I noticed on Saturday that a college football game I was trying to get was inexplicably unavailable, but had no idea why. Now I do. Dish Network claims that Fox is increasing carriage fees by 55%. Fox disputes that figure, but they’re not saying how much of an increase that they are asking for except that they are asking what they determine to be a “fair market value,” whatever that means.
This puts me in a bit of a spot because I had subscribed to the “Multi-sport Pack” in large part because of the Fox Sports regional networks, which have now been pulled, and some of the other channels they’re now giving away for free until this gets settled. Further, I am on one of the higher-tier plans due to two networks (FX and Versus), one of which has been pulled. There is also some concern that the local FOX affiliate could be pulled, though Dish says that is not the case for my affiliate. I decided to cancel the sports pack but have left the programming plan in place. The customer support guy waived the programming reduction fee in light of the circumstances. Ironically, the fact that I no longer gets the regional networks makes Versus more valuable to me, so the reduced programming in its own way ensures that I am going to stay on the more expensive plan at least until the end of the football season (though presumably they will have everything resolved by then.
I personally don’t have a dog in this fight, not having a particular affection for either of the entities involved. So while I was initially tempted to try to exact a pound of flesh from Dish Network for the inconvenience, I’ve decided to let it go. If they win the fight, it keeps programming more affordable (one would think), so I guess I am moderately in their favor. And, of course, I have little choice and they know it as we are under a two-year contract. Of course, had I known this was coming (and if it is not quickly resolved) I would have gone with DirecTV. The News Corporation, which owns FOX, has a majority stake in DirecTV. That means that not only is FX available right now, because of the relationship it is available on its cheapest tier (FX is on the most expensive for Dish). And, of course, DirecTV has another particular channel that Dish does not offer at all.
I also suspect that if I weren’t under contract, I would probably be canceling Dish Network as we speak. Just about every reason I went for them is moot. Now I know where they could put their Dish, I could get MTN (the channel Dish doesn’t offer), and I could be with a company that I have a longer relationship with. And, perhaps most importantly, I would have the FOX regional networks for this college football season when it matters the most. The fact that I am so willing to junk Dish Network does not speak well of their bargaining position. My parents left cable for DirecTV years and years ago when they got into a sparring match with ABC and its various channels. I don’t know that the cable/satellite companies ever really win these fights. I guess I’m kind of hoping that they do. But I hate being held hostage in the meantime.
About the Author
please enter your email address on this page.