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Office Hours

Posts tagged: Dish Network

How many folks were affected by the KAYU-DISH snafu? About 103,000

We wondered how many subcribers might have been affected by the blackout created by the KAYU, DISH Network snafu that was settled over the weekend.

Roughly 103,000 is the number we came up with, thanks to the folks at SNL Kagan, a communications and broadcast media information aggregator. The number is certainly a bit lower than that, as some DISH subscribers likely had other options (such as a cable connection or a digital antenna to get signals).

Based on third quarter 2012 numbers, DISH had 103,429 subscribers in the Spokane TV market.

That's up from 3Q 2010, again using numbers provided by SNL Kagan. Here's the three-way subscriber numbers:

                     2010                                        2012 (both measured in 3Q)

Comcast      100,000                                               106,311

DirecTV         69,000                                                 76,478

DISH            102,000                                              103,429
  

Comcast's numbers are entirely in the Spokane metro area. DirecTV and DISH subscribers extend from North Idaho all the way over to central Washington.

Also worth noting is that both DirecTV and DISH ran into problems over retrans fees with Northwest Broadcasting, which runs KAYU.  The important thing is that there are no retrans fees paid by cable for its ability to carry local station signals.

The reason is that the cable giants, like Comcast, give local stations access to some channels at little or no coast, in lieu of retrans fees. Hence, you never see the locals like NW Broadcasting locked in battles over money with Comcast.

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Viewers who endured KAYU-DISH blackout came away angry at both sides

You probably heard the disputing parties in the KAYU-DISH blackout finally reached an agreement over the weekend:  KAYU-28, Spokane’s Fox affiliate, was off the Dish network since late November over a dispute involving retransmission fees.

Terms of the deal to end the blackout were not disclosed.

But what is clear is both companies ended up with a black eye in the minds of many customers. We did a quick email blast to angry customers who were upset enough to contact KAYU GM Brian Brady last week. Here's a short sample of how those customers told us they feel about what happened to them.

Viewer Carol Nelson's take: “Once the snow's gone, we'll be looking into antenna options so we aren't caught in the middle again. We shouldn't have to leave home in order to watch network programs!”

And, Donald Rowland doesn't pull any punches: “Still, a very bad business practice, to torture the paying customers! SHAME on both companies for doing this! Now that the Seahawks are done, I have no further need of KAYU-28 along with many of the area advertisers. May they reap what they sowed!”

And here's a blast from Stephen Fisher, M.D.: “I believe that reasonable and responsible men and women are always able to reach a fair and equitable solution of any situation.  Our business behavior is mirroring our political behavior and our behavior in many of our other institutions. Those who suffer are those (the two businesses) serve.  Apparently, those in positions to make decisions have misplaced their moral compasses.”

Recent subscriber totals for DirecTV and Comcast show an upward trend

EDITED and revised Wednesday, Aug. 29:

Here's one piece of market information we didn't have earlier.

The total number of households in the Spokane DMA (designated market area) is about 430,000.

If the SNL Kagan number is correct, there are 351,656 homes that subscribe either to cable or satellite in this market.

That's 82 percent of all homes. The remainder either don't want to watch TV or rely on over-the-air signals, or have cut the cable and use web based systems, like Netflix or Hulu.

Updated subscriber numbers.

Earlier today OfficeHours posted the old December 2010 numbers relating to how many subscribers DirecTV has in the Spokane TV market. We went out today looking for the latest numbers. The market is the entire eastern Washington area over to the mountains, and also includes portions of Idaho and Oregon.

SNL Kagan, a media tracking company, provided the most recent update (numbers from 2Q 2012):

                   2010 subscribers                  2012 subscribers

Comcast:         100,000                                 107,034

DISH:               102,000                                 103,318

DIRECTV:           69,000                                  75,700

Total market area number of paid programming subscribers: 351,656.

What amazes us is that the three main providers gained paid subscribers in the past two years.

In a down economy, that's a bit of a surprise.

Dish Network, KHQ TV management agree on retransmission contract

KHQ TV station management and Dish Network have signed a new deal that ends the possible blackout of Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast for satellite subscribers.

The previous contract ended at midnight last night, with the two sides at odds until Tuesday afternoon.

The two sides agreed sometime before 10 p.m. 

“The good news is that our signal will remain on the Dish Network and no viewers will miss the Super Bowl,” said Patricia McRea, KHQ General Manager. KHQ is owned and operated by Cowles California Media Co., which is a subsidiary of Cowles Co.

Cowles Co. owns and operates The Spokesman-Review and Spokesman.com.

McRea said details of the new contract are confidential. The contract covers among other things the retransmission fee Dish pays to the company for carrying its signal to viewers in the large Spokane TV market, which stretches into Idaho, southeast Washington and central Washington.

Will area football fans using Dish Network miss out on the Super Bowl?

UPDATED FEB. 1, 1:30 p.m.:  

The two sides have ended the contract impasse and have signed a new retransmission contract. See more recent posts on Office Hours for details.

By early Wednesday morning a number of Dish Network TV subscribers may be seeing nothing on the channel normally carrying KHQ.

A negotiation of a new multiyear contract between KHQ's parent company and Dish has stalled. The contract reportedly ends at midnight on Jan. 31. As happened with DirecTV and Fox affilliate KAYU exactly one year ago, the dispute over money could lead to a blackout for Dish subscribers just before Sunday's Super Bowl.

It would have no effect on cable subscribers, those using DirecTV or getting their signals over-the-air or from another cable service.

The contract covers retransmission fees paid by the satellite company to the affiliate station management.  Dish and KHQ's parent company — Cowles California Media Co., in this case — have not been able to agree on the annual fee oaid by Dish. The fee in large part is based on the number of subscribers Dish has within that station's market area.

Last year Fox carried the Super Bowl. This year it's NBC, and KHQ is the NBC affiliate in this market.

As happened during the KAYU blackout, area TV fans can prepare themselves by finding alternatives. Dish subscribers who have line rabbit-ears antennas might be able to pull the signal over the air.

But residents with spotty reception or none at all will have to figure out another option.

The Dish Network folks emailed this comment to us: “Dish Network's lengthy negotiations with Cowles California Media Co., the owner of KHQ in Spokane, remain ongoing; but so far they have not resulted in an agreement. Without an agreement from Cowles, Dish would no longer have the legal right to provide KHQ's NBC programming — along with the Super Bowl — to Dish customers.
 
“Essentially, Cowles is holding the Super Bowl hostage while it demands an outrageous rate increase of more than 250 percent. We hope to have an agreement before access to this channel is interrupted, but so far Cowles has been unreasonable in its negotiations.”
 
A KHQ manager declined to comment, saying the negotiations are ongoing and confidential.
 
KHQ is owned by a company that is a subsidiary of Cowles Co, which also operates The Spokesman-Review and Spokesman.com.

Dish Network hardly better than Comcast, sees cord-cutting, penny-pinching

One week ago Office Hours had a post on the continuing decline in video customers felt by cable company Comcast Corp.

This week let's be fair and give an update on the tough year Dish Network had in 2010.

Dish Network Corp. on Feb. 24 said it gained a mere U.S. 33,000 customers in 2010, one of its smallest subscriber increases in years, due to increased competition, higher numbers of subscribers “cutting the cord” and a weak economy.

The recently filed 10-K form said Dish Network felt a 92 percent drop in net new subscribers in 2010, compared with 2009.

The satellite service provider said its churn rate rose to 1.76 percent in 2010, up from 1.64 percent in 2009. Dish gave as one reason “programming interruptions related to contract disputes.”

In the fourth quarter of 2010 alone Dish Network lost 156,000 subscribers but boosted profit and revenue as consumers spent more on services.

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