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EchoStar Settles Nine Year Litigation With ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox Affiliates (maybe)

Discussion in 'General DISH™ Discussion' started by JohnH, Aug 28, 2006.

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  1. Aug 28, 2006 #1 of 203
    JohnH

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    EchoStar Settles Nine Year Litigation With ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox Affiliate Associations
    ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 28, 2006--EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH) announced today that it has settled its nine year litigation with the ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox Affiliate Associations.

    Under terms of the settlement, EchoStar agreed to expand its industry leading local network channel by satellite service from approximately 165 markets, to 175 markets by the end of 2006, offering over 95 percent of the U.S. population more fully effective competition to cable. EchoStar also agreed to pay the Affiliate Associations $100 million to protect its subscribers from the potential shut off of their distant network channels.

    Distant channels are ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox network channels that originate from a market outside the community in which the subscriber lives. The litigation does not involve, and there is no danger, that consumers could lose their local ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox network channels, or any of the other great programming available from EchoStar's DISH Network. While EchoStar has over 12 million subscribers, less than one million of those customers receive distant network channels. As part of the settlement, EchoStar agreed to re-qualify its distant network subscribers and terminate those channels later this year to the small percentage of customers who are not eligible to receive them today.

    During the nine year course of litigation, EchoStar previously settled with hundreds of TV stations and station groups, including the ABC, NBC and CBS networks. With today's announcement, EchoStar has reached settlements with almost 800 total stations. EchoStar had hoped and expected to resolve the dispute with all remaining litigants, but late last week Fox Network declined EchoStar's universal settlement offer and pulled out of the discussions. Consequently, litigation with approximately 25 Fox owned-and-operated stations continues. Though unlikely, it is possible Fox's last minute tactic could derail the entire settlement and force EchoStar to seek legislation to protect its subscribers from disruption.

    The settlement is contingent on confirmation by the Federal District Court in Florida.

    About EchoStar

    EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH) serves more than 12.46 million satellite TV customers through its DISH Network(TM), the fastest growing U.S. provider of advanced digital television services in the last five years. DISH Network offers hundreds of video and audio channels, Interactive TV, HDTV, sports and international programming, together with professional installation and 24-hour customer service.


    CONTACT: EchoStar Communications Corporation
    Kathie Gonzalez, 720-514-5351
    press@echostar.com

    SOURCE: EchoStar Communications Corporation
     
  2. Aug 28, 2006 #2 of 203
    jessshaun

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    Hopefully I won't loose my distant ABC after what the remaining Fox stations did last week.

    I live in the Terre Haute DMA, and would hate to loose my ABC.
     
  3. Aug 28, 2006 #3 of 203
    minnow

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    Whose surprised that the holdout is FOX ? Shocking isn't it ? I doubt Charlie could ever offer enough money to Murdoch. I'm sure Murdoch see's this court ruling as a way to significantly hurt E*.
     
  4. Aug 28, 2006 #4 of 203
    TheRatPatrol

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    Yeah. With this lawsuit and the the Tivo lawsuit, makes you wonder how much longer E* can go paying out that money.
     
  5. Aug 28, 2006 #5 of 203
    James Long

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    "Approximately" ? They still can't decide how many markets they cover. :D It's good to see 10 more markets come online ... as well as the requalification.
    Hopefully the court will accept the majority settlement. If FOX distants are lost it will only hurt FOX.
     
  6. Aug 28, 2006 #6 of 203
    minnow

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    It wouldn't help E* sub's either. And it could cause some E* subs. to convert to Direct.
     
  7. Aug 28, 2006 #7 of 203
    BobMurdoch

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    I hadn't thought about that.... Can the court approve the settlement in spite of D*'s objections? If everyone but them approves the deal, which is obviously an attempt to weaken a competitor for their own benefit by using FOX as a way to discriminate (something they agreed they would NOT do when they took over D*). I assumed that Rupert could veto the deal..... It will be interesting to see what happens next. Just about everyone BUT D* wants this settled now. Rural customers, the affiliates (who get more locals carried AND a lot of STFU money), and Congress who doesn't want to have to educate a couple of hundred thousand constituents as to the complexities of SHVERA while their phones and mailboxes get filled with gripes....
     
  8. Aug 28, 2006 #8 of 203
    cdru

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    With 95% of the markets covered, doesn't the entire purpose of "distant" networks essentially disappear (excluding that remaining 5% and/or markets not served by a particular network)?
     
  9. Aug 28, 2006 #9 of 203
    BobMurdoch

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    Show a US map with all of the affiliates claimed zip codes in red, and the rest of the areas in white. You will STILL see a LOT of white areas on that map. Plus they need to revisit the concept of a white area. If you can't pull in a signal with an antenna using a system like antennaweb.org, then you should be classified as a white area. Right now New York City claims extreme southern Ocean County, NJ as their area. Good luck getting a signal there......
     
  10. Aug 28, 2006 #10 of 203
    JohnH

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    The Pattern of infringement may still do them in.
     
  11. Aug 28, 2006 #11 of 203
    alebowgm

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    I wonder if this will

    a. Make the Atlanta Distant channels move to spotbeam or if they will again decide to keep them on CONUS

    b. Make it tighter to not get the Distant channels on the Dish website. There was a time there where anyone who really wanted the stations was able to get them.
     
  12. Aug 28, 2006 #12 of 203
    James Long

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    They could just move toward a private agreement with each network and affiliate group that would allow them to carry a distant network in any market were there is not a local affiliate AND there is no Grade B coverage. Let E* pay the stations directly (perhaps through a 100 million dollar check) for the royalties instead of using 17 USC 119 to force stations to become distants.
     
  13. Aug 28, 2006 #13 of 203
    cdru

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    But if the market is available via satellite but not OTA for what ever reason, what's the problem with allowing the subscriber to get the market they are in and not a distant?

    I guess I just don't understand what all the hoopla is about. 5 years ago when only the top 40 DMAs had locals, I would agree that there was a definite need for people who could not pull in a useful OTA signal to get a distant network. But now that all but a tiny handful of the smallest DMAs are up (or will soon be), everyone in that DMA should be able to get a decent signal presuming they have a clear shot of the satellite.
     
  14. Aug 28, 2006 #14 of 203
    CornChex

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    So...at the risk of appearing obtuse and dangerously dense...

    Will I get to keep my distant locals, or not? I have local channels from my viewing area, but pay extra to get the 4 networks out of NY and LA (for time-shifting purposes and picture quality.)

    It sounds like E* is going to comb thru their database to weed out hangers-on like me (who are really not entitled to receive the distant networks).

    We have horrible PQ from our local locals, but it is nice to be able to watch the local news.

    If we lose our distant locals, any idea how soon they will be switched off?

    (Thanks in advance for your help, and for not flaming me!) ;)
     
  15. Aug 28, 2006 #15 of 203
    Greg Bimson

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    No, you aren't being obtuse.

    We don't know how Dish Network will requalify everyone. We don't know if the settlement contains language to force requalification on everyone using the SHVERA rules, or since this is a settlement, to basically cut everyone off that has local channels available.

    These will not be switched off until the settlement is approved by the judge.
     
  16. Aug 28, 2006 #16 of 203
    kstuart

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    And does the requalification affect those "grandfathered" (ie who did not have to qualify because they had the distants prior to the first bill)?
     
  17. Aug 28, 2006 #17 of 203
    crackasmile

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    Yes, I wonder about the grandfathered status too? I spend lots of hours trying to and finally getting waivers from all network stations back in 1997 or 1998.
    We now have locals available for all but one network, but I was under the understanding that if I was grandfathered, I did not have to subscribe to the locals over my distants if I didn't have to.

    So what will happen to us grandfathered folks who have locals available but don't want them?


     
  18. Aug 28, 2006 #18 of 203
    tsmacro

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    Gee after reading so many posts of doom and gloom of how this whole thing was going to be the undoing of Dish and yet somehow Charlie and E* manage to work it all out.......again! Of course what was even more annoying were the people with the holier than thou attitudes that were just enjoying the whole thing way too much and assuring us all that everyone with any kind of distant networks for any reason was going to lose them and it was all well deserved because Dish was breaking the rules by allowing subscribers to break the rules. After all Dish and its rogue subscribers deserved to be punished for playing fast and loose with the rules. :sure: And yet here we are everything but some minor details to be hammered out and the distants are still here and will continue to be. Let me go out on a limb here and say Dish will also get through the TiVo situation without ever turning off anyones DVR and the company will continue to make plenty of $$$ and make Charlie and the shareholders happy.
     
  19. Aug 28, 2006 #19 of 203
    JohnH

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    Well, it ain't over 'til the maybe not so fat lady sings. :)
     
  20. Aug 28, 2006 #20 of 203
    spaceghostinME

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    It's easy to not understand the hoopla when you are not in the 5% not being served and without the hope of being served anytime soon. Here in the Bangor, Maine area we do not have locals via satellite and as far as I know we won't be getting them anytime soon, although maybe we're one of the 10 being included in the bump from 165 to 175. To top things off, I personally live an a town that doesn't even have cable, so its either OTA or nothing - and most of the OTA stations come in poorly where we are located. But, because we're clearly in the Bangor market, we have no choice - waivers have not and will not be granted by the locals. I basically do not watch NBC, ABC, CBS, or PBS because they are not provided by satellite (but I do get Fox distants). While I'm with D* and not E*, the point is the same, there's still 35-45 markets that are not served with locals via satellite and that are still being underserved when it comes to the 4 major networks - yes we make up 5% or less of the population, but I think that we're kind of tired of being second class citizens when it comes to providing locals to all DMAs...
     
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