple reminder here is that "Orwellian contract" is the one Dish Network signed, and if they didn't like it, they should have tried to renegotiate with Disney in order to get what they wanted. Dish Network was told no, you can't have those channels so they decided to do what they wanted and to go the lawsuit route, and see where that ended up?

It appears to me that if rates are to be kept in check, that Dish Network shouldn't be foolhardy when it comes to trying to get what they want. Dish Network is now in a bit of a conundrum, as their press release over the matter plays the victim card by telling everyone that they have this wonderful HD for Life package and that Disney's pricing is too much. They've been carrying it for free until the court decided that Dish Network must pay.

I don't know why Dish doesn't just tell Disney the only ESPN, Disney and ABC Family channel signals they will pay for is the HD signal. Let's get rid of this double level now. That will save every one money.

Even with the argument made by James regarding the fact that there are still SD receivers out there, there are just way too may assumptions...

1) that Dish Network has enough clout to demand Disney do anything
2) that a contract for HD only would cost less than the current HD and SD contracts
3, and most importantly) that any savings in costs will be passed along to consumers

I seem to recall this year that Dish Network was touting they weren't raising rates on their programming packages. They then changed their secondary receiver rates and that took the form of a rather substantial increase for anyone with more than two receivers. And now they are raising their programming rates.

Edited by Greg Bimson, 29 June 2010 - 08:46 AM.


#138 OFFLINE   tsmacro

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 09:05 AM

I am not really complaining about the dispute myself, yet... but what is this "not raised your bill".... it gets raised pretty much every year, if you aren't getting that higher bill then you must be special! :)


Just pointing out that it's kind of ridiculous to expect a credit whenever there's a carriage dispute and a few channels are pulled, if that were the case we should also expect a rate increase as soon as any new HD is added and obviously that's just not how it works.


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#139 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 09:15 AM

Note that the $65 million over two years and 14 million customers paying monthly is about 2c per month per DISH subscriber. (Yes, that includes non-HD subs but it also includes interest due to DISH's lack of timely payment.)

I realize 2c/5c/10c per channel adds up ... but I don't believe we're looking at ground shattering prices for HD.

#140 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 09:20 AM

... we should also expect a rate increase as soon as any new HD is added and obviously that's just not how it works.

When was the last time the price of HD was raised? DISH has taken some channels out of the original $10.00 package but they have added a lot more than have been moved to Platinum HD.

I remember when $9.99 got you five channels, and the opportunity to see HBO and/or Showtime (if you subscribed to AEP or the premium packages). Now $10 can give you a lot more.




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