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Dish and local channel disputes made me think...


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#1 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 08:15 PM

So... I'm watching my local NBC station tonight for Sunday Night Football, and I see a scroll that said essentially that Dish might drop WNCN (my local NBC affiliate) at the end of the month.  I don't know if this will happen, but that's not what this thread is about.

 

Of all the affiliates to ask for more money... NBC?  Now I know, the parent company (Media General) probably owns other channels and they aren't all NBC so it's a lump negotiation thing... but, with NBC in WAY last place it was funny because outside of Sunday Night Football they really couldn't say much on that scroll about what programs you would miss.

 

BUT... more important than all of that.... a thought struck me.

 

Dish has made a big splash and a big deal about Primetime Anytime and AutoHop and their Hopper model receivers.  The thing is... neither of those features hold any value IF Dish drops your LiLs!  So while the networks are fighting Dish in court over the commercial skip stuff... it struck me that Dish has kind of put themselves in a weird place with their future LiL negotiations.

 

IF they drop LiLs over carriage fees, then the advantage of the Hopper features they tout most go away at the same time!  It kind of behooves Dish now to NOT drop your LiL, and to not play hardball with them.... NBC not withstanding of course :)

 

I wonder if anyone at Dish has realized this yet?

 

If not...  they might become aware of it if they do lose any major LiLs for long.


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#2 OFFLINE   gov

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 09:44 PM

By my calculations, a Hopper would no longer be 1000 times better than a Genie if a local channel was dropped.

 

I think the first lost local would bring the Hopper down to 416.2777773 times better than a Genie.

 

Loosing a second local would take you down to 189.6565654 times better than a Genie.

 

 

You can figure out the rest . . .

 

 

 

 

 

:eek2:


Edited by gov, 23 September 2013 - 07:56 AM.


#3 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 11:09 PM

By my calculations, a Hopper would no longer be 1000 times better than a Genie if a local channel was dropped.

 

I think the first lost local would bring the Hopper down to 416,2777773 times better than a Genie.

 

Loosing a second local would take you down to 189.6565654 times better than a Genie.

 

 

You can figure out the rest . . .

 

 

 

 

 

:eek2:

 

That's pretty funny because I feel the same way about the Hopper.  I'll take a Genie with 5 tuners truely at my control to record any channel over the Hopper any day of the week!


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#4 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 04:15 AM

Maybe I'm missing something, but AutoHop works for me on programs I've recorded OTA.  Only PTAT would be impacted.



#5 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:09 AM

When an OTA is pulled from satellite the EPG is changed. You should be able to set a manual timer for a show on an OTA that has been pulled but it probably would not match up with the Autohop information.
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#6 OFFLINE   inazsully

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:34 AM

I think it's reasonable to assume that Dish would not be faced with losing more than one local at the same time and the past has shown that if they lose a local it won't last for long.  It's a factor but not a deal breaker IMO.



#7 OFFLINE   gov

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 11:34 AM

Yeah, if the local(s) come back, then when I do the math, the Hopper is again 999.9999999 (rounding error) times better than the Genie.

 

 

!rolling



#8 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 12:37 PM

Maybe I'm missing something, but AutoHop works for me on programs I've recorded OTA.  Only PTAT would be impacted.

 

The problem, as James noted, is when a LiL goes dark on Dish so goes the EPG data... and likely the AutoHop info as well... so while you could make manual recordings for that one channel OTA, you likely lose AutoHop.  Also, if you are in a DMA that loses more than one of the "big four" LiLs then your single OTA tuner will have problems recording more than one OTA channel if you have any overlapping/simultaneous "big four" programming.

 

All this is to say...  Dish in their addition of new features related to the "big four" has kind of put themselves in a situation where they need the "big four" or those features become substantially less useful.


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#9 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:26 PM

The problem, as James noted, is when a LiL goes dark on Dish so goes the EPG data... and likely the AutoHop info as well... so while you could make manual recordings for that one channel OTA, you likely lose AutoHop.  Also, if you are in a DMA that loses more than one of the "big four" LiLs then your single OTA tuner will have problems recording more than one OTA channel if you have any overlapping/simultaneous "big four" programming.

 

All this is to say...  Dish in their addition of new features related to the "big four" has kind of put themselves in a situation where they need the "big four" or those features become substantially less useful.

 

Very well put.  I agree.  While I am not a Dish customer, I admit that it would be a nice feature.  Not so nice if they next negotiations do not go so well though.  I am pretty sure it was FOX that would not even let NASCAR announce the Dish Network car because of a law suit pending for the autohop feature.


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#10 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:31 PM

I think it's reasonable to assume that Dish would not be faced with losing more than one local at the same time and the past has shown that if they lose a local it won't last for long.  It's a factor but not a deal breaker IMO.


There are markets where two major networks are on the same station's digital subchannels ... plus others where more than one network station is controlled by the same station group. But with anything local oriented it is a local problem.

If WNCN Raleigh/Durham, NC, leaves DISH at the end of the month it does not affect most of the country. The only effect it would have outside the Raleigh/Durham market would be in other markets with an affiliate owned by that station group. In another market it may be an ABC or CBS affiliate or an NBC affiliate like WNCN.

It is a local problem. The Hopper still works 100% in most other markets. The vast majority of DISH customers nationwide are not losing a station if WNCN goes dark.

Expecting DISH marketing to change their approach to the Hopper because of a local carriage problem would be like expecting DISH to not promote the Hopper in New York, LA and Chicago because people in Alpena Michigan, Helena Montana and two counties in Vermont can't use it. Marketing is for the masses.
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#11 OFFLINE   Jim5506

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:41 PM

Sounds like a tempest in a teapot to me.

 

The pure joy of autohop is not great enough to effect me much one way or the other.

 

As a matter of fact it is a little annoying to get two seconds of the beginning of one blurb then the last two seconds of another  before the show resumes, I'd rather use the skip forward button 4 or 6 times that put up with that annoyance.

 

Maybe someday I'll get used to the short blurbs but I still reach for the remote at the beginning of every commercial.


Edited by Jim5506, 23 September 2013 - 05:43 PM.

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#12 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:42 PM

I agree (with James), except... it is only a local problem as long as it stays a local problem.  Arguably, if Dish doesn't want to pay what the local affiliate wants... and that LiL goes dark on Dish... then only that DMA is affected.  BUT, the whole point of allowing that to happen is a negotiating tactic by Dish... which means they would intend to let that happen to any other LiL who makes similar demands.

 

So, short-term?  Not a big deal...  BUT it has the potential to become a bigger problem IF the networks realize that Dish has married some of their success to the networks after all... and if every LiL realizes they have more power than they thought, then it could quickly become a national issue.

 

On the one hand, Dish uses AutoHop as a stick to say "we can skip your commercials so you better not ask for too much money"... but on the other hand, the LiL and network can say "you can't skip our commercials if you aren't carrying us"...  and the card in the back of the LiL pocket is...  AutoHop is useless without the LiL, but the local channel is still being broadcast OTA in their area so they only lose some, but not all, of their viewers if Dish lets them go dark.

 

I'm just thinking/saying...  this isn't as one-sided of an argument as it might have been in the past.


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#13 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:53 PM

Maybe someday I'll get used to the short blurbs but I still reach for the remote at the beginning of every commercial.


I'm getting used to Autohop to the level where I watch TV without the remote in my hand. And I've been seeing more commercials on non PTAT network thanks to that new habit. :)
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#14 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 06:03 PM

On the one hand, Dish uses AutoHop as a stick to say "we can skip your commercials so you better not ask for too much money"... but on the other hand, the LiL and network can say "you can't skip our commercials if you aren't carrying us"...


You're overthinking it. Most disputes are short ... solved before anyone loses a channel or within a short period of time. Perhaps because it is one of your locals that could be in the next batch it means something to you ... the problem you raise means nothing to most of the nation because most of the nation is not affected. Raising fear, uncertainty and doubt over "it could be your affiliates next" is just playing into the hands of the broadcasters who want you to think less of DISH and more of them.

The fantasy of DISH using Autohop in their negotiations is just that. DISH is not negotiating the use of the Hopper. It has not agreed to not hop any specific station in order to keep the price down with that station. Autohop is non-negotiable. Off the table. While a local station may complain about Autohop during negotiations the negotiation is over the carriage of the station ... not whether or not that station's programming is hopped.
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#15 OFFLINE   brucegrr

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 06:26 PM

Sounds like a tempest in a teapot to me.

The pure joy of autohop is not great enough to effect me much one way or the other.

As a matter of fact it is a little annoying to get two seconds of the beginning of one blurb then the last two seconds of another before the show resumes, I'd rather use the skip forward button 4 or 6 times that put up with that annoyance.

Maybe someday I'll get used to the short blurbs but I still reach for the remote at the beginning of every commercial.


Even though I KNOW autohop is enabled, I still find myself hitting the skip button. Old habits die hard. I find the little blurbs annoying too.


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#16 OFFLINE   dstout

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 06:41 PM

I have had a Hopper for little over a year, and it just hit me, the only prime time shows on the networks I watch is sports. I do not watch a single show on network tv in prime time. That doesn't really have anything to do with thread, but I had to share...



#17 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 09:05 PM

Full disclosure...  It is an NBC affiliate...  outside of Sunday Night Football, I would barely miss losing it if it goes dark.  Also, I have OTA so I'm covered that way anyway...  and I'm generally in favor of Dish playing a little hardball to keep the prices down.

 

I'm just saying that Dish should be careful about this going forward... because they really sell the PTAT and AutoHop features of the Hopper... and neither of those features are of value without the "big four" LiLs... so when the networks lose their lawsuits to drop AutoHop (as they should lose those lawsuits)...  expect them to ask for more money, and while Dish can say "see ya" just like they do any other channel in a dispute over rates... the difference with the "big four" going forward is if they ever did lose multiple LiLs in a given DMA and for several DMAs, then it impacts their main advertised Hopper features.

 

It may never happen... but it is certainly more possible now than it was before the Hopper.  Before the Hopper, Dish could say "people can watch you OTA, so pound sand"... but now the networks can say "ok, but good luck with those Hopper features when you don't have the channels that are required to use those features."


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#18 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:01 AM

The problem, as James noted, is when a LiL goes dark on Dish so goes the EPG data... and likely the AutoHop info as well... 

I can find nothing that requires Dish to remove this information from the EPG, or to disable AutoHop information.  They do not purchase their programming guide information direct from the stations involved, and thus it is not part of the contract.  Dish's policy of playing hardball with local affiliates is just that - their own policy.  They can keep the EPG and AutoHop for as long as they want.  In fact, they could arguably make AutoHop automatic on channels they had no current contract with as a way to entice the networks to be more reasonable.



#19 OFFLINE   david_jr

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 09:22 AM

I for one think the networks are making more out of this Auto Hop than is really justified.  I for one do not use PTAT or Auto Hop.  I'll bet there are a lot like me with Hoppers (I have 2) that don't use either.  Second, PTAT potentially greatly benefits the networks in that if someone turns it on they are automatically recording whole blocks of content that they may watch that they otherwise would not have.  I see this as a wash because not everyone will use Auto Hop.  They will get more exposure from some users and maybe less from some others.  I think the networks are exagerating its effect on them.  As it is, satellite is actually helping the networks get their content to their customers in an easier and more efficient way and both sides win.  Satellite customers are paying to recieve signals they might otherwise get free off the air, and Satellite companies in turn pay the networks for each customer.  The Networks should see this as a symbiotic relationship and quit being so greedy (reasonable increases are expected), which causes many to consider "cutting the cord".  They will eventually kill the goose that is laying their golden eggs.



#20 OFFLINE   Grandude

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 09:37 AM

There are some channels where I would truly love to have autohop.  How many times do I need to see the commercial about 'which is better' with those kids.  I could quote it from memory.  Can't use skip in most cases as I like/prefer to watch some channels live, especially sports channels.


Edited by Grandude, 25 September 2013 - 09:37 AM.

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