DISH Network Writes Great Press Releases

August 28, 2006

DISH NetworkYeah I know two DISH posts in a row; bear with me DISH has been buzzing lately. This one has a bit of a back story so I’ll get that away of the way first.

Satellite TV always had one dominant problem to overcome before it could compete head-to-head with cable TV, namely how to provide local channels to sat subscribers. Voom (among others) tried to address the problem by including professional OTA antenna installations, to feed their SAT/OTA receivers, it worked for some but not all.

DirecTV and DISH on the other hand fully understood that the majority of satellite customers, weren’t all that interested in having to deal with a second antenna, (for off-air) much less trying to explain to customers that they still needed a “old fashioned” antenna to go with their new high-tech satellite dish.

Extremely long story short, the satellite providers began transmitting local channels into local markets or LiL for short, consequently the practice of offering distant feeds or rather non-local network feeds sprang up. As you can guess this is where much of the legal posturing and headaches began.

Local network affiliates argued they were missing out on revenue from local advertisers because someone in Houston Texas wasn’t likely to pick up the phone and call a plumber who paid to advertise his business on a Baton Rouge Louisiana CBS affiliate.

The big problem was satellite capacity; satellite bandwidth is a precious commodity there just wasn’t enough of it to go around in the boom days of satellite television and this resulted in many providers transmitting those distant feeds into markets with existing local affiliates, hence the lawsuits and subscribers who cried foul when service was denied.

With additional satellite launches, spot-beam transmissions and most importantly the SHIVA legislation much of this was ultimately settled by the establishment of designated market areas. Local affiliates were satisfied that they were indeed reaching their target audience. End of story right? not quite.

As you can imagine satellite has a larger coverage area than off-air feeds, or rather in many remote, rural areas satellite remains the only viable means of television transmission, while in other areas legal wrangling over transmission rights continues to this very day.

Which brings us to today’s news. This morning DISH Network announced “EchoStar (DISH Network ) Settles Nine Year Litigation With ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox Affiliate Associations”. Great news for DISH subscribers right? well probably but its not certain just yet. Fox appears to be the lone hold-out in the recent negotiations to once and for all cement local in local broadcasts to satellite subscribers.

DISH has indeed (apparently) reached an agreement with ABC, NBC and CBS, but Fox reportedly “declined EchoStar’s universal settlement offer and pulled out of the discussions” forcing DISH negotiate with approximately 25 Fox affiliates directly.

Should any one of those affiliates walk away from the bargaining table DISH would be placed in the precarious position of stating something to the effect of “We offer most local channels” or “many local channels offered” rather than an all encompassing ‘we offer local channels’ across the board.

So again, while this is good news for all DISH subscribers, if you happen to fall under one of those 25 (non-disclosed) local affiliates, it might not be ‘great news’. But I gotta hand it to DISH, they do write great press releases.

Don’t take this as a knock on DISH, again I think their doing a great job overall, lets just hope they can put the local affiliate headaches to rest and move beyond the TiVo debacle. As I’ve stated previously DISH Network’s commitment to HDTV appears solid and I’d hate to see these other annoyances undermine those HD advances.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Dish Network News


Comments

  • Nathan

    Dish Network offers local channels for free. DirecTV charches $5.99 monthly. Not that much of a difference.

  • Nathan

    Dish Network offers local channels for free. DirecTV charches $5.99 monthly. Not that much of a difference.

  • grovberg

    Personally I see this as a HUGE victory for Dish. Like many people, I’m in a zip code where I’m SUPPOSED to be able to get OTA channels (according to both Dish and DirecTV), but the reality is I can not get ANY local channels OTA no matter how high or accurately the antennae is placed. This makes either satellite system incomplete and gives the local cable system a fine monopoly.

    Even without Fox, this makes Dish a viable alternative to cable and one I’m extremely eager to try out.

  • grovberg

    Personally I see this as a HUGE victory for Dish. Like many people, I’m in a zip code where I’m SUPPOSED to be able to get OTA channels (according to both Dish and DirecTV), but the reality is I can not get ANY local channels OTA no matter how high or accurately the antennae is placed. This makes either satellite system incomplete and gives the local cable system a fine monopoly.

    Even without Fox, this makes Dish a viable alternative to cable and one I’m extremely eager to try out.