The Yankees RSN went dark on Sept. 1. Frontier is also at a carriage impasse with Fox Sports RSNs.
NBCUniversal’s Telemundo station and cable networks have been blacked out to Liberty Cablevision’s Puerto Rico subscribers in a carriage fee dispute. The agreement was set to expire at the end of 2019, but the pact included an opt-out clause, effective March 31. A deal appeared to be close, but fell through, NBCU said.
Potential Viacom channels being dropped from DirecTV could have a major multibillion-dollar effect on the network group in terms of advertising and afffiliate revenue, says one analyst. Todd Juenger, media analyst at Bernstein Research, writes in a note: “Viacom would potentially lose $1 billion [per year] of affiliate revenue and $1 billion of advertising revenue. There would be very little offsetting costs.”
Viacom is blasting telco giant AT&T on several fronts as the companies wrestle over a carriage renewal deal that is vital to Viacom’s long-term financial health. As of Tuesday, Viacom had begun running crawls and promo spots on its channels warning viewers that Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and other channels could go dark on AT&T’s DirecTV as of midnight ET on Friday, when the current contract expires.
Univision on Tuesday said that Dish Network has decided not to renew its carriage agreement for Univision Deportes Network, broadending the dispute between the two companies. Dish dropped Univision’s lifestyle cable networks in April and its main channel in June. In recent statements, Dish has indicated little interest in bringing the channels back.
Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen, long known for his free-spoken, sharp-elbowed management style, described the company’s carriage dispute with HBO as the result of “purely an anti-competitive play” by the premium network’s new parent, AT&T.
AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia has accused the U.S. Department of Justice of “collaborating” with Dish Network in a high profile dispute over carrying HBO and Cinemax.
HBO has gone dark on the Dish Network amid a standoff over carriage agreements, the first time it has been off air on one of its major distributors in the company’s 40-year history.
Sling TV has stopped offering its Broadcast Extra add-on amid a program licensing dispute with Univision. “We are not currently offering our Broadcast Extra service, which includes ABC, Univision and UniMás, on Sling TV. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes with viewing the programming that matters to you,” said a Sling FAQ posted Monday.
Univision says that it offered Dish Network a short-term extension before its distribution agreement expired on Saturday, but that Dish turned it down, leading to a blackout of Univision’s stations and some of its networks.
The largest Spanish-language network, already buffeted by declining ratings, on Monday suffered through its third day of being blacked out on Dish Network and Sling TV. The carriage dispute is keeping Univision away from the pay TV outlets’ 13 million subscribers. Talks between the parties continue.
Another carriage dispute looms. Univision Communications’ lifestyle channels have been dark on Dish Network since around 7 p.m. ET Saturday when the current carriage dispute expired. Univision said it offered an extension agreement to Dish to keep the channels live but was refused.
Altice USA has fired back at Starz over the cable network’s FCC request for emergency injunctive relief in the carriage standoff that is now in its fourth week. Starz has been dark on Altice USA systems since Jan. 1. Last week, Starz asked the FCC to order Starz-Encore channels back on Altice USA systems because the operator violated FCC rules regarding giving subscribers notice of a major programming change. Altice on Tuesday argued in its response to the FCC that Starz’ complaint “has no basis in fact, law or policy.”
As the Starz-Altice USA carriage dispute drags on, the Lionsgate-owned network has filed two separate petitions with the FCC that aim to force the cable company to restore it on New York-area Optimum systems.
While Starz remains dark on Altice USA’s Optimum cable systems, the premium cable network has reached a new multi-year carriage deal with Verizon FiOS, Optimum’s rival in the New York metro area.
Last-minute negotiations over carriage rights for Starz and Encore on the Altice USA cable systems failed, resulting in the channels going dark as of the new year.
Univision is ratcheting up its criticism of Verizon for deciding to “withhold Univision news, information and services from their Hispanic subscribers” by dropping the network’s signal from its FiOS service in a carriage dispute.
Spectrum cable TV subscribers won’t have to give up their MTV anytime soon, as Charter Communications and Viacom have seemingly avoided a carriage dispute that could have knocked several networks off the service while the companies hashed out their differences in the court of public opinion. “Viacom and Charter have reached an agreement in principle,” the two said Tuesday in a joint statement. “Spectrum subscribers will continue to have access to Viacom’s networks, without disruption, while we finalize terms.”
In a surprise move, Univision was dropped from Verizon FiOS Monday at about 5 p.m. ET, where most of the 5 million or so affected customers are. The sides had been negotiating, but being dropped appears to have caught Univision off guard.
Viacom and Charter Communications have agreed to a “short-term” extension of their carriage negotiations and will continue trying to reach a solution that will enable some 16.6 million customers to keep watching MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and many other networks.
Viacom Inc., parent of networks including MTV and Nickelodeon, launched TV ads this week urging its viewers to call customer service at cable company Spectrum ahead of a deadline that may result in a blackout for 16.6 million customers.
Fox Networks on Tuesday evening again extended a deadline in a programming dispute with Charter Communications, but as of yet hasn’t pulled its signal from the cable operator’s systems.
Fox is threatening to pull its cable networks, and regional sports channels, from all Charter-owned cable systems if the cable operator does not meet its carriage fee demands. The two companies have been negotiating a new carriage agreement, but Fox has established a web site, KeepMyNets.com, that says the channels could be removed today. Channels affected include FX, National Geographic, the Fox Sports channel, the Fox-owned regional sports channels and Fox Deportes.
Fox Networks Group has become the latest to challenge the nation’s No. 2 cable company over its carriage fees. The division that includes FX Networks, National Geographic, Fox Sports and 19 regional sports networks fired a shot across the bow Thursday night, warning it could cut off access to Charter’s 16 million Spectrum subscribers as early as Saturday.
NFL Network and NFL RedZone have been dropped from Dish’s lineup. The contact between the NFL and the satellite television provider expired at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, at which time Dish customers were no longer able to access the league’s channels.
Viacom’s 18 channels remained intact on Dish early Thursday even as the midnight ET deadline for the sides to reach a new carriage agreement passed. The fact that the channels stayed on past the contract expiration deadline indicates that the two sides are continuing to negotiate in an effort to avert a blackout that threatens to hit the bottom lines of both companies. Dish’s satellite TV service reaches about 13.8 million subscribers around the country.
Dish CEO Charlie Ergen said his company was prepared to drop Viacom channels permanently if the satellite provider can’t reach a deal on fees with the programmer. “We’re prepared to move on as Suddenlink and others have done without the content,” he said, speaking on a call with analysts to discuss quarterly results.
Negotiations between Viacom and Dish Networks are going down to the wire. Without a new agreement by Wednesday night, nearly 14 million customer homes would lose access to Viacom channels, including MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike, BET and Nickelodeon.
Over the last few months, disputes between programmers and distributors have moved to a new level of conflict with allegations that institutionalized racism at large media companies is driving discriminatory business decisions. The latest involves Univision accusing AT&T of refusing to pay the company’s Spanish-language stations retransmission fees on a par with its English-language network counterparts in a new contract with U-Verse.
With the Yankees in spring training and its carriage impasse with Comcast into its fourth month, regional sports channel YES Network has initiated a multi-million advertising campaign urging the MSO’s subscribers to change pay TV services.
A consortium of small cable companies that represents about four million homes is refusing to pay a demand for what they claim is a tripling of AMC Networks’ fees — and are telling subscribers they can get AMC’s popular The Walking Dead through streaming services.
The current deal between Dish and 21st Century Fox expired on Saturday at midnight, so now Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network are not available on the satellite TV provider. Both sides in the latest spat are blaming each other. Dish says that 21st Century Fox was blocking access to the two chancels as part of contract negotiations. Fox says Dish shut down the server at 11:50 p.m. Saturday, 10 minutes before the contract ended.
CBS just threw down the gauntlet: Dish Network subscribers will lose access to CBS-owned stations Thursday at 7 p.m. ET/4 PT if they can’t reach terms on a new carriage deal. The broadcaster says that after six months of talks Dish has “not been operating with the same sense of urgency” to make a deal.
CBS and Dish Network have set a second short-term contract extension to avoid a blackout while negotiations on a carriage deal for CBS-owned TV stations progress with the satellite service. The latest extension will stretch into next week, giving both sides breathing room during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.