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Sticky thread for programming contracts?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   YakeVlad

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:38 AM

Programming contract disputes and potential blackouts are becoming more common these days. Every time another one flares up, people become concerned with the expiration of contracts with other media companies too. In the Viacom dispute for example, people start posting questions about when the Disney/ABC contract is up. Variety of answers are posted with most being inaccurate and confusion ensues. Not to mention the fact that they're taking the thread for the current dispute off topic.

I know that it won't completely alleviate the problem, but would it be possible for one of the moderators to compile a list of the programming contracts with their current expiration dates and create a locked sticky thread for everyone to reference?

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#2 OFFLINE   Kevin F

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:42 AM

Certainly a great idea.


However, most companies don't release dates regarding when their contracts expire in fear of loosing customers towards those dates.

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#3 OFFLINE   maartena

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:54 AM

Would be a good idea, but the moderators don't know much beyond what we can spy on Google.

From news articles I know the following:

Due to expire by the end of this year:

- Discovery Communications.
- CBS.

Recently negotiated:

- AMC Networks. (2011)
- Fox. (2011)

Unknown/Guessed:

- The only public record I found re: Disney was their negotiation in 2003. If they negotiated for a 10 year contract, that would put the date on 2013. However, it would be very likely that a contract was signed for less than that in 2003, and the negotiations were quickly fruitful when they were conducted a number of years later and not publicly acknowledged. I do know, however, that Comcast in January signed a 10 year deal with Disney, so it is not uncommon to have long contracts.

Also, there are many, many contract deals. Small independent stations, thousands of locals owned by probably dozens, if not hundreds of companies, DirecTV probably has a "carriage agreement department" just dealing with all of this stuff. Only every so often they fail to get a deal and the public mudslinging begins.

It would probably become an outdated thread pretty quickly if not being kept up constantly, and most of the negotiations are just not interesting to most people. I mean, if you do not live in Podunk, ND, and a small company controlling 1 local there is re-negotiating with DirecTV, do you really care?

Edited by maartena, 23 July 2012 - 10:19 AM.
Changed year for FOX

[Disclaimer] The definition of "soon" is based solely on DirecTV's interpretation of the word, and all similarities with dictionary definitions of the word "soon" are purely coincidental and should not be interpreted as a time frame that will come to pass within a reasonable amount of time.

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#4 ONLINE   stoutman

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:03 AM

Discovery answers the BBC HD question.

#5 OFFLINE   TheRatPatrol

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:09 AM

Recently negotiated:

- AMC Networks. (2011)
- Fox. (2010)

I thought Fox got renewed October 2011, or have I lost track of time and it's been almost two years? I do remember it got settled on Halloween

#6 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:10 AM

Discovery answers the BBC HD question.

This ill-advisedly assumes that content is necessarily added as a result of an updated agreement. DIRECTV's careful avoidance of Epix in the Viacom agreement is evidence that this is flawed thinking.

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#7 OFFLINE   maartena

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:17 AM

Discovery answers the BBC HD question.


No, actually, it doesn't.

BBC America is not owned by Discovery Communications, but by BBC Worldwide. What BBC Worldwide has done, instead of buying all their own technology etc, is make a deal with Discovery Communications to use their already-in-place technology to supply feeds to all the different cable and satellite companies.

However, Discovery Communication does not own BBC America, and as such cannot speak for them. DirecTV needs to talk to BBC Worldwide to iron out contract details re: BBC America.

This also means that if there is a dispute between DirecTV and Discovery, that BBC America won't go black.

Vice versa, I do believe that Discovery Communication also leverage the BBC infrastructure through a similar kind of deal to carry their European counterparts of Discovery Channel etc on the European ASTRA satellites.
[Disclaimer] The definition of "soon" is based solely on DirecTV's interpretation of the word, and all similarities with dictionary definitions of the word "soon" are purely coincidental and should not be interpreted as a time frame that will come to pass within a reasonable amount of time.

I am the Stig.

#8 OFFLINE   maartena

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:18 AM

I thought Fox got renewed October 2011, or have I lost track of time and it's been almost two years? I do remember it got settled on Halloween


No, you are right it was 2011.
[Disclaimer] The definition of "soon" is based solely on DirecTV's interpretation of the word, and all similarities with dictionary definitions of the word "soon" are purely coincidental and should not be interpreted as a time frame that will come to pass within a reasonable amount of time.

I am the Stig.

#9 OFFLINE   YakeVlad

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:06 AM

Also, there are many, many contract deals. Small independent stations, thousands of locals owned by probably dozens, if not hundreds of companies, DirecTV probably has a "carriage agreement department" just dealing with all of this stuff. Only every so often they fail to get a deal and the public mudslinging begins.

It would probably become an outdated thread pretty quickly if not being kept up constantly, and most of the negotiations are just not interesting to most people. I mean, if you do not live in Podunk, ND, and a small company controlling 1 local there is re-negotiating with DirecTV, do you really care?


I agree that keeping track of all the lil agreements would be overwhelming. I should have been more specific in my initial post and refined the definition to keeping it to just the national content.

I don't think keeping it up to date would be that big of a deal. It would only need to be updated when a new contract is signed and there are a limited number of national channel media conglomerates to begin with. We have some great folks like Sixto providing threads which are updated on a nearly daily basis, this I would think to be substantially less effort to maintain.

#10 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:24 AM

We also need to be careful that someone doesn't misconstrue a contract end date as a threat to lose the channels. Like with Discovery, the chances are fairly great that it will be renewed without so much as a blip.

#11 OFFLINE   maartena

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:56 AM

I don't think keeping it up to date would be that big of a deal.


Are you volunteering? :D

Also, how "national" is a dispute like the one between Tribune and DirecTV in May this year? It involved 23 channels, 19 markets, only ONE national channel (WGN), but got plenty of attention when LiL's got blacked out, which was a much bigger deal in those 19 markets than losing the one national WGN channel.

So, where does one draw the line? There are disputes that would involve a quarter of the nation in dozens of LiL's, could draw national media attention, but have no national channels whatsoever. Is that one more/less important than a small broadcaster that has e.g. only 1 national channel on DirecTV?

Edited by maartena, 23 July 2012 - 12:05 PM.

[Disclaimer] The definition of "soon" is based solely on DirecTV's interpretation of the word, and all similarities with dictionary definitions of the word "soon" are purely coincidental and should not be interpreted as a time frame that will come to pass within a reasonable amount of time.

I am the Stig.

#12 OFFLINE   YakeVlad

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 11:28 AM

Are you volunteering? :D


I'd be willing to help research the info and assist in keeping the info up to date. But, creating and editing the thread itself is a moderator/admin function. I haven't been around long enough nor active enough in the forums to have earned such privilege.

Also, how "national" is a dispute like the one between Tribune and DirecTV in May this year? It involved 23 channels, 19 markets, only ONE national channel (WGN), but got plenty of attention when LiL's got blacked out, which was a much bigger deal in those 19 markets than losing the one national WGN channel.

So, where does one draw the line? There are disputes that would involve a quarter of the nation in dozens of LiL's, could draw national media attention, but have no national channels whatsoever. Is that one more/less important than a small broadcaster that has e.g. only 1 national channel on DirecTV?


Yeah, I remember the Tribune dispute and one a year or two ago with Sinclair Broadcasting. They're both pretty experienced at slinging mud at providers, Sinclair especially.

You make some good points, but your example creates a slippery slope. Drawing the line could be a tricky prospect if the determining factor is not tied to the break between nationals and LiLs. As your example illustrates media companies owning local affiliates often do so in multiple markets and their impact can have an effect on large portions of the country. But, they don't affect the entire DirecTV US customer base. And where would you draw the line? Number of stations owned greater than X? Number of customers affected? Geographic distribution? Hence my suggestion of restricting it by the national/LiL line. But, I'm open to ideas and if anyone can come with the something better I'm all for it.

#13 OFFLINE   maartena

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:35 PM

I think the biggest problem you will be facing with a thread like this, is there is always missing information, and it will need to be updated constantly. Additionally, I don't know where to get the information from. I guess one could look at each channel in the DirecTV lineup, see who its owner is, and then start creating an overview of which companies have national channels, 1 or more, and then do the Google research for each of those companies to find out whether the media has said anything about a new carriage agreement.
[Disclaimer] The definition of "soon" is based solely on DirecTV's interpretation of the word, and all similarities with dictionary definitions of the word "soon" are purely coincidental and should not be interpreted as a time frame that will come to pass within a reasonable amount of time.

I am the Stig.




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