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PJStar.com: "Blackouts give DirecTV a black eye"


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#1 OFFLINE   dhaakenson

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 05:36 PM

Interesting column from PJStar.com:

http://www.pjstar.co...CS5LH87.073.php
DirecTV customer 1994-2008. FiOS customer 2008-?

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#2 OFFLINE   lwilli201

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 06:50 PM

This guy must live in a cave. He does not even know that InDemand also will distribute EI to cable companies.
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#3 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 07:44 PM

I don't subscribe to any sports packages anymore, but I read enough of this forum to know that D* REALLY REALLY REALLY needs to work on their blackout system!!

D*, E*, InDemand, MLB, NHL, NBA, and ALL of the various RSN's, need to send one representative to one big meeting and sort this crap out once and for all.

Find out PRECISELY who should get to see what and when.

AND MOST OF ALL ....
IMPLEMENT IT CORRECTLY!!!!

And then they need to setup a keyword in the providers phone system for the word "BLACKOUT" where you get transferred to a "blackout specialist" who can properly determine if in fact you are wrongly being blacked out from an event you should have access to.

High Def is bringing a whole new set of spectators into the market ... so now is THE MOST important time to get a serious handle on all these blackout issues ... or your gonna crap in your own yards and push all your customers away from the sports packages!!
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#4 OFFLINE   JLucPicard

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 09:20 PM

Just for my education, the person they were speaking about (Bright?). Does he live in the Cardinals territory? The article seemed to alude to that. If so, isn't FSN Midwest part of his local package, and he does not need to subscribe to a "Sports Pack" to get it?

I knw the whole blackout thing is a mess, but I didn't quite understand their example.

#5 OFFLINE   Sharkie_Fan

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 10:16 PM

Just for my education, the person they were speaking about (Bright?). Does he live in the Cardinals territory? The article seemed to alude to that. If so, isn't FSN Midwest part of his local package, and he does not need to subscribe to a "Sports Pack" to get it?

I knw the whole blackout thing is a mess, but I didn't quite understand their example.


THere are areas that are in the FSN Midwest home territory but are NOT in Cardinals home territory. Technically, Cardinals games in that area are "out of market" and should be available through EI. However, FSN Midwest is trying to pull a power play and so they are executing their right to broadcast Cardinal games within their home territory - then turning around and blacking out the broadcast to customers who are not in the cardinal's home territory.

So, there are a number of cardinal fans across the midwest who cannot receive cardinal games on their televisions. EI blacks them out because their local RSN has the broadcast rights and is broadcasting the game. The local RSN in their attempt to force the carrier's hand has chosen to black out those same customers because they are not in cardinal territory and therefore, technically, it's an out of market game that you're not allowed to receive....

Frankly, if only a few thousand are being deprived of the ability to watch games, I don't see how that's really going to do much to make D* change their ways....

#6 OFFLINE   texasbrit

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 10:22 PM

I don't subscribe to any sports packages anymore, but I read enough of this forum to know that D* REALLY REALLY REALLY needs to work on their blackout system!!

D*, E*, InDemand, MLB, NHL, NBA, and ALL of the various RSN's, need to send one representative to one big meeting and sort this crap out once and for all.

Find out PRECISELY who should get to see what and when.

AND MOST OF ALL ....
IMPLEMENT IT CORRECTLY!!!!

And then they need to setup a keyword in the providers phone system for the word "BLACKOUT" where you get transferred to a "blackout specialist" who can properly determine if in fact you are wrongly being blacked out from an event you should have access to.

High Def is bringing a whole new set of spectators into the market ... so now is THE MOST important time to get a serious handle on all these blackout issues ... or your gonna crap in your own yards and push all your customers away from the sports packages!!



I completely agree with your comments on blackouts, particularly the one about having a set of "blackout specialists" with direct access to the groups in MLB, NHL etc who tell DirecTV what games to blackout.

But I doubt you are going to get MLB etc to change their blackout rules. They are at the mercy of the local broadcast station, or the local RSN, who want to maintain the exclusivity on the local games that they have paid for, can't blame them....

#7 OFFLINE   SMosher

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 10:36 PM

Seems to me it’s modern day corporate America not knowing what the left and right hand is doing. It doesn’t seem anytime soon it will get better. It will take a meeting of meetings to discuss more meetings of those meetings to find a meeting where one could meet to discuss the meetings. Meanwhile, you a customer of WHOEVER pays out the rear for services you think is fair. Its like Windows 98 and Windows 95 back in its day. We as humans just got used to it and said "Oh that’s just windows again with its BSOD garbage". We found this as acceptable for some reason and hit the reset button on our computers without blinking an eye. It will take mass droves of people to make a change but, corporate America still won;t care nor fix beans. There is no more For the People by the People. Its For the Buck by the Buck.

#8 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 10:40 PM

I think someone needs to sit MLB down and tell them to get their S*** together. Very few of the blackout problems are D*'s fault. But of course, the typical sports fan just blames his provider and not the true source of the problem. I think its about time for an MLB viewer boycott. Thats the only way to get through to these idiots, you HAVE to hit them in the pocketbook b4 they even acknowledge there is a problem.

#9 OFFLINE   SMosher

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 10:53 PM

I think someone needs to sit MLB down and tell them to get their S*** together. Very few of the blackout problems are D*'s fault. But of course, the typical sports fan just blames his provider and not the true source of the problem. I think its about time for an MLB viewer boycott. Thats the only way to get through to these idiots, you HAVE to hit them in the pocketbook b4 they even acknowledge there is a problem.


Exactly. I know and you know that this isn't all ones fault. ITs like everyone blaming E* for not providing MLB EI this year when in fact its Bud and his rank greedy butt going for that Buck.

#10 OFFLINE   bralph

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 06:06 AM

THere are areas that are in the FSN Midwest home territory but are NOT in Cardinals home territory. Technically, Cardinals games in that area are "out of market" and should be available through EI. However, FSN Midwest is trying to pull a power play and so they are executing their right to broadcast Cardinal games within their home territory - then turning around and blacking out the broadcast to customers who are not in the cardinal's home territory.

So, there are a number of cardinal fans across the midwest who cannot receive cardinal games on their televisions. EI blacks them out because their local RSN has the broadcast rights and is broadcasting the game. The local RSN in their attempt to force the carrier's hand has chosen to black out those same customers because they are not in cardinal territory and therefore, technically, it's an out of market game that you're not allowed to receive....

Frankly, if only a few thousand are being deprived of the ability to watch games, I don't see how that's really going to do much to make D* change their ways....


This same thing is happening in Toledo OH with Detroit Tigers games.

#11 OFFLINE   cruxer

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 07:15 AM

THere are areas that are in the FSN Midwest home territory but are NOT in Cardinals home territory. Technically, Cardinals games in that area are "out of market" and should be available through EI. However, FSN Midwest is trying to pull a power play and so they are executing their right to broadcast Cardinal games within their home territory - then turning around and blacking out the broadcast to customers who are not in the cardinal's home territory.


Shouldn't MLB step in here if they want their EI package to be attractive? These areas should either be in the home market or have the game available as out of market through EI. I wouldn't think the sports nets can have it both ways. They only have exclusive rights to the home market, not to the whole country. That's the point of the the EI package, right? What are they expecting, that D* is going to make FSN Midwest a part of the basic package for the whole country?

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#12 OFFLINE   n3ntj

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 07:56 AM

... D* REALLY REALLY REALLY needs to work on their blackout system!!

D*, E*, InDemand, MLB, NHL, NBA, and ALL of the various RSN's, need to send one representative to one big meeting and sort this crap out once and for all.

Find out PRECISELY who should get to see what and when.

AND MOST OF ALL ....
IMPLEMENT IT CORRECTLY!!!!

And then they need to setup a keyword in the providers phone system for the word "BLACKOUT" where you get transferred to a "blackout specialist" who can properly determine if in fact you are wrongly being blacked out from an event you should have access to.

High Def is bringing a whole new set of spectators into the market ... so now is THE MOST important time to get a serious handle on all these blackout issues ... or your gonna crap in your own yards and push all your customers away from the sports packages!!


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#13 OFFLINE   bralph

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 08:24 AM

What are they expecting, that D* is going to make FSN Midwest a part of the basic package for the whole country?

--Cross


No, I think FSN wants D* and E* to make these "neighboring" FSNs as part of the basic package for those affected. They don't want these customers to have to pay extra to see these games that should be considered part of their home market.

I'll use FSN Detroit as my example, since that's the one affecting me. In the past I had to subscribe to Sports Pack to get Tigers games even though Toledo is less than 60 miles from Detroit and our local cable system carries FSN-Detroit in their basic package. Toledo's "home" RSN is Fox Sports Ohio. Fox Sports wants D* and E* to either:

1. Make FSN-Detroit a part of the base package for NW Ohio customers, or
2. Require Extra Innings to get Tigers baseball

Of course, I prefer #1 since it would actually lower my bill, since I wouldn't need Sports Pack. Instead, neither has happened and we are left in MLB-limbo.

#14 OFFLINE   Sharkie_Fan

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 08:27 AM

Shouldn't MLB step in here if they want their EI package to be attractive? These areas should either be in the home market or have the game available as out of market through EI. I wouldn't think the sports nets can have it both ways. They only have exclusive rights to the home market, not to the whole country. That's the point of the the EI package, right? What are they expecting, that D* is going to make FSN Midwest a part of the basic package for the whole country?

--Cross


I'm not sure what MLB could do.... "Technically" FSN MW isn't doing anything wrong. They have the rights to broadcast to those areas, which means if they carry the games, EI can't give them to those areas....

On the flip side, EI could argue that since those people aren't receiving the feed from FSN MW *AND* they are not in cardinals home territory that the game should be theirs to broadcast because it is an out of market game...

I'm not entirely sure how all the broadcasting rights work and what MLB may or may not be able to do.... And, yes, from what I gathered, it sounds as if FSN MW is trying to get added as part of the basic package to the whole country... I'm not sure why though because they have broadcasting rights to only a certain territory, which means basic package or not, I don't think D* can legally give those channels to anyone not in that home territory UNLESS they subscribe to a sports package that would give them "out of market" games....

EDIT: I'll defer to bralph on what FSN MW was trying to accomplish since he has more first hand knowledge of the situation... I'd only gathered that information from reading the article linked at the beginning and some other forums around... so I guess maybe they *aren't* trying to get broadcast nationally on the basic package...

#15 OFFLINE   Ken S

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 08:32 AM

I think someone needs to sit MLB down and tell them to get their S*** together. Very few of the blackout problems are D*'s fault. But of course, the typical sports fan just blames his provider and not the true source of the problem. I think its about time for an MLB viewer boycott. Thats the only way to get through to these idiots, you HAVE to hit them in the pocketbook b4 they even acknowledge there is a problem.


The someone is D. Before handing over hundreds of millions for the EI deal they should have negotiated better blackout rules for their customers. They had the leverage to do it then.

#16 OFFLINE   cariera

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 09:07 AM

The problem is with FSNMW and the satellite companies. If someone around Springfield, IL (62702) wants the Cardinals, they used to be able to get them by adding the sports pack (Directv example). Now FSNMW says they want these customers to have this on a basic tier. On the basic tier they are getting the Cubs and White Sox as their teams, and Direct does not want to change. Probably because the Cubs and White Sox fans in that area would start screaming if their teams weren't available.

The problem is that the Cardinals claim folks in this zip as their "in-market" team, so the MLBEI is not even an option for them as that package provides only "out of market" teams.

In market means games would be on local and rsn stations - except folks can't get St. Louis locals or FSNMW, which means no games.

MLBEI means games would be from out of market areas - except these folks are not "out of market", which again means no games.

So the satellite subscriber in these type of markets are the ones getting royally scr#$%$wed by the inablility of the rsn and dish companies to work out a solution, this really has nothing to do with MLB, other than it's their product being used in this tug-o-war.

#17 OFFLINE   bwaldron

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 09:10 AM

The someone is D. Before handing over hundreds of millions for the EI deal they should have negotiated better blackout rules for their customers. They had the leverage to do it then.


Yes, I tend to agree.

I don't blame D* for the blackout situation -- with a few rare exceptions, they are only following MLB rules. And these rules are so ridiculous and archaic that I don't even completely blame the CSRs who will occasionally provide incorrect information.

Selig had talked about doing something about these rules last year, and the timing could not have been better than when renegotiating the EI contract. Not sure how much leverage D* really had, though -- its the MLB owners who have final say, and they have consistently been the least fan friendly of the major sports. I'm sure it is costing D* some business, though, and some goodwill...and I would hope that they are doing whatever they can behind the scenes to improve things. While it doesn't greatly impact me, fans in some areas of the country are getting screwed big-time.

#18 OFFLINE   bluedogok

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 11:06 AM

I think the only way this is going to get fixed is to complain to the teams and the MLB. In the Cards/FSN-MW case the team does have the ability to pressure the broadcaster into making the channel available if they want to push it. Once they get enough people griping and threaten to drop EI then they might understand the frustration, because eventually it will hit them in the pocketbook if enough people drop the package due to this.

It all comes down to the bottom line, if people start affecting that then they will make changes.
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#19 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 11:28 AM

From the article:

Kelly Anderson, a baseball fan who lives in Creve Coeur, said she cancelled her DirecTV
subscription over the blackout issue. She went back to cable. It was being installed...as
we spoke on the phone Friday afternoon.

"I'm going to get Fox Sports Midwest, the Cardinals games, all the basic stuff I want,
plus my Internet and an HD converter, which I couldn't afford with the satellite," she
said. "And it's going to cost me about $35 less a month than I was paying DirecTV."

Good for you, Kelly!

If more disgruntled D* subs did that, maybe -- just maybe -- DirecTV would stop lying and
start telling the truth. I wouldn't continue to give my money to a company that not only lies,
but also shows little regard for its subscribers by consistently giving poor customer service.

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#20 OFFLINE   bonscott87

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 01:17 PM

to make D* change their ways....


What ways is D* going to change? They are only do what they are told.

MLB tells them where to blackout games on Extra Innings.
FSN Midwest is telling them where to blackout Cards games.

So D* does what they are told to do. If customers get caught in a blackout then they only have MLB and FSN Midwest to blame. InDemand, D* or E* can't do anything about blackouts and if they don't follow them then they are sued.

Same with Sunday Ticket. The local affilitates tell DirecTV what games they will carry and to black out those games.

Does anybody really think D* wants to blackout anything? It's a huge pain in time and resources (and mad customers). Nothing but a thorn in their side (and ours). Only way to get it changed is via the sports leagues and network/cable stations that are the ones that actually impose these blackouts.




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