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Sticky thread for programming contracts?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by YakeVlad, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. YakeVlad

    YakeVlad Legend

    Aug 12, 2011
    Programming contract disputes and potential blackouts are becoming more common these days. Every time another one flares up, people become concerned with the expiration of contracts with other media companies too. In the Viacom dispute for example, people start posting questions about when the Disney/ABC contract is up. Variety of answers are posted with most being inaccurate and confusion ensues. Not to mention the fact that they're taking the thread for the current dispute off topic.

    I know that it won't completely alleviate the problem, but would it be possible for one of the moderators to compile a list of the programming contracts with their current expiration dates and create a locked sticky thread for everyone to reference?
  2. Kevin F

    Kevin F Hall Of Fame

    May 9, 2010
    Certainly a great idea.

    However, most companies don't release dates regarding when their contracts expire in fear of loosing customers towards those dates.

  3. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    Would be a good idea, but the moderators don't know much beyond what we can spy on Google.

    From news articles I know the following:

    Due to expire by the end of this year:

    - Discovery Communications.
    - CBS.

    Recently negotiated:

    - AMC Networks. (2011)
    - Fox. (2011)


    - The only public record I found re: Disney was their negotiation in 2003. If they negotiated for a 10 year contract, that would put the date on 2013. However, it would be very likely that a contract was signed for less than that in 2003, and the negotiations were quickly fruitful when they were conducted a number of years later and not publicly acknowledged. I do know, however, that Comcast in January signed a 10 year deal with Disney, so it is not uncommon to have long contracts.

    Also, there are many, many contract deals. Small independent stations, thousands of locals owned by probably dozens, if not hundreds of companies, DirecTV probably has a "carriage agreement department" just dealing with all of this stuff. Only every so often they fail to get a deal and the public mudslinging begins.

    It would probably become an outdated thread pretty quickly if not being kept up constantly, and most of the negotiations are just not interesting to most people. I mean, if you do not live in Podunk, ND, and a small company controlling 1 local there is re-negotiating with DirecTV, do you really care?
  4. stoutman

    stoutman Godfather

    Feb 8, 2003
    Discovery answers the BBC HD question.
  5. TheRatPatrol

    TheRatPatrol Hall Of Fame

    Oct 1, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    I thought Fox got renewed October 2011, or have I lost track of time and it's been almost two years? I do remember it got settled on Halloween
  6. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    This ill-advisedly assumes that content is necessarily added as a result of an updated agreement. DIRECTV's careful avoidance of Epix in the Viacom agreement is evidence that this is flawed thinking.
  7. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    No, actually, it doesn't.

    BBC America is not owned by Discovery Communications, but by BBC Worldwide. What BBC Worldwide has done, instead of buying all their own technology etc, is make a deal with Discovery Communications to use their already-in-place technology to supply feeds to all the different cable and satellite companies.

    However, Discovery Communication does not own BBC America, and as such cannot speak for them. DirecTV needs to talk to BBC Worldwide to iron out contract details re: BBC America.

    This also means that if there is a dispute between DirecTV and Discovery, that BBC America won't go black.

    Vice versa, I do believe that Discovery Communication also leverage the BBC infrastructure through a similar kind of deal to carry their European counterparts of Discovery Channel etc on the European ASTRA satellites.
  8. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    No, you are right it was 2011.
  9. YakeVlad

    YakeVlad Legend

    Aug 12, 2011
    I agree that keeping track of all the lil agreements would be overwhelming. I should have been more specific in my initial post and refined the definition to keeping it to just the national content.

    I don't think keeping it up to date would be that big of a deal. It would only need to be updated when a new contract is signed and there are a limited number of national channel media conglomerates to begin with. We have some great folks like Sixto providing threads which are updated on a nearly daily basis, this I would think to be substantially less effort to maintain.
  10. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    We also need to be careful that someone doesn't misconstrue a contract end date as a threat to lose the channels. Like with Discovery, the chances are fairly great that it will be renewed without so much as a blip.
  11. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    Are you volunteering? :D

    Also, how "national" is a dispute like the one between Tribune and DirecTV in May this year? It involved 23 channels, 19 markets, only ONE national channel (WGN), but got plenty of attention when LiL's got blacked out, which was a much bigger deal in those 19 markets than losing the one national WGN channel.

    So, where does one draw the line? There are disputes that would involve a quarter of the nation in dozens of LiL's, could draw national media attention, but have no national channels whatsoever. Is that one more/less important than a small broadcaster that has e.g. only 1 national channel on DirecTV?
  12. YakeVlad

    YakeVlad Legend

    Aug 12, 2011
    I'd be willing to help research the info and assist in keeping the info up to date. But, creating and editing the thread itself is a moderator/admin function. I haven't been around long enough nor active enough in the forums to have earned such privilege.

    Yeah, I remember the Tribune dispute and one a year or two ago with Sinclair Broadcasting. They're both pretty experienced at slinging mud at providers, Sinclair especially.

    You make some good points, but your example creates a slippery slope. Drawing the line could be a tricky prospect if the determining factor is not tied to the break between nationals and LiLs. As your example illustrates media companies owning local affiliates often do so in multiple markets and their impact can have an effect on large portions of the country. But, they don't affect the entire DirecTV US customer base. And where would you draw the line? Number of stations owned greater than X? Number of customers affected? Geographic distribution? Hence my suggestion of restricting it by the national/LiL line. But, I'm open to ideas and if anyone can come with the something better I'm all for it.
  13. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    I think the biggest problem you will be facing with a thread like this, is there is always missing information, and it will need to be updated constantly. Additionally, I don't know where to get the information from. I guess one could look at each channel in the DirecTV lineup, see who its owner is, and then start creating an overview of which companies have national channels, 1 or more, and then do the Google research for each of those companies to find out whether the media has said anything about a new carriage agreement.

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