So far this year, there have been three battles between TV distributors and Media companies, in part due to the lack of new subscribers to TV, and the rising cost of carrying many channels to these satellite providers. Companies such as Viacom have become more profitable since 2010, while satellite TV providers profits have plateaued as they fight each other for new subscribers. The result has been bitter legal battles over carriage fees between companies like Disney, Tribune, DirecTV and Dish Network.
In March, Tribune pulled its programming from DirecTV after the two media giants failed to reach a settlement during contract negotiations. The result was the loss of local CW and Fox affiliates, including shows like “American Idol,” “Glee,” “New Girl” and “Gossip Girl.” Baseball fans were also in the dark, as they lost the Cubs and White Sox via WGN America, the Mets via WPIX-TV in New York, and the Phillies on WPHL-TV in Philadelphia. The deal was later resolved, but not without public scrutiny for both sides.
At the end of June, Dish Network dropped AMC Networks, which include channels AMC, IFC, We TV, because AMC Networks forced Dish to carry IFC and We, which Dish stated did not get sufficient ratings. AMC claims this is all just because of an unrelated lawsuit between the two companies; nonetheless, loyal Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead viewers are out of luck as the dispute continues.
And just Tuesday, Viacom pulled its channels from DirecTV after they failed to agree to a 30% carriage fee increase. Viacom’s channels, which include Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and many others, have gone black on their respective DirecTV stations. The result has been a scathing advertising battle, in which Viacom is now advising people to switch carriers, a negotiation tactic to get their 30% increase, says DirecTV.
DirecTV refuses to cave on the fee increase, and says Viacom is making a mistake and its ratings will suffer. Ms. Denson of Viacom countered that, ”in the long term, DirecTV will endure long-term asset loss from customers leaving or customers never coming on in the first place.”
Whatever the outcome ends up, we’ve been taking note of the bitter battles between satellite carriers and TV giants, and the industry’s cost pressures could mean the battles are likely to continue.
You can read more at abcnews.com.