Dish is now involved in six different programming disputes that has forced the satcaster to remove dozens of channels including such high-profile favorites as HBO, the NFL Network, the Fox regional sports channels and local network affiliates (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) in select markets.
The satcaster’s latest scraps with local broadcasters Scripps and Apollo Global, which triggered the removal of 74 different network affiliates, has intensified the debate among Dish’s subscribers over the company’s strategy.
Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has long said he’s willing to allow certain channels to be blacked out if it means paying their owners less money when they return. (That is, if they return. Dish has been missing HBO now for nearly two years.) The Dish chief argues that playing tough at the negotiating table saves money and allows his company to provide lower prices than the competition.
The satellite TV service does offer lower prices than many pay TV operators, including longtime rival, DIRECTV.
For instance, Dish’s base plan, called America’s Top 120, features 190 channels and is available for $59.99 a month for two years. DIRECTV’s base plan, called Select, has 155 channels and is also available for $59.99. But that’s only for the first year. Unlike Dish, which offers the $59.99 a month rate for two years guaranteed, DIRECTV’s base price goes to at least $87 a month in year two.
That’s a significant difference. But is the price break worth the anguish of seeing your favorite channel blacked out for a period of time, or perhaps forever?
The Apollo and Scripps fee fights has triggered an outpouring of comments from Dish subscribers on social media sites with some backing Dish while others threatening to cancel their service.
Here are some of the more interesting viewpoints that have been posted in the last few days on Twitter:
— ZA Sports (@ZASports1) August 2, 2020
People who have DirecTV: do they have as many disputes/missing channels as Dish does? I’m currently going without ABC, FSOhio, Sportstime Ohio, NFL Network, and HBO thanks to Dish’s business practices.
— Shaddy (@IAmShaddy81) August 3, 2020
@dish What is happening with the negotiations with Cox Media Group to get our local channels back on? Getting tired of the same canned response. Are you even talking? My 18 years with DISH is about to end if you don’t stop blacking out channels.
— Judy Bible (@jb0728) August 3, 2020
For those in rural areas that doesn't work. I appreciate Charlie Ergen looking out for me but at what point do you drop his ass because you never know what channels you're going to have one day to the next? The whole industry needs a rude awakening.
— Greg Battreal (@GBattreal) July 25, 2020
I am a DISH customer asking for returned access to my stations. It's not fair that I as a consumer am unable to watch my content while a negotiation is taking place. Please return your channels to the air on DISH while you work to reach a deal.
— Lynda kleinman (@sincitylynda) July 30, 2020
@dish you suck so bad get the fox sports Ohio channels back! I’m tired of missing my sports!
— Aric Allen (@aricgallen) August 3, 2020
— Roberto Zuniga (@jrzuniga101) August 2, 2020
Came back to @dish to have channels removed that I originally signed up for. Now can’t watch my sports due to blackouts or channel disputes. Why should we pay the same price for less!?!?!
— Jeremy (@Preludeaws) August 2, 2020
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