The Hollywood strike negotiations and the carriage dispute issues currently roiling the media industry are clearly intertwined. How the studios and networks negotiate through both will determine the future of news and entertainment.
More than 10 million DirecTV customers are without Nexstar stations as of Sunday evening after the two companies failed to come to terms on a new deal. DirecTV removed Nexstar’s 159 TV stations from its satellite, cable and streaming systems as a result, which includes major broadcast networks CBS, Fox, ABC, NBC and The CW as well as NewsNation, the cable news channel. Subscribers in 113 markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver, are all affected.
Paducah Television, based in Providence, R.I., operates stations, in Lincoln, Neb.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; and Providence, and doing business as Standard Media, said Dish refused offers from bit and was insisting on significant rate reductions.
Nexstar Media Group stations went dark in homes subscribing Verizon Fios at midnight on Friday as the two companies’ retransmission agreement expired without the sides being able to agree on an extension. Nexstar said that nearly 3 million subscribers and 13 of its TV stations serving 10 markets are affected.
The end of September brought in the expiration of another carriage deal with no agreement in place to renew it. At midnight on Sept. 30, the Disney-owned television stations that carry ABC programming as well as cable networks ESPN, FX Networks, Nat Geo, Freeform and Disney Channel, are no longer available on Dish and Sling TV. The news comes just a couple of days after the Game Show Network was restored on Dish and Sling TV after it too went dark over a carriage dispute. The disruption also comes as ABC is launching the new seasons of its series at the start of the broadcast season,
Dish Network tonight could lose 12 stations in seven markets due to a carriage dispute with their owner, Morgan Murphy Media.
After negotiations failed to reach fruition on Friday, Disney networks, including ESPN, have gone dark on YouTube TV. Disney had indicated earlier this week it was “optimistic” about the prospect of resolving the carriage dispute. But the parties said the discussions had not resulted in an agreement.
Dish Network says that AT&T SportsNet and Root Sports Regional Sports Networks were removed from Dish TV Thursday in Denver, Pittsburgh and Seattle.
More than 140 Sinclair-owned stations are set to go dark today because of a carriage dispute between Sinclair and Dish Network. The latest disagreement over retransmission fees will affect 3.5 million Dish subscribers in 38% of the country.
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.