Posts tagged: Northwest Broadcasting
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.
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.”
Northwest Broadcasting, which operates FOX affiliates in the region, has named Doug Holroyd as GM of KAYU in Spokane, KCYU in Yakima and KFFX in Tri-Cities.
We keep track of Comcast, the major cable provider in Eastern Washington. We also follow DirecTV, a satellite program provider that's been engaged in a longstanding contract dispute with the company operating KAYU-TV, the Spokane Fox Network affiliate.
In fact, the dispute between KAYU's owners and DirecTV is now in its ninth month, with no resolution in sight. There is the potential for another late-year shutdown of signals from KAYU if the parties don't agree.
So it caught our eye when Comcast filed suit against DirecTV. Here are the particulars:
Comcast filed a complaint in an Illinois court, alleging DirecTV is misrepresenting that it can offer NFL Sunday Ticket programming for free.
Sunday Ticket provides subscribers with all out-of-market games on Sunday afternoons.
“As none of the ads disclose,” the lawsuit said, “the offer is not for free NFL Sunday Ticket service — the offer requires a two-year contract with hefty termination for early cancellation with the NFL Sunday Ticket service automatically renewing in the second year at full price.”
Comcast also charged that DirecTV is a “serial offender” in false advertising.
The good news in the prolonged dispute between the guys who run the Spokane Fox affiliate (KAYU-TV) and DirecTV is the apparent desire to keep going until the matter is resolved.
Again on Friday we learned the two side have set another extension; it seems like the 32nd time but it's more like the sixth or seventh, in fact.
The two sides are contesting over the Retransmision Fee, the amount DirecTV pays to Northwest Broadcasting, for carrying the Fox signals into the homes of subscribers here in Eastern Washington. Northwest Broadcasting is also bargaining for a number of other Fox stations, in Yakima, Tri-Cities, Medford and in New York state.
The two sides hunkered down before the holidays, then had to deal with massive anger when NW required DirecTV to pull its Fox signal from Jan. 1 to just about the Super Bowl (which was being carried on Fox).
The sides say progress appears to be occurring. But no one offers a statement on the final issues separating the two sides.
And meanwhile, viewers must be wondering: will that blackout happen again?
The two sides, unable to agree on a retransmission fee for Spokane's Fox affiliate, KAYU, extended a negotiation deadline through April 8. The last one expired on Friday, March 25.
Back in January, the fracas led to Northwest, which operates KAYU, to pull its signal from the area's DirecTV satellite subscribers. Enough clamor followed that the two sides agreed to a ceasefire; that happened in the week prior to the Super Bowl, which was carried on Fox this year.
The two sides continue saying the other party is holding back the solution. Northwest Broadcasting says this is the first time in 10 years it's been able to negotiate a new deal with DirecTV. The satellite company says the requested fees from Northwest are exorbitant.
DirecTV customers in the Spokane TV market will continue seeing KAYU, the Spokane Fox affiliate.
A long dispute over retransmission fees between DirecTV and Northwest Broadcasting, the parent owner of KAYU, is still not resolved.
But the sides agreed late Friday to extend the ceasefire for another week. KAYU could have been pulled off the DirecTV satellite lineup, over the dispute. The station disappeared for all of January, then came back on as both sides resumed stalled discussions.
Northwest VP Jon Rand said the extension will run through this coming Friday, March 18.
Those of you subscribers to DirecTV might want to get ready for “KAYU Blackout, the Sequel.” It could happen.
Back in late January, the parent company of Spokane Fox affiliate KAYU agreed to return the station to the DirecTV lineup. That was done to give viewers access to the Super Bowl. The cease-fire came after a full month of signal blackout, a period in which the two sides took regular potshots in the media at the other.
They finally OK'd a four-week grace period, scheduled to end this week, to work out an acceptable retransmission rate between KAYU's owner (Northwest Broadcasting) and DirecTV.
It's now more than four weeks and Friday is the deadline for reaching a settlement, said Jon Rand, VP of Northwest Broadcasting, in Spokane.
The dispute comes down to how much Northwest can convince DirecTV to pay per household to carry the KAYU local affiliate signals.
The discussions have continued but both sides say they haven't come close to concluding the deal.
Area subscribers to DIRECTV continue hoping the payment dispute with Northwest Broadcasting, Inc., which operates KAYU TV, will be settled soon.
The latest is a press release from Northwest saying it's asking for an independent verification of statements made by DIRECTV about what it has paid other similar broadcasters.
Here's the paragraph in a Jan. 14 release from Northwest Broadcasting:
The most recent proposal made by Northwest yesterday was a conditional proposal whereby Northwest would accept, based on DIRECTV's representation and independent verification of those representations, their marketplace number which they have offered Northwest. “They claim they are not paying any broadcaster more than they have offered Northwest, I'll accept that as long as we are allowed to have an independent audit firm verify what they are telling me to be factual” said Brian Brady, CEO of Northwest.”
We hope to get a response soon from DIRECTV on this statement.