Agreed -- the .05/sub thing really doesn't make sense. Hell, I'd pay an extra $1 a month to subsidize my share of Dish customers who value their nickles.
Again, though, there is so much information we don't have.
I assume BTN was asking for more money. In fact, that has to be the case. The question is, how much? And was it reasonable? Is Dish's claim that BTN wanted 1/3 more than its deal with other providers true? It seems hard to believe -- why would BTN want more from Dish? I doubt Dish is using a true apples to apples comparison when making that claim. It's not in BTN's interest to just screw with Dish.
If BTN's product outgrew the previous price Dish was paying, then I would expect BTN (or any company in its situation) not to agree to extend the current deal indefinitely. If it did that, Dish would have no incentive to reach a new deal and would, in essence, get the benefit of the old, outdated price indefinitely. So I don't know who's really to blame regarding the blackout.
To me, it all comes down to reasonableness. Was the rate increase that BTN demanded reasonable? As to this, I have no idea.
I care about BTN a teeny, tiny little bit. I can imagine a snowy Saturday when I'd like to watch a Gophers game and missing it because of this. Or a basketball game, if they're playing well. But otherwise, forget about it.
I think the reason everyone assumes BTN is to blame is because they are publicly insisting that they are not to blame. And because their complaints do not say, "We offered to continue providing our programming to the same packages at the same rates and Dish said no." In other words, BTN has demanded an increase, and there's no reason to think Dish would turn down a reasonable (under 5 cents/sub) request. If the numbers were that low, BTN would be announcing it loudly.
DirecTV does seem to settle these things quite quickly. The Viacom thing was quite surprising when it happened. But if you look, DirecTV is also more expensive for identical programming than Dish, and that is in part because DirecTV errs on the side of programming over price. Dish holds the line hard on price and is willing to kiss unreasonable programmers goodbye. In essence, Dish is doing the heavy lifting of keeping prices down.