In the latest Pay TV provider-sports network dispute, we find that Dish Network is threatening to pull ESPN and its sister Disney channels if an agreement isn't made by the end of the month according to Ad Age. Yes, it's another instance where subscribers could lose a sports network over subscriber fees.
You may think this is posturing or an idle threat, but before you dismiss this, you should know that Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen isn't afraid to pull networks over rising fees. Since 2010, Dish dropped the Fox cable networks, AMC, Viacom's networks, Raycom's local stations and the Sinclair Broadcast Group only to restore them later. Dish has also removed New York regional sports networks MSG and SNY over their cost and has yet to return them to its lineup.
ESPN and Dish have had a contentious relationship with the satellite provider suing the Worldwide Leader three years ago seeking over $150 milllion in damages saying the network breached the contract that is about to expire. The two sides settled the dispute earlier this year, but for a fraction of what Dish was seeking. Now with a September 30 deadline looming, Ergen has told investors that he won't be afraid to remove ESPN and its sister Disney networks if the two sides can't reach an agreeement.
Ergen said, "There could be a day when strategically, companies just can't get together, where they go opposite directions and they both have strategies that work for them, and we're prepared to go either way,"
ESPN is the most expensive of all cable networks charging over $5 per subscriber. For its new contract, ESPN is seeking increases that could reach as high as $8 per subscriber. If Dish removes ESPN and its sister networks from its lineup, it could mean the loss of 14 million subscribers.
The Dish-AMC dispute left viewers without that network and IFC for three months. Dish's removal of the Viacom networks (MTV, VH1 and others) lasted for a week. If the dispute with ESPN is as contentious as its lawsuit, it could mean the loss of the network for an extended period of time. And just like the recent CBS-Time Warner Cable impasse that lasted for one month, viewers were left holding the bag.
No one wants to lose a channel, but one has to think the cable and satellite providers are secretly rooting for Dish to play hardball with ESPN, to control its fees and keep costs down. However, ESPN is hoping to increase its take from the providers so it can continue to pay for sports rights and prevent Fox Sports 1 and NBCSN from gaining ground.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Right now, there's still time to get an agreement done to prevent a blackout, but the longer this goes, the chances for ESPN fall by the wayside increase. We will monitor the story until there's a resolution.
It's about time one of the providers comes up on the losing end. I am predicting that if DISH and Disney do not reach an agreement this month, the blackout will, at first, definitely extend into the new year, and secondly, it will be at least the end of July or the early part of August before DISH gets the ESPN channels back, along with the ABC-TV network affiliates that are owned-and-operated, and all of the other Disney networks. This is going to hurt DISH more than it's going to hurt Disney, or any other cable, satellite or telco provider in the U.S. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with DISH until 2017, so I'll have to do without ESPN, unless Mr. Iger and Mr. Ergen can reach a new carriage deal. In fact, they had BETTER get it done before the month ends, or else. GET THE DEAL DONE IMMEDIATELY!!!!!
Dish will cave they will pull ESPN, ABC and Disney Channel from the lineup Dish will lose subscribers who care about those channels which is no where near 14 million. DIRECT TV will use it against them to try take their subscribers from them dish will try to use FS1 and NBCSN as leverage against ESPN it will go back and forth until DISH see's more and more subscribers choose Direct TV over them. you know the sports lovers who actually watch Monday Night Football and watch SPORTSCENTER religiously believe me I know plenty of people who do every morning without missing a beat even watching it on there tablets and phones will at work. After all of this DISH will give probably get watch espn, espn 3 espnnews HD and all the HD channels that we are missing from earlier disputes with Disney. but the part that sucks is that we will have to pay for it watching our bills go up to the point were dish cannot hold over the heads of everyone claiming that direct tv rips off its customers and charges hundreds more than them and it will not stop they estimate that if dish caves that dish could be paying more than 16 dollars per subscriber by 2020
What's interesting is both Disney and DISH have been saying really nice things about each other lately with the ESPN president stating on 8/21/13 that both sides are engaged and that they're making good progress and expect to have a deal done before September 30. Joe Clayton, DISH CEO, has been saying the same thing going so far as to say that they don't expect any further channel disputes this year.
So where's this coming from? Analysts reading the transcript of DISH Q2 2013 earnings conference call where Charlie Ergen, DISH Chairman, answered some very direct questions about the future of the industry and the rising cost of sports. His comments reported here and elsewhere (this article credits Ad Age) are taken out of context and with each re-telling of the story become more ominous as if there is some raging battle between DISH and Disney.
Given the history of recent retransmission agreements if talks had stalled and the sides were not engaged we'd now be seeing banners scrolling across the screen blaming each other and there would be competing web sites launched in an effort to enrage viewers. That hasn't happened .. yet.
GIVE US A BREAK..................I FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT DISH, DIRECT, AND VERIZON SELLING PACKAGES OF WORTHLESS PROGRAMS. HOW ABOUT PUTTING YOUR BIG BOY PANTS ON AND GIVE US A CHANNEL PRICE.
there is nothing that ESPN given me besides one football game a week. They waste hours re-reporting stuff that I can get in ten seconds online or via twitter. All of my local sports are on local providers, not ESPN.
Does not matter.
I hope you were referring to the loss of 14m subscribers from ESPN and not DISH. Look at the numbers. While very important, ESPN is not a necessity for the vast majority of TV viewers. The idea that all of DISH's subscriber base is going to drop because of a programming dispute, which is very common these days, is silly.
What do you expect Ergen to say in the middle of a negotiation? That they can't live without ESPN? Same exact thing with DTV and PAC12; this is a negotiation and they are all posturing. My money is on this getting resolved right at the end of the month and ESPN getting their full $8/sub/month from DISH. Will probably have to start airing ESPN37 or Disney Channel 14, targeting only 3 year olds whose favorite color is magenta, but it will get done.
'For its new contract, ESPN is seeking increases that could reach as high as $8 per subscriber. "
Typical corporate greed. ESPN can't control itself and for them to remain what "they want to be," they must pass that cost down to the consumer.
Here's an idea. The four-letter network can decide to run their business anyway they want. As a consumer, I will decide if I want to purchase it.
For the last five years, they haven't gotten a dime from me, yet, I am still able to watch most of their programming. The programs I want to watch.
Dish Network are tremendous cheapskates. They seemingly get into carriage disputes with EVERYBODY. If they want to try and be the only provider without the ESPN networks as well as the Disney Channel, ABC Family, and in some cases the local ABC affiliate, go ahead.
It won't end well for you, Dish. Without those channels, you're going to successfully piss off most men, women, teens, and kids. You'd best pay up.
I love Dish. I hope they dump ESPN. No way is ESPN worth 8 dollars a month. They aren't worth 5. Satellite and Cable companies need to take a stand and let ESPN know that they aren't the only game in town. Sports as a whole will be better off in the long run....
I honestly cannot believe Dish is even a viable competitor to DirecTV. Dish is just awful in too many ways to type here.
"ESPN is hoping to increase its take from the providers so it can continue to pay for sports rights and prevent Fox Sports 1 and NBCSN from gaining ground."
Thing is that could easily backfire is a carriage dispute lasts a week or more as subscribers will be forced to watch either FS1 or CBSSN for their sports fix (NBCSN is on the America's Top 250 package while all the other sports channels are either part of the Sports Pack or on America's Top 200/120 -- C'mon Dish!).
ESPN is a joke, they're good for nothing aside from their MNF broadcast. They fired hundreds of employees that had been there for years saying it was absolutely necessary. Meanwhile they built brand new over-the-top absurd studios and then went on a hiring spree of younger cheap employees. I don't buy one word they say when it comes to these disputes.
Dish is TERRIBLE! Remember when they dropped AMC for about a year? Horrible company, horrible customer service and trust me, I am no fan of the four-letter sports network.
And our bills will continue to rise and rise. First they ran us out of the arenas and stadiums. Now they are determined to make sure we can't afford to watch the games at home.
ESPN could just stop hiring so called "experts" that all say the same thing for segments on Sportscenter or whatever dumb show. That would keep costs down.
@stvferra Even that one game a week (MNF) has been a dud the last couple of seasons. This year's schedule is a little better, but it's not must-see TV.
@MikeBratton It'll never happen. DISH, DTV, ATT, et al would love it, but the Disney's, Viacom's, NBC's etc would hate it. For example ESPN costs every subscriber (wether you watch it or not) up to $6/mo and it's included in almost every basic programming tier or higher. Just using DISH and DTV as an example .. ESPN get's $6/mo x 35 million domestic customers.
Study's show that only 35% of viewers would switch providers if ESPN was dropped by their current provider, and the vast majority of them would only do so if the new provider was no more expensive than their current provider.
That brings me to a la carte. Say ESPN goes only a la carte, how much would they have to charge for it to make up the lost revenue from the 25 million customers who don't care about the channel enough to pay for it (again using DISH and DTV as an example)? Then how much do you charge for the other ESPN channels? How much do you now charge for Fox Sports 1, FS2, and your regional sports network? NBC Sports? And if it all goes a la carte, how much do you charge for the channels you wife wants? The ones your kids want? What about the AMC networks? A la carte is not feasible because as much as we may not like the channels WE personally find useless the "economy of scale" approach keeps our overall cost down.
And don't think for a second that if a la carte happens you'll be able to get your local channels with an antenna. FOX is already threatening to forgo their "free government provided airwaves" in favor of a system that would monetize their signal to everyone. If they can do it then the only thing you'll get free via antenna will be PBS because the other 3 networks will follow in fast order.
@tman16 I got to believe that DISH has a very good idea of how many hours their customers watch these channels. If they don't, they are in the wrong business.
Maybe they are finally saying to these networks, "We know how many of our subscribers watch your channels, and the justification for a higher fee is just not warranted."
@sir boxington The $8 per subscriber thing has to be a ruse. FOX did something similar not that long ago in the weeks leading to the launch of FS1 & 2 (It was more like $.82 per sub instead of $.27 or something like that, but it still was a big increase). They were able find a reasonable deal after they realized they weren't going to take the bait. I imagine this is probably the same thing. If it isn't, then the execs at ESPN are over their heads.
All I care about is whether the new deal will include WatchESPN (and maybe WatchABC? And yes there's now such a thing) as well as the temporary Goal Line and Buzzer Beater networks. And maybe the SEC Network once it launches. That's all.
@risnuff I agree with you on that one!
@Kevin Smith I LOVE DISH HOPPER DON,T LIKE ESPN OR DISNEY CHANNEL WHY SHOULD I PAY 8 DOLLARS FOR CHANNELS I DON,T LIKE . I SAY GOODBYE ESPN AND DISNEY CHANNEL . I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT ON ABOUT DUMPING ESPN
@crippenstation When carriage disputes like this have happened in the past, Dish has usually added another channel in a given tier in place of the channel they pull. Thus, I expect Fox Sports 1 and 2 and CBSSN to take ESPN's place until/unless a resolution is reached.
@Matt Pelc I hope DISH goes out of business before 2015 arrives. In my mind, DISH deserves to go in the same direction that companies like Lehman Brothers and Enron did during the 2000s.