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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Viacom channels on the chopping block again tonight!


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31 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Chris Blount

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 06:58 AM

Both sides of the programming carriage skirmish between EchoStar and Viacom apparently are still talking about a deal. But documents - recently sent to the California federal court considering EchoStar's request for a restraining order to prevent Viacom from taking away its content - revealed some of negotiation's background.

According to a statement filed with the court from Michael Schwimmer, EchoStar's vice president of programming, the satellite TV company wanted to negotiate carriage of Viacom's broadcast stations and cable programming separately. EchoStar did not want to talk about carriage of a new programming service - Nicktoons - a network Viacom apparently wanted to place on DISH Network, the filing said.

Also, Viacom reportedly wanted a three-year extension of the current term for three networks - TVLand, CMT and Spike TV - from the current end date in 2005, the filing said.

The statement from Schwimmer said Viacom used its exclusive broadcast rights to the upcoming Super Bowl to pressure EchoStar to acquiesce to its demands. "EchoStar's inability to provide its subscribers with the Super Bowl would exacerbate even further the grave injury that EchoStar would sustain by not being able to carry CBS's stations at any other time of the year," the statement said.

On Monday, EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen sounded upbeat on the talks. The extended deadline for negotiations expires tonight.

http://www.skyreport.com
---------------------------------------------------
If the talks don't succeed and there are no more extensions, these are the channels that are likely to go off the air on Dish Network except for maybe SpikeTV and a few others.

http://www.cjr.org/t...ners/viacom.asp

...Ads Help To Support This SIte...

#2 OFFLINE   JohnH

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 08:03 AM

All of the takedown preparations appear to be still there as last week.

#3 OFFLINE   scottchez

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 08:37 AM

For Newbies-

What JohnH means is all the remapped channels are all in place so when the channel is turned off you will see a special message from charlie.

#4 OFFLINE   EchoDork

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 08:39 AM

From the insider perspective, they've been running on a policy of mandatory overtime for all employees for months now (they pull this crap every year... hiring freeze around October, keep personnel costs low for the holidays, show the stockholders some good yearly numbers, then hire at triple speed come January). This week, they're talking about doubling the amount of overtime employees will be required to work. They're gearing up the call centers for a nuclear explosion of calls if the Viacom channels go down.

What this means for the customer is, the CSRs are going to be that much bitchier than normal if Viacom goes. Not only will life be miserable at the call center, but all the employees will be served a double helping of work on their days off to boot. My advice: Don't even call unless you have already decided firmly to cancel service. You won't be satisfied with how your issue is handled. The CSRs will have no idea what the status of the talks is, they'll have no information on possible compensation, and they'll be unable to get any information because the company doesn't tell the employees what's going on.

Did you know that the company hasn't even internally announced that they're in this situation? Employees who don't follow the news have absolutely no idea what's going on and why there's talk of double overtime. If the channels go down, these CSRs will literally walk in to work and read a one-paragraph blurb about it, then spit that information back at callers verbatim.

So, who wants to know why I quit my job there? :hurah:

#5 OFFLINE   tampa8

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 08:59 AM

These are high stakes decisions being made. Dish MUST hold it's ground on this or you will see rates rise like never before. What happens if Dish agrees with these demands for VIACOM? Who's next to demand you carry some new network or lose all the others. What if YES was part of VIACOM and they demanded it be carried - and that it be carried in a package only, not as a premium or lose all other VIACOM networks? (As YES has demanded - to be in a package) It seems the concern of the FCC and others that Dish and Direct merged would be bad does not extend to the content providers. Recently part of the agreement to let Murdoch take control of Direct TV was that Direct could not make threats to take programming off when contracts expire to blackmail the networks. Seems to me it should have been the other way around also.

We should be supporting Dish or anyone who is standing up to escalating costs. Viacom is well aware that if they succeed, and prices rise, they will not take the brunt of the public outcry, it will be Dish, Direct, and Cable. That Direct and Cable don't make stands (normally) as this is the real problem. (one recent exception was some of Cable standing up to YES) Charlie's purpose is to make money. I am not really saying he is doing this just for us. He makes more money by keeping costs down, then charging what the market will bear. But in the long run it does help to keep our final cost down also. Perhaps that new receiver that we really should be paying $200 for to recoup costs, can now be sold for $149 because programming costs were kept realistic.

#6 OFFLINE   Scott Greczkowski

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 09:03 AM

Man I can't believe they are fighting this much just because Dish does not want to add Nicktoons to its lineup (and pay extra for NickTunes)

#7 OFFLINE   tampa8

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 09:04 AM

Man I can't believe they are fighting this much just because Dish does not want to add Nicktoons to its lineup (and pay extra for NickTunes)


Scott, I respectfully disagree as posted above.

#8 Guest_FreddyJoe_*

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 10:21 AM

BINGO. I just love it when Charlie keeps my rates low. The fact that my bill was reduced by $1.01 a month makes me want to use those savings to buy a new home.
Oh, wait a minute. I forgot. He RAISED my rates. Damn.
Charlie is doing such a good job with my rates.
I just hope he doesn't hurt his arm patting himself on his back.

#9 OFFLINE   Neutron

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 10:45 AM

I feel bad for the AEP people who have taking the blunt of the price increases. Stuff like this makes me NOT want to invest more in the satellite service.

#10 OFFLINE   dmodemd

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 11:19 AM

A very important lesson I learned when running my own software business is that there is a group of people who, when they want something, will just buy everything you have to offer, with the cost being very unimportant to them. I guess these are called "rich people".

So it is important to have ever increasing "deluxe" packages of things to sell, that may not have a lot of value but appear to have everything in them at a bulk savings. People will just go and buy the everything pak without a thought, and a few extra bucks here or there won't even phase them. They won't even notice when their bill changes.

If you need to raise rates, thats the best place to do it. Not at the person paying $19.99 a month who is watching that bill every month trying to keep track of every dollar they are spending to make ends meet.

Lee

#11 OFFLINE   Bobby94928

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 12:15 PM

A very important lesson I learned when running my own software business is that there is a group of people who, when they want something, will just buy everything you have to offer, with the cost being very unimportant to them. I guess these are called "rich people".

So it is important to have ever increasing "deluxe" packages of things to sell, that may not have a lot of value but appear to have everything in them at a bulk savings. People will just go and buy the everything pak without a thought, and a few extra bucks here or there won't even phase them. They won't even notice when their bill changes.

If you need to raise rates, thats the best place to do it. Not at the person paying $19.99 a month who is watching that bill every month trying to keep track of every dollar they are spending to make ends meet.

Lee


I guess I'm one of the "rich people." :lol: I do happen to watch my billing however. I just got my bill yesterday and noticed that I was being charged for an extra receiver, my turned off 4900 that was replaced by an 811. I made a phone call and all is well.

I'm wondering if the movie channels associated with AEP have anything to do with the $3.00 rise. Last year, HBO brought it up an extra dollar. That was broad brush, for everyone. I guess we'll just have to see what the price of HBO, for example, will be next month compared to this month.
Bobby C

#12 OFFLINE   tampa8

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 12:27 PM

FreddyJoe, you are exactly the reason why Charlie is doing a pretty good job on this. If you can take the time to post that a $1.01 is so bad, I can only imagine what you would post if he raised it more. And dmodemd has it exactly correct. The lower priced items tend to have smaller increases when the company is doing a good job for the reasons he stated, and for the so called "loss leader" effect. I will remind everyone that Direct TV was deeply in the Red, and is one of the reasons it sought an investor or was ready to be bought out. They kept rates low to compete, but did not do what Charlie is doing. As I posted above, he is not doing it just for us, but we are getting a lower cost whether you can see it or not.

#13 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 12:27 PM

Man I can't believe they are fighting this much just because Dish does not want to add Nicktoons to its lineup (and pay extra for NickTunes)

There is more to it than that, but it sure looks bad to be arguing against NickToons when they have said in the past they were in negotiations. Apparently they have been negotiating to not have it forced on their system, even though it is a good family channel that has customer requests.

JL

#14 OFFLINE   EchoDork

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 01:08 PM

E* isn't necessarily arguing against NickToons per se. From what I understand, Viacom is demanding that E* not only carry NickToons, but carry it in the AT60 pack (correct me if I'm wrong here). What Charlie is arguing against is the concept that providers should be the ones to determine where their channels are placed in a provider's lineup. What's next, HBO pulling out if E* doesn't put HBO Latino in the AT120?

As for FreddyJoe's comments... prices go up. It's called inflation. It happens with almost every product you buy, every year, without fail. It's stupid that E*'s advertising campaign revolves around this ridiculous pig commercial, especially when they turn around and raise rates themselves. But $12.12 a year isn't going to break you. Get your boss to take you to McDonalds twice a year to make up for it if you feel bad ;)

#15 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 01:27 PM

I will remind everyone that Direct TV was deeply in the Red, and is one of the reasons it sought an investor or was ready to be bought out. They kept rates low to compete, but did not do what Charlie is doing.

Not quite.

The reason an investor was sought was so that the prior owner, GM, could place the proceeds of the sale back into their pension fund.

Also untrue is that DirecTV was deeply in the red. True, DirecTV has more expenses that offset revenues. DirecTV wasn't the problem as much as the parent company, Hughes. Money losing ventures under Hughes included Telocity (which became DirecTV DSL) and DirecTV Latin America, which may have recently come out of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

It was revealed that DirecTV actually pays less per subscriber for general programming than Echostar. Therefore, the real problem DirecTV has been facing is rising expenses elsewhere. That is why it is generally expected that DirecTV will be doing a round of major cost-cutting over the next year.

#16 OFFLINE   willy

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 01:45 PM

BINGO. I just love it when Charlie keeps my rates low. The fact that my bill was reduced by $1.01 a month makes me want to use those savings to buy a new home.
Oh, wait a minute. I forgot. He RAISED my rates. Damn.
Charlie is doing such a good job with my rates.
I just hope he doesn't hurt his arm patting himself on his back.



MAN what a bunch of whiney little brats on here. WHA WHA WHA I have to pay $2 a month more WHA WHA WHA CHARLIE stinks WHA WHA.

I'd bet you'd raise hell if your EMPLOYER gave you your same reaction when it came time for a yearly raise or cost-of-living increase. COSTS RISE EVERY YEAR PEOPLE.

And you know what? The rates are going up. Period. STOP YOUR WHINING. It WONT make them go down. You just look like a baby. Suck it up, or switch to D* or cable or whatever (and suffer the same problem wherever you go). ITs getting sooooooo old to hear people for weeks now complaining about the friggin 1 or 2 or whatever dollars the rates are going up. If you took the hour you spent on this forum and worked an extra hour you'd make enough for a whole year of rate increase and you'd save us all from reading this redundant crap.

#17 OFFLINE   shilton

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 02:26 PM

There is more to it than that, but it sure looks bad to be arguing against NickToons when they have said in the past they were in negotiations. Apparently they have been negotiating to not have it forced on their system, even though it is a good family channel that has customer requests.

JL

Perhaps there is more, but admittedly it does not look favorable on Dish at this point when people have been looking for "a bone" on new channels and requests are made for Nicktoons, PBS Kids, Trio, Oxygen, etc and all we get is BINGO TV??? What the heck is that? Perhaps its different on the inside but looking from the outside, it appears to me that Charlie and his crew are going to add whatever channels they please as long as they are CHEAP and the heck with what we are really asking for.

Granted, the increase I see may only be $1.00 but what gets me is my cost goes up $1.00 while persons in lower priced packages see no increase at all and meanwhile not only are new channels not being added, but Dish is actually fighting to NOT add them and they may be losing like a quarter of their programming (at least for a while).

I ask you, if the Viacom's go off tonight, are we getting a credit on our bill till they get back up? I bet not!!!

#18 OFFLINE   willy

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 02:31 PM


Granted, the increase I see may only be $1.00 but what gets me is my cost goes up $1.00 while persons in lower priced packages see no increase at all and meanwhile not only are new channels not being added, but Dish is actually fighting to NOT add them and they may be losing like a quarter of their programming (at least for a while).


Same argument I go through with taxes. "The rich people can afford it." Its the thinking that if you can afford the AEP or A180, you can afford the $1 increase or whatever. I agree, that biased increase is certainly not fair. Just like voting in an election, you can vote here by cancelling your dish membership.

#19 OFFLINE   dbronstein

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 03:46 PM

Just like voting in an election, you can vote here by cancelling your dish membership.


Exactly. If you don't like how things are run, then just leave already. I don't see anything in the constitution that guarantees the right to cheap satellite TV.

#20 Guest_Earl Zuberbelt_*

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 05:10 PM

Both sides of the programming carriage skirmish between EchoStar and Viacom apparently are still talking about a deal. But documents - recently sent to the California federal court considering EchoStar's request for a restraining order to prevent Viacom from taking away its content - revealed some of negotiation's background.

According to a statement filed with the court from Michael Schwimmer, EchoStar's vice president of programming, the satellite TV company wanted to negotiate carriage of Viacom's broadcast stations and cable programming separately. EchoStar did not want to talk about carriage of a new programming service - Nicktoons - a network Viacom apparently wanted to place on DISH Network, the filing said.

Also, Viacom reportedly wanted a three-year extension of the current term for three networks - TVLand, CMT and Spike TV - from the current end date in 2005, the filing said.

The statement from Schwimmer said Viacom used its exclusive broadcast rights to the upcoming Super Bowl to pressure EchoStar to acquiesce to its demands. "EchoStar's inability to provide its subscribers with the Super Bowl would exacerbate even further the grave injury that EchoStar would sustain by not being able to carry CBS's stations at any other time of the year," the statement said.

On Monday, EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen sounded upbeat on the talks. The extended deadline for negotiations expires tonight.

http://www.skyreport.com
---------------------------------------------------
If the talks don't succeed and there are no more extensions, these are the channels that are likely to go off the air on Dish Network except for maybe SpikeTV and a few others.

http://www.cjr.org/t...ners/viacom.asp


I'd be surprised if they don't get a deal, not as much Superbowl but the February ratings period is a couple of weeks off.

Losing 9-million households would have an impact on overall rating/share and the February book is 2nd only to November. Local affiliates would be impacted significantly.

Although I'd hate to be answering phones at Echoville in case CBS does go off.

But I don't look at this anywhere near being the end of the world.




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