For the third time in just a few short months, more channels are blacked out for Dish Network customers. This time it’s Fox News and Fox Business Network, two channels popular among conservatives, that are off the air, with Dish threatening to drop them completely. Once again the fight has turned nasty and gone public, with both Dish and Fox blaming each other for the dispute. If that sounds familiar, it’s likely because the same blame game has played out between Dish and both Turner Broadcasting and CBS.
It seems that Dish is trying to stem the rising cost of content by playing hardball in negotiations with the cable networks. While this strategy usually ends with the TV operator caving to the network as frustrated customers switch to providers that still offer the channels they want. However, given that Dish is engaging in it’s third public spat with the networks in just a few months, it would seem that they’re feeling like they have something of an advantage.
Dish Network’s dispute with Turner focused on the money, while their beef with CBS was a bit more complicated, with sticking points including CBS’s new standalone streaming service, and Dish’s DVR “Auto-hop” feature allowing users to skip over commercials on recorded programming automatically. Currently Dish has accused Fox of trying to push additional channels along with those up for renewal, a tactic long employed by the networks to increase subscribers for their lesser known channels by bundling them with the more popular ones, and of course reap additional per-subscriber fees for those channels in the process.
It’s no coincidence that content prices are out of control, just like US cable bills, and these tactics employed by the networks result in many of the biggest frustrations for cable subscribers. Cable bills average $86 a month, topping $100 for many subscribers, and with hundreds of channels, literally everyone ends up paying for dozens that they don’t watch. Dish may be trying to take a stand, but things don’t seem to be changing for the better, largely because the entire pay-TV industry currently operates on a business model that is unsustainable. The networks have all the leverage, so digging in like Dish has done tends not to pay off for the TV providers.
Rabbit TV Plus is different. Rather than pay for the rights to distribute their content, we deliver users to the content source, making them responsible for the delivery and monetization of that content. What that means for us is that we never have to worry about paying retransmission fees or high stakes negotiations that threaten to blackout channels and leave our mutual customers in the lurch the way Dish’s fights have done. For just $10 a year, our subscribers can watch their favorite shows anytime, anywhere, and on any device, without worrying about channel blackouts.