FOX Dish dispute
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
30 September 2019
Why the FOX Dish dispute is so nasty
Oh, we all know the current FOX Dish dispute will eventually find a compromise. But I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a nasty back and forth as this one.
We’ve all gone through disputes between content providers (like Fox) and carriers (like Dish), with both sides reaching an agreement just before the deadline to go black.
This FOX Dish dispute feels different. Partly because viewers are seeing FOX rolling out TV ads blasting Dish Network and its virtual pay TV platform Sling TV.
“The FOX Dish dispute is particularly vicious because FOX is protecting its interests in a streaming environment. And Dish is trying to keep costs low to survive in this viewer-controlled streaming environment. And this is only the beginning.”
That’s not even the least of it. During a break on Thursday Night Football, FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee shows viewers all the football games Dish subscribers will miss.
So FOX and all its sub-networks are no longer on Dish or Sling TV. And FOX unleashes its own website (keepfox.com) that encourages visitors to drop Dish.
How’d this FOX Dish dispute get so nasty?
FOX Dish dispute a result of the streaming TV wars
It’s the changing nature of television, especially streaming TV. FOX wants Dish to bundle its local channels and cable networks together in a bigger package deal. Dish doesn’t want to pay it.
So, you could say FOX is simply looking for more money by forcing Dish to pay more for a bundle deal.
But I think the FOX Dish dispute holds a deeper meaning. The promise of streaming TV is that you’ll only pay for what you want. FOX is making sure all its channels are carried in a bundle so you – the viewer/subscriber – must pay for them all even if you only want one.
Dish isn’t going to pay the extra fee for the bundle, then let you pick what you want at a lower price. It’s either going to pass the extra cost on to you or, as it’s doing now, fight to keep costs low so Dish and Sling subscribers don’t go somewhere else.
Yet, this FOX Dish dispute is only the first barrage from networks to carriers. Networks aren’t stupid. And, while they are all launching variations of their own streaming options (Peacock, anyone?), they are hedging their bets.
Back in the heyday of cable TV, cable companies would pay for the bundle to ensure all of a network’s channels were carried. But streaming’s disrupted that model. To survive in the new landscape, carriers must give control to subscribers. Let them pick and choose what they want.
The FOX Dish dispute is particularly vicious because FOX is protecting its interests in a streaming environment. And Dish is trying to keep costs low to survive in this viewer-controlled streaming environment. And this is only the beginning.
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