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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Dish getting ditched

(Full page ad in Sunday's Detroit Free Press)
What the heck is going on with Dish Network? Apparently, as of Oct. 1, Dish subscribers lost FSN, FX and National Geographic channel. But let's be honest, the one that really matters is FSN.
Fox Sports Detroit is one of 18 regional Fox Sports networks removed. Ouch. Don't get between a fan and their regional sports coverage.
I've never had satellite TV, but I've seen these types of disputes before, as recently as 2007 and the introduction of the Big Ten Network. Cable networks want providers to dole out more money for their product. If Dish was smart, it wouldn't go down this road. Just like BTN, which later became a "normal" channel when cable systems wanted it to be on a special sports tier, fans will flock to get their sports.
This debate doesn't seem to be the same, but Dish has yet to accept multiple offers from Fox, according to Fox. The network says negotiations have been ongoing for the past six months. Fox says Dish's accusations that Fox is seeking a 50-percent increase are "flat-out wrong," noting it has made offers it deems "fair, reasonable and consistent with the agreements we have with other cable and satellite operators."
One element remains the same from the cable TV debate of '07: the providers have to take a stand against networks so subscribers don't think they're getting taken advantage of. It's that simple.
Fox and its negotiators clearly has the upper-hand in this one, what with the Pistons AND Red Wings season about to commence. No FSN, sure. You'll get a handful of Red Wings games a year on CBC "Hockey Night in Canada" or Versus, but more or less, FSD is the primary network to watch the Wings. And how often are the Pistons on another channel? Once or twice a year ABC Sunday basketball a couple times on ESPN?
The coalition "Get What I Paid For" is also reporting Dish is going to lose Fox 2 as of Nov. 1. The site belongs to Fox. Service providers were given an opportunity to be mentioned as other provider options.
Now, I'm not a 'Gleek' or anything, but that show is immensely popular. Oh, and not to mention, Fox still has the rights to the World Series AND the Super Bowl (this year, as part of a three-network rotation). I hope the Series isn't a good one, for Dishers, because Games 5-7 are scheduled from Nov. 1-4. And to kick viewers while they're down, you can forget about Sunday NFL coverage on Fox. Hope you weren't too attached to the Lions and the rest of your NFC teams.
I hope for Dish subscribers' sake, they didn't sign a long contract, or they can otherwise wiggle their way out, because Fox is going to get what it wants and Dish and its customers are going to end up eating the cost.
Bars, friends' houses or Internet streams, fans are going to find a way to get what they want. And ultimately, if that means "ditching the Dish," as the cable ads go, then so be it.


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