With the October 31st deadline fast approaching, Dish Network satellite TV provider and Fox Networks finally came to an agreement Friday afternoon that kept the Fox local channels on air and brought back the Fox channels dropped at the beginning of the month. More importantly, the deal will finally end the very public PR battle which had the two companies bad mouthing each other for weeks.
Dave Shull, Senior Vice President of Programming for DISH Network, sums up the battle with a word of thanks, “We thank our customers, our retail and channel partners, and our employees for their support through these negotiations, which we believe resulted in a fair deal that reinforces DISH Network’s position as the best value in television.”
However, Evie Haskell of Sky Report appropriately comments on the finality of the argument by stating, “And so the battle ends. For now. Because there will be a next time … and a next … and a next until (and unless) the FCC and/or Congress take another look at what is, inherently, a rigged negotiations process. Caught between retrans, must carry and the free ‘public’ spectrum granted to broadcasters, cable operators, satellite folks and telcoTV players have negotiating power about on a par with a high school football team facing the mighty Steelers.”
So what about Cablevision and other cable TV providers? Where does the Dish Network victory leave Cablevision in its battle against Fox Networks? Well, they renegotiated a retransmission contract that would allow Cablevision customers to finally catch the World Series, but they weren’t happy about it. According to a statement released by Cablevision, the cable company ultimately agreed to pay Fox an ”
unfair price for multiple channels of its programming including many in which our customers have little or no interest.” Meaning, its customer have access to Fox sports and local Fox programming, but Cablevision is also forced to pay for lesser viewed channels that don’t appeal to many viewers.