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DirecTV adds local sports surcharge for some new subscribers


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#1 OFFLINE   Spoonman27

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:58 PM

DirecTV adds local sports surcharge for some new subscribers

http://www.latimes.c...,0,453876.story


DirecTV is trying a new way to sell regional sports networks (Dan Krauss / December 10, 2012)
By Joe Flint

December 10, 2012, 10:59 a.m.

Satellite broadcaster DirecTV has quietly added a surcharge to some customers for sports channels separately on several of its most popular programming packages.

New DirecTV subscribers who live in areas where there are more than one regional sports network (Los Angeles has four -- News Corp.'s Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West and Time Warner Cable's SportsNet and Deportes) and want those channels are being asked to pay a monthly surcharge of $3. That fee is on top of whatever portion of the costs of the channels DirecTV passes on to its customers.

DirecTV has installed the surcharge on four of its packages, including Choice and Choice Plus. The surcharge started in September. A spokesman for the company said only about 20% of the markets around the country have more than one regional sports network -- although that number is on the rise as Comcast, News Corp. and Time Warner Cable increasingly turn to sports to develop new channels.

The move is significant because even though it is only for new DirecTV subscribers and only used in areas where there are multiple local sports channels, it could be seen as a first step toward selling sports channels separately. Sports channels account for a large chunk of cable bills as the rights to games continue to skyrocket. DirecTV has also tested this approach with some current subscribers as well, the spokesman said.

Companies that DirecTV's move will affect include News Corp.'s Fox Sports unit, Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp. All three are players in the regional sports network game. In Los Angeles, Time Warner Cable recently launched two channels and landed the rights to the Lakers in an effort to compete against News Corp.'s channels here.

DirecTV's shift will likely be met with a backlash by those companies. One executive at a sports programmer who was not authorized to speak on the record said this is an attempt by DirecTV to paint regional sports networks "as the bad guys."

A DirecTV spokesman said the surcharge "only covers a small portion of the cost DirecTV is paying sports programmers to carry" the regional sports networks.

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#2 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 02:14 PM

A $2 surcharge was announced late last year as part of the 2012 pricing structure.

This $3 bump is going to have many wondering if it is all worth it.

Does it go to $3.50 or $4 if they add PAC-12???

What misfortune will trigger long-time subscribers having to pay?

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#3 OFFLINE   JoeTheDragon

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:45 PM

A $2 surcharge was announced late last year as part of the 2012 pricing structure.

This $3 bump is going to have many wondering if it is all worth it.

Does it go to $3.50 or $4 if they add PAC-12???

What misfortune will trigger long-time subscribers having to pay?


fixed at $3 or a range?

Now it may go up if pac-12 becomes RSN like.
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#4 OFFLINE   Joe Spears

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:54 PM

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#5 OFFLINE   hbg ota nut

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:55 AM

So does this mean that despite my lack of primary RSN (the CSN whose name shall not be mentioned), but because I have alternates of MASN, FSP, and CSN-MA, I would be surcharged if I was a new customer?

#6 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:16 AM

fixed at $3 or a range?

Now it may go up if pac-12 becomes RSN like.

Assuming that DIRECTV comes to an agreement with PAC-12 Networks.

What separates PAC-12 from qualifying as an RSN?

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#7 OFFLINE   hbg ota nut

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:22 AM

Assuming that DIRECTV comes to an agreement with PAC-12 Networks.

What separates PAC-12 from qualifying as an RSN?


Isn't BTN the precedent?

#8 OFFLINE   woj027

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:33 AM

Assuming that DIRECTV comes to an agreement with PAC-12 Networks.

What separates PAC-12 from qualifying as an RSN?


So, Do you think we should get a $3 rebate up here in Oregon/Wash since we don't have 2 RSN's? (CSN-NW and Pac-12 nets)

#9 OFFLINE   jdspencer

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:51 AM

Can you opt out of the RSNs if you wanted to?
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#10 OFFLINE   tampa8

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

No, that's the what all the discussion has been about with RSN's, if you could there wouldn't be as much of a problem. And this is not the first instance of this with Direct TV, they have been doing it for quite sometime now in an area that gets the NY RSN's as well as other ones.

I posted a long time ago (I think in the other forum) that Dish and Direct would take one of two roads because the way it is now is not going to be viable. Either not carry the expensive RSN's, and carry no more than a couple maybe three per city, (Which is what Dish pretty much does) or make everyone in the DMA pay more than other parts of the Country and carry virtually all the RSN's and sports which is what Direct TV started many months ago. Direct TV learned what Dish realized, you can carry all these and keep the cost the same. Something has to give.

Edited by tampa8, 11 December 2012 - 03:27 PM.


#11 OFFLINE   zimm7778

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:11 PM

Can you opt out of the RSNs if you wanted to?


No and that's wrong. It is one thing if its part of a base package. Entirely another if as a national distributor charging the same thing to everyone you turn around and tell some you have to pay more and it's for something many don't want and didn't ask for. Want to charge extra, fine. But those who don't want it should be able to opt out of the channels and the fee.

#12 OFFLINE   WebTraveler

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:59 PM

I think it was just a matter of time before this happened. To LA area customers they ought to put it right on the bill as the Laker Surcharge to let them know that's what this represents. Customers can take their anger out at the Lakers rather than Directv if they market it correctly.

Now it's marketed to new customers only, so the sign up promos will need to include some language calling for it to cover legal/advertising issues. But for the first year or two folks may not quite pay for it. It's when the promos wear off will it be noticed.

#13 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:25 AM

So, Do you think we should get a $3 rebate up here in Oregon/Wash since we don't have 2 RSN's? (CSN-NW and Pac-12 nets)

DIRECTV has blessed you with their own Root. That most other providers offer additional regional sports coverage doesn't seem to bother DIRECTV. This suggests that either they know they are justified or that they have lost sight of their reputation.

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#14 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:27 AM

Can you opt out of the RSNs if you wanted to?

No. You can only downgrade to the package that doesn't include them (Entertainment).

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#15 OFFLINE   Satelliteracer

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:39 AM

Can you opt out of the RSNs if you wanted to?


Contractually no, that's the problem. The RSNs are forcing mass distribution into most base packages. Directv can't sell Choice, or Xtra or Ultimate, etc, without including the RSNs. That's the rub. As such, because these RSNs are driving so much cost in areas where there are multiple RSNs the fee is there to claw back some of those costs (it doesn't claw them all back, not even close). The option is to subscribe to Entertainment or something like Family if you don't want the RSNs.


80% of the customers are not impacted by this right now. L.A. and New York are the two areas most impacted and then there are pockets elsewhere based on the various zip codes and the requirements to distribute that programming into those zip codes.
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#16 OFFLINE   Satelliteracer

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:40 AM

So, Do you think we should get a $3 rebate up here in Oregon/Wash since we don't have 2 RSN's? (CSN-NW and Pac-12 nets)


Pac 12 is not a RSN, just as the Big Ten Network is not a RSN and neither was the Mtn. West channel when it was around.

You're not being charged a RSN fee in your area.
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#17 OFFLINE   Barcthespark

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:15 AM

Contractually no, that's the problem. The RSNs are forcing mass distribution into most base packages. Directv can't sell Choice, or Xtra or Ultimate, etc, without including the RSNs. That's the rub. As such, because these RSNs are driving so much cost in areas where there are multiple RSNs the fee is there to claw back some of those costs (it doesn't claw them all back, not even close). The option is to subscribe to Entertainment or something like Family if you don't want the RSNs.


80% of the customers are not impacted by this right now. L.A. and New York are the two areas most impacted and then there are pockets elsewhere based on the various zip codes and the requirements to distribute that programming into those zip codes.


I understand what you are saying, but with all due respect, can the RSNs really force D* into mass distribution? Can't D* refuse that stipulation during contract negotiations?

#18 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:42 AM

I understand what you are saying, but with all due respect, can the RSNs really force D* into mass distribution? Can't D* refuse that stipulation during contract negotiations?


They can. And then they get into a dispute and may never get the rsn. Distribution levels are very important to RSNs. More important than the cost to the provider it would appear.

Directv, Dish, Verizon, Comcast et al have to walk a thin line between not having a channel and paying too much.

For now, directv is passing some of the excess charge on in select markets. The jury is out on if it will be a successful strategy or not.
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#19 OFFLINE   n3ntj

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:10 PM

There was actually an article about this in the Philly paper today.. I bet the guys at Comcrap are laughing at this... (not that they weren't aware of it before).
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#20 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:48 PM

There was actually an article about this in the Philly paper today.. I bet the guys at Comcrap are laughing at this... (not that they weren't aware of it before).


Yes because Comcast charges the same to every customer in every location.
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