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ESPN Ordered to Pay Dish Network $4.86 Million for Breach of Contract


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#41 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:10 PM

No one wants to pay for the channels they don't watch. I'd drop down a tier in my package, but there is one freakin' channel in the tier I'm in that is a "must have" for us, so I end up paying for a bunch of channels we never watch.

We all pay for channels we never watch and Dish's programming packages do offer a good set of options. Here's how I view the list, however:

Welcome Pack $19.99
Smart Pack $29.99
Dish America $39.99
America's Top 120 $49.99 (includes four ESPN channels)
America's Top 120+ $59.99
America's Top 200 $64.99
America's Top 250 $74.99
America's Everything Pak $119.99

I dropped two levels to AT120 when Dish and AMC were fighting because the only channel left in AT200 that I really wanted was BBCA and it isn't worth $15 a month (and AMC now appears in AT120).

The problem is the AT120 package costs (rounded) $50 a month and it appears that the ESPN channels represent 15%± of the cost. Add Disney to that and I and many others start to grimace because it appears that ESPN/Disney represents half the price difference between the Smart Pack and AT120.

IMHO as the pricing for ESPN climbs, at some point one has to say the ESPN channels should be in the AT120+ package. And it would be ok if access to the Disney channels were to start there to create a combined household desire to spend the extra money.

Of course, I don't like the package structures. I advocate having the cable/satellite signal carriers be like the phone company or ISP - have them sell you access and equipment for a monthly fee. Then you buy packages or channel access that the media companies decide to create and offer. It would set up true competition between the media companies and honest competition between the signal carriers. In that scenario the media companies would have to compete for your dollar by creating desirable and affordable content. And so would content production companies whether they were the NFL or Chuck Lorre Productions.

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#42 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:42 PM

The only problem with that, as I see it, is it only saves you money if you hardly watch any TV.

You can buy/rent TV shows and movies via iTunes and other online services... but TV shows usually cost a few dollars per episode.

IF you only watch a couple of shows, you might save money... but what if you watch more?

The amount of TV shows I watch every week... I couldn't afford to pay per episode at several dollars per show. I would pay WAY more if I had to pay per show... so I hope we never get there.

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#43 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 06:34 AM

The only problem with that, as I see it, is it only saves you money if you hardly watch any TV.

You can buy/rent TV shows and movies via iTunes and other online services... but TV shows usually cost a few dollars per episode.


Actually, OTA is what makes streaming a lucrative option for the non-sports viewer. The majority of what gets watched is not the cable programming but the major network programming. In my area, sure, I'd lose access to Nick at Nite, but I still have ThisTV, which has plenty of classic television. I'd lose access to TLC, but I'd have PBS Create. So the real issue is, how much of the real pay-TV content do you watch, that you'd have to pay for, and how much of the rest could be replaced with similar programming on the OTA networks?

Streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix are much more affordable than the typical pay TV service. I realize if everyone chooses that route, the price may go up, but for now, if what you want to watch is TV and you're not terribly fussy about it being the latest-and-greatest, I don't think you're going to run out of content.

#44 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:14 PM

The only problem with that, as I see it, is it only saves you money if you hardly watch any TV.

You can buy/rent TV shows and movies via iTunes and other online services... but TV shows usually cost a few dollars per episode.

IF you only watch a couple of shows, you might save money... but what if you watch more?

The amount of TV shows I watch every week... I couldn't afford to pay per episode at several dollars per show. I would pay WAY more if I had to pay per show... so I hope we never get there.

I think I am not getting my message across. I'm not proposing a la carte which has significant problems.

I'm proposing to end the tier packaging by carriers. Let them become "TV channel pipes" which also lease equipment.

What I'm suggesting is throwing Comcast/NBCU, Disney (which includes ESPN and ABC), Viacom, CBS/Showtime, TimeWarner, AMC Channels, etc. into a competitive market in, let's say, 2018. Let them each package whatever they have however they want to sell it to us. The "channel" marketplace is mature enough.

If Disney chooses to sell only an "everything or nothing" package including Disney, ESPN, ABC Family and ABC for $15-$20 a month, so be it.

But if in 2018 you could buy CBS with The CW and CBS sports for $7 a month and NBC with USA, Bravo, and your choice of two more channels for $7 a month and Fox with either FX for $7 or two Fox sports channels for $9, you might stop there. You may find the Disney folks and many households discovering the real cost isn't worth it.

Rich folks could continue to buy expensive boxes at the NFL stadiums. Poor folks would live with whatever they could access within a budget. And the NFL would have to live with what money the combined audience provides rather than being funded by an ESPN viewer tax on almost every household.

Right now we have major international corporations (cable and satellite) negotiating supposedly on our behalf with major international media corporations. Yet what they do is decide which cable/satellite package will contain what media package. I want to get rid of the cable/satellite package.

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#45 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:50 PM

That is still a la carte and it does not get around the issue of the channels needing the money they are currently collecting to stay in business. Cut the number of subscribers and they will have to charge more per subscriber or reduce the content to less expensive programming (infomercials, reality shows, reruns).

#46 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:26 PM

That is still a la carte and it does not get around the issue of the channels needing the money they are currently collecting to stay in business. Cut the number of subscribers and they will have to charge more per subscriber or reduce the content to less expensive programming (infomercials, reality shows, reruns).

I recognize they will have to charge more per subscriber, but I think we're headed there anyway just within an outdated inefficient government-controlled economic model in both the broadcast channels and the cable channels arenas.

I'd like to see an economic model based on content appeal/price, not some lobby-created federal law or negotiations between representatives of billionaires and international corporations.

I simply don't see some long-term tragic cultural result or economic crash. IMHO the outcome would be more like the ebook revolution than the digital music mess. Some new problems will arise, new businesses will arise, and the money will get distributed differently, and then it will achieve some new equilibrium based on supply and demand.

Of course that's all hypothetical based on my opinion which is free and worth every penny. It's very likely I'll be dead before any significant shift occurs and my grandkids ignore it all.

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#47 OFFLINE   Jim5506

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:50 PM

The content providers have it just about the way they want it, bundle a few junk channels in with a couple of "necessary" channels and charge a good wad of cash for the lot - take it or leave it.

So far the "take it's" have prevailed.

where is the price point where the "leave it's" catch up?
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#48 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:27 PM

Also... if you talk about streaming online... then you have to pay maybe $50+ just to have that broadband connection before you can even pay that $7 or whatever to CBS to stream (in that hypothetical model).

And yeah, you might argue that you would have broadband for other reasons anyway... but while watching TV via streaming, that is broadband bandwidth you can't use for something else... so if you wanted to do the equivalent of what you can do today with Dish or DirecTV and have 2-3 people in different rooms watching unique live programming, then you might have to spend a lot more if that speed is even available in your area.

On top of that... many are instituting caps on bandwidth and charging for going over that cap... so that's a problem.

I'm just not seeing the bang-for-buck of cable/satellite delivery of tiered packages being beaten any time soon.

Again, if you literally only watch one or two shows OR all your TV is OTA, then you can and should cut the cord and save money right now!

But if you watch medium to LOTS of TV, you aren't going to beat the value in the current model any time soon.

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#49 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:29 AM

I recognize they will have to charge more per subscriber, but I think we're headed there anyway just within an outdated inefficient government-controlled economic model in both the broadcast channels and the cable channels arenas.

Please don't blame the government ... The free market came up with the current system.

There has been some "interference" on the part of the government in the carriage of broadcast TV --- allowing local TV to be carried initially against the wishes of the networks. Allowing distant channels to be carried without permission from the networks. The broadcast carriage arrangements we have today are primarily based on what the market came up with ... with the help of the courts when the channels and carriers disagreed and the congress to open up carriage. Take the government out and we may not have broadcast channels on satellite at all. (And there is no law preventing a network from negotiating nationwide carriage.)

As far as "cable" channels there is even less interference.

#50 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:05 PM

HBO chose to be alone... ESPN chose to be in a tier. Compare HBO to other similar standalone channels... Compare ESPN to other channels in a tier.

"I'm paying for your FX and USA and whatever you like to watch so that I can watch ESPN. You are paying for my ESPN so that you can watch FX and USA.

IF we separate one from the other, then I bet ESPN survives longer than FX.

In the end, you would have the choice of paying for ESPN or not... but many of the other channels you like would be gone.

Today you have that same choice... pay for ESPN and watch channels you like... or don't, and cut the cord.

Packages and tiers truly evolved because when faced with the prospect of a bundle discount, people almost always opt to pay for a package even if it contains some stuff they don't want so that they get a bundle discount.

Channels like the bundles too... so it ends up working for everyone. That is how we got to wherever we are now... through consumer choice supporting the current model. IF it wasn't a desired model by most consumers, then we wouldn't be here.


Stewart,

Point here is, how MUCH more am I paying for your ESPN?

I'm thinking my USA, FX, and TNT combined are a lot less. The gripe is the amount.
If ESPN limited themselves to one channel and charged what the others are charging, I'd say the playing field is leveled.
Five or six channels with a lot of redundancy. The other day the main channel was showing a baseball game that was on MLBN. I'm not a sports fan even tho I might watch some baseball occasionally, so I don't get this.

Even Encore [ that I seldom watch] in my 250 doesn't duplicate their channels.

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I believe in the end you are corrct. "Take it or leave it "will prevail. Question of when do you leave it is more interesting.

Edited by satcrazy, 04 March 2013 - 12:11 PM.


#51 OFFLINE   donalddickerson2005

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:52 AM

No matter what package you get there will always be channels that you don't want. Personally I'd love to see less qvc type shows but then again there has to be a few people that buy that stuff everyday.
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#52 OFFLINE   david_jr

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:09 AM

I think Stewart would win his bet regarding which would last longer, ESPN or FX. It would definitely be ESPN. However I think the larger question is how long would Satellite delivery last without either of those channels and I think the answer would be satellite would last longer without FX than without ESPN. Not that I like their high price because I rarely watch it, but I think they do to a degree command a higher price for a reason - demand. I don't like where my bill is, but cord cutting isn't a real option for a lot of people unless you don't want to watch TV at all (which might not be a bad idea). Without satellite delivery rural areas like mine would have to go without, except for what they can get OTA (the further out, the harder to get especially in difficult terrain areas, like mine) and rural areas also tend to have reduced internet options as well, like mine. The customer choosing between satellite and cable delivery is not in the same situation. Also we have a 5 person family all with different tastes so satellite meets our needs better than streaming here in the boodocks ever would (at least with currently available options).

#53 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:55 PM

Please don't blame the government ... The free market came up with the current system.

See the Wikipedia explanation of the "must carry" rule in the U.S. Then remember that recent News Corp negotiations included O&O locals in the package along with cable channels, including sports channels.

Remember when Senators and Congressmen got all pushed out of shape over negotiations keeping their constituents and themselves from watching professional sports events.

Like it or not, government is a player in this and historically the NAB and the media companies engage in very expensive lobbying, outspending the signal carriers. And as far as I know, I don't have a lobbyist.

When Dish and Disney renegotiate if there are any ABC O&O's involved, it will be a government, or at the very least, a political issue. And it will be nearly impossible for Dish to refuse price increase demands for ESPN if dropping ABC O&O's were the only alternative as those DMA's represent 25%+ of the viewing audience. Despite their reduction in audience over the past 20 years plus the OTA option, Dish would see some customer reaction if they didn't have ABC in the major markets.

And then Dish has many other issues that somehow seem to end up in Congressional hearings, issues that can't be separated from lobbying.

With that said, I don't "blame" the government. It's just one player. If the multinational media corporations want something from cable and satellite companies, they'll get it in this "market" economy, bickering billionaires and members of Congress notwithstanding.

Without satellite delivery rural areas like mine would have to go without, except for what they can get OTA (the further out, the harder to get especially in difficult terrain areas, like mine) and rural areas also tend to have reduced internet options as well, like mine. The customer choosing between satellite and cable delivery is not in the same situation. Also we have a 5 person family all with different tastes so satellite meets our needs better than streaming here in the boondocks ever would (at least with currently available options).

This is probably the strongest argument for carrier mixed packages. At some point, IMHO Americans should at least pretend we have a commitment to each other to assure some semblance of reasonably affordable access to in-home entertainment, news, culture, etc.

The issue here is to define "affordable." Right at this moment I don't really have a problem with ESPN costs, I'm just grumbling. But we need to make sure those costs don't become outrageous. To do that, we need the discussion to let Disney, the signal carriers, and the politicians know that there is a limit.

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#54 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:15 PM

See the Wikipedia explanation of the "must carry" rule in the U.S. Then remember that recent News Corp negotiations included O&O locals in the package along with cable channels, including sports channels.

Must carry is an option placed to protect the small stations. It has nothing to do with the big network O&O stations that are carried under the separate "consent to carry" rules.

I said that the rules came from the industry ... not the users. Sure, you may not have the money to buy a lobbyist for your point of view. You may not even be able to form a grass roots movement to collectively get enough money to influence the process ... but guess who is influencing the process? The industry. Providers and carriers plus their representatives. The industry taking a battle that they are having trouble working out amongst themselves (even with the help of the courts) to Congress where rules can be written.

The leverage the O&O owning companies have over carriers is not because the government forces satellite/cable to carry the broadcast networks ... it is because the market demands that broadcast network channels be carried. Bundling O&Os with cable channels is something the market came up with.

#55 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:34 PM

The leverage the O&O owning companies have over carriers is not because the government forces satellite/cable to carry the broadcast networks ... it is because the market demands that broadcast network channels be carried. Bundling O&Os with cable channels is something the market came up with.

OK. My impression was that virtually everything I see on TV gets intertwined with government regulation even including the sound level of commercials. But I'm sure I'm confused.

Let's just say I'm glad ABC doesn't have the 2014 Superbowl (owned by the NFL which has no special legislation regarding its market situation). Otherwise we would hear threats from regular citizens from the floor of the Senate Chamber in the U.S. Capitol if Disney tried to include some O&O's as leverage in its effort to "pressure" Dish to pay an arm and a leg for ESPN and Disney channels.

Charlie could drop the whole Disney/ESPN/ABC offering as leverage and not get phone calls from non-governmental U.S. Senators and House of Representatives members who represent the invisible hand of the free market by regulating virtually everything his business does.

Obviously, I see governmental conspiracies everywhere in the TV business. But I'll assert that I may be paranoid but that doesn't mean they are not out to get me. And by "they" my memory keeps remembering headlines like Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown push as DirecTV deal threatens Super Bowl access for 200,000 Boston subscribers.

Of course, that was politics, not government except for the letter to the FCC Chairman.

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#56 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:56 PM

People who seek politics find it ... it is probably in your breakfast cereal as well. :)

#57 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:11 PM

People who seek politics find it ... it is probably in your breakfast cereal as well. :)

That's for sure.:)

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#58 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:27 AM

That is still a la carte and it does not get around the issue of the channels needing the money they are currently collecting to stay in business. Cut the number of subscribers and they will have to charge more per subscriber or reduce the content to less expensive programming (infomercials, reality shows, reruns).


My question here is, why does ESPN "need" considerably more than, say, TNT,USA, or FX?

What are they realy producing, like the three above mentioned stations which have some pretty good series?

There are other sports channels that broadcast like ESPN without the high price tag. So, what gives?

#59 OFFLINE   Curtis0620

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:40 AM

My question here is, why does ESPN "need" considerably more than, say, TNT,USA, or FX?

What are they realy producing, like the three above mentioned stations which have some pretty good series?

There are other sports channels that broadcast like ESPN without the high price tag. So, what gives?


Rights fees to the various Sports Leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, SEC, ACC, etc).

It's because they have all of them, not just one or a few..
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#60 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:03 AM

Rights fees to the various Sports Leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, SEC, ACC, etc).

It's because they have all of them, not just one or a few..


O.K.
But why is that relevant if MLB has their own channel, TNT shows NBA, and NFL I think is shown on other channel? [ I don't watch NFL, ever:]
Isn't there a soccer channel?
Now with Fox 1 appearing this summer, how relevant is ESPN?

I just looked at espn's line up and right now there are 4 channels of commentary and the fifth is "off the air".
Sorta like having 4 channels of "The View":lol: [ No, I don't watch that, but it is "commentary"]




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