DBS Provider Says Other Fox Nets Became Part of Negotiations Typically, when a service disruption occurs it is the programmer that pulls the signal, as the distributor is more than happy to continue to offer the content under the prevailing rate under the extant contract.
Fox’s CEO believes minority TV channels need to be dumped from pay TV in order to make it more competitive with skinny bundles. He thinks reducing the number of channels is key to making pay TV more competitive: “just the amount of stuff that’s out there that just nobody watches and the sort of plus-one channels and the other bits and pieces, all of them incremental spin-offs. That is going to be a really hard question for the [pay TV operators] to say what do we decide not to have.”
Megyn Kelly's future at Fox News is already uncertain. Sean Hannity just gave her another reason to consider bolting the network next year.
“As has been widely reported, Fox News previously offered Ms. Tantaros seven figures to renounce her harassment claims against Ailes (and others) in exchange for her eternal silence,” said Judd Burstein, a lawyer representing Tantaros in the matter, in a statement. ” She summarily refused their offer, and believes that any settlement must provide for the cleaning up of Fox News, a task that has regrettably fallen squarely on her shoulders.”
Contracts with most of the biggest stars on Fox News contain something unusual: A "key man clause" giving them an escape hatch if the company's "key man," CEO Roger Ailes, exited. The key man clause explained 7 p.m. host Greta Van Susteren's sudden exit last week. Others thought about making a similar move. Television industry sources say 3 p.m. newsman Shep Smith also expressed interest in possibly leaving. "He's sniffed around. Wouldn't you, if you had the option?" one of the sources said.
Once again, Fox News is breaking all the rules in terms of how things in the media are world are supposed to happen. Only these days, it’s always in a bad way. If there is anyone at Fox who doesn’t feel as if the earth is crumbling under their feet, they better look again. Today’s misery index at Fox includes the announcement that Greta Van Susteren, a stalwart in the channel’s nightly lineup, is gone – just like that after 14 years.
The billion-dollar-plus (a year, in profit) question is whether their involvement in the succession plans at Fox News fundamentally changes a network that has functioned at times as a more influential, conservative presence in American politics than the Republican Party itself. It immediately raised new questions about whether the Murdochs would be forced into a bigger house cleaning of Mr. Ailes’s remaining team of lieutenants at Fox News, where, it seems, sexual harassment payouts were not followed by the recognition that there just might be a problem, let alone by any obvious attempts to aggressively address the corporate culture that facilitated the behavior in the first place.
Encouraging viewers to switch providers is a common channel owner tactic in standoffs like this one. If history is any guide, Fox's parent company Twenty-First Century Fox wants Dish to accept higher rates for Fox News and restore the channel as soon as possible.
Dish is losing subscribers, Fox is losing ratings and viewers are losing patience, fed up with the corporate mudslinging and tired of feeling like pawns in what appears to outsiders as a petty battle over bottom lines.
Many people I spoke with believe that the current management arrangement is just a stopgap until the election. “As of November 9, there will be a bloodbath at Fox,” predicts one host. “After the election, the prime-time lineup could be eviscerated. O’Reilly’s been talking about retirement. Megyn could go to another network. And Hannity will go to Trump TV.”
“The real issue that makes women so fearful and so afraid is what comes next,” she said. “At Fox, you have a company that not only sexually harasses, but is willing to empower its executives and use company resources to carry out ongoing harassment in the form of retaliation.”
Dish called out the increasing amounts of money broadcasters demand for retransmission consent, adding that retransmission fees have risen 22,500 percent between 2005 and 2015. “If the price of other consumer goods rose that fast, consumers would be priced out of almost everything – a dozen eggs would be nearly $350, a large coffee would be over $400 and a gallon of milk would be over $700,” said Schneider in her testimony.
Schneider said that “broadcasters’ disproportionate leverage” has led a rise in blackouts, from 12 blackouts in 2010 to more than 180 blackouts in 2015. “Blackouts inflict real injury on distributors, while barely leaving a mark on the broadcasters.” In addition to going in on broadcasters, Dish’s Schneider also called out programmers for bundling practices that force distributors to accept channels they don’t want in order to get the channels their customer do want.
While pay-TV operators continue to face year-end rebuke for their annual rate increases for video services, these price increases have not kept up with the growth in programming costs, Evercore analyst Vijay Jayant told investors. While consumers will pay, on average, about 3 percent to 4 percent more per month on their pay-TV bill, operators will pay 8 percent to 10 percent more this year for programming.
Television viewers around the country endured a record 193 blackouts in 2015, up from 94 the previous year and eight in 2010, due to an intensifying battle between cable companies and the broadcasters who provide a key part of their programming “Broadcasters are responsible for 100% of blocking,” Mr. Blum said. “This is a real crisis…They are using consumers as negotiating pawns.”
At issue are fees Tribune is seeking for carriage of its stations and WGN America. In a statement, Dish Network said Tribune was demanding an unreasonable price increase for its local channels, which are available free with an antenna. In addition, an increase for WGN America isn’t warranted because the channel no longer carries Chicago Cubs games and its ratings are down in Dish homes, the satellite broadcaster said. “Tribune is using local viewers as leverage to raise rates for WGN America—a channel that is in decline,”
The stations’ owners are prohibiting their signals from reaching their homes unless they receive a significant increase in their current fees just to let the same families keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air and often online," said DirecTV
Comcast has apparently balked at YES's reported fee hike of 33 percent. Comcast says that price is too high because, as a spokesman told NJAM last fall, "over 90 percent of 900,000 plus customers who receive YES Network didn't watch the equivalent of even one quarter of those [130 baseball] games."
SNL Kagan’s projections call for the average TV station’s monthly per-subscriber fee to grow from $1.40 this year to $2.21 by 2022.
Turner Broadcasting, which licenses the channels for distribution to subscription services, pulled the channels from Dish's lineup upon the expiration of its current deal with the satellite service after the two companies were unable to negotiate renewed distribution terms. Programming blackouts have become a frequent occurrence of late in disputes between programming providers and subscription services.
Earlier this year, Cablevision Systems Corp. sued Viacom over its bundling of networks. Viacom, Cablevision charged, “effectively forces Cablevision’s customers to pay for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the channels they actually want.” Recently, Cable ONE tried to unbundle Turner Networks, but Turner said ‘no,’ and took their nine channels dark.Read More