Saturday, October 29, 2011

FOX And DirecTV Battle Set To Affect NASCAR Fans


It's a scenario cable TV and home satellite dish owners know all too well. A powerful company that provides programming wants more money and the company that must pay to distribute those services says it's a raw deal.

DirecTV has slightly less than 20 million home dish customers in the US. The company is not large, but serves a very distinct market and has been influential in the growth of specialty programming and home satellite services.

The term to remember in this tussle is "bundling." What FOX (and parent company News Corp) wants is a significantly higher fee for providing a group of networks to distribute. DirectTV claims the requested rate hike is almost 40%. FOX called that ridiculous, but will not state a number or percentage.

"We already provide News Corp. nearly a billion dollars a year for their channels and we have no problem continuing to compensate them fairly." DirecTV said in a media release. "The deal being offered is unfair and unwarranted."

The issue is that FOX will not value the company's networks separately. While networks like FX have been on a roll, increasing fees for the likes of SPEED, FUEL and the NatGeo Channel is debatable. There are also Fox Regional Sports Networks in the deal. FOX will not "unbundle" the network package.

New Corp has put in place the keepmynets.com website. The list of all the FOX networks involved in this dispute is featured. The idea is to spin the rate increase as just a fair deal for DirecTV that is in line with the other FOX partners. That is far from the reality.

DirecTV has set November 1 as a date for FOX to get things settled or those network signals will be removed from the home dish service. Needless to say, most consumers are not interested in the broader issues despite the fact that increased costs will be passed along as usual to the end-user. People just want their TV shows.

NASCAR fans have already been emailing with concerns about losing SPEED and that programming at a critical time of the racing season. Featured programming affected would be the Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR shows from the various Sprint Cup Series tracks and the Monday through Thursday RaceHub news and interview program.

One very interesting twist in this equation is the gentleman pictured above. In 2008, at the time of this photo, Chase Carey was the CEO and president of DirecTV. He helped grow the company through strategic partnerships with sports providers. He made his mark and has now moved on.

Today, he is the president of News Corp and leads the bargaining team to the table with detailed knowledge of exactly how DirecTV works and where the company is vulnerable. Imagine having a former CEO as an opponent in a financial dispute.

As usual, it's getting ugly. The keepmynets.com site has lots of anti-DirecTV "news" stories posted and features comments from consumers worried about not seeing different shows or series. DirecTV continues to paint FOX as a money-hungry monster that can't deliver the goods to justify a rate increase of any kind.

All we know is that this weekend things will be fine, but come Tuesday there could be a significant void in the ability of NASCAR to distribute some key programming to a very important segment of the TV marketplace.

We will be updating any news on this topic that happens on the TDP Twitter, Facebook and blog sites. Should this issue press right up to the deadline, we will offer a live blog next Monday of the ongoing negotiations. These things have a history of getting resolved at the last minute, so as they say on TV...stay tuned.

Please feel free to add your comment on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

41 comments:

NascarIdiot said...

I dont really want to pay Directv more, so drop them, AND drop my bill what you were paying to teach lesson to all involved.

WickedJ said...

Why does this remind me of the NFL/NBA lockout drama?

Millionaires arguing with billionaires.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder if Chase Carey is looking to settle a score of some type. Perhaps someone at DirecTV wronged him and this his way to pay that back?

atugirl said...

I almost don't really care about the deal and the business. I just want to keep Speed, however selfish that may sound. I really rely on the channel and it would really throw me off to lose it

Anonymous said...

It's just like the cable and satellite companies do to the consumer. I dont want a 'bundle' either, seems like a taste of their own medicine.

Greta said...

The local CBS affiliate in Houston is also having issues with DirecTv, and will go dark if an agreement isn't reached by the end of the month.

RvNGrammy said...

Anyone who goes to another provider for their TV service will probably go through the same issue at one time or another. NewsCorp is a greedy bunch...you know that if the rate change were approved, we, the customer, would see our costs go up. Go DirecTV...fight NewsCorp!

Roland said...

Hate it for you Direct TV guys. We went through this same situation this time last year on Dish Network. Except they didnt drop Speed for some reason. They dropped my regional Fox Sports channel with 3 games left in the season for the Atlanta Braves. Thank god they made the playoffs, cause if I missed Bobby Cox's last game somebodys headquarters would have been burned to the ground. Not kidding either. Boy was I mad. I left a very nice note on Dish Networks facebook page. It got real ugly for a couple weeks but they worked it out. Turns out I was blaming the wrong company. Fox was the bully. Damn Rupert.

I agree with WickedJ, this is just like the lockouts. Hopefully it will be NFL style, as in they work it out at the very last minute. There will be a lot of unhappy people if it goes NBA style.

earl06 said...

Bundles are anti-competitive and anti-consumer. You can cut the cord and watch anything you like illegally, if that suits your moral standards. Ask yourself, would they do the same thing to me? Tough situation to put consumers in because there seems to be a situation that would benefit providers and consumers, a la carte. Never seems close to happening, tho', does it?

Anonymous said...

I am not a Directv subscriber, so I don't have a dog in this fight.

But if I did, I would have no regrets telling Fox/Newscorp to get lost and saying good bye to SPEED. The only SPEED program that I watch anymore is Wind Tunnel, and that isn't worth paying for a whole package of programming that I don't like.

SPEED bears little resemblance to what it once was. It has changed from a racing channel to a lifestyle channel with some weekend NASCAR programming. I don't watch the truck racing because of Michael Waltrip. The racing support programming has gone downhill steadily as someone at SPEED tries to increase ratings by appealing to the lowest common denominator.

I do have to admit that SPEED knows its market. There are a lot more young drunks and fools than there are serious NASCAR fans.

bowlalpo said...

It's OK with me to drop SPEED, etc...as long as DirecTV decreases the amount of my monthly bill by the $2 to $3 (or whatever it is) to compensate for what they have taken away from me.

Oh...you mean it doesn't work that way??

I need to get out more anyway.

Anonymous said...

Greta said...
"The local CBS affiliate in Houston is also having issues with DirecTv, and will go dark if an agreement isn't reached by the end of the month."

Same for Seattle's NBC station. They're part of Belo Television and it affects 16 stations nationwide.

KoHoSo said...

Here's the two groups of people I will feel sorry for if these entities do not come to an agreement.

1. The DirecTV subscribers stuck in the middle of an XX month obligation who would have to pay a stiff "early termination fee" to cancel their service.

2. The poor (and I mean that in both senses of the word) first-level customer service representatives that will take the brunt of customers' anger...a group that would actually like to help but cannot because they have no power and are forced to do nothing but read scripted answers or risk getting fired. (believe me, as a former resident of Denver, I know this as a former employee of DISH Network where we also knew all of the scuttlebutt coming from DirecTV's call center that was basically just up the road from DISH headquarters)

Question for JD...did the situation with Chase Carey come about due to NewsCorp once owning a significant stake in Hughes Electronics when it was the parent company of DirecTV? (assuming I am remembering that ownership mess correctly)

Jonathan said...

Maybe this will give me a reason to get Dish or even comcast a try! Were paying 90 something dollars a month for Direct Tv!??!! Is Dish or Comast that much (with speed)???? Or any other providers? Would love some impute from people cause I wouldnt know what to do without Speed during the weekends I think I will cry LoL! Plus getting away from Direct Tv may be a good ideal

any thoughts people

GinaV24 said...

I don't have direcTV service but when Comcast was my provider in the Philly area without any competition, they did a fine job of overcharging the consumer for everything.

Personally I only watch RaceHub and once in a while the truck races if Mikey isn't on there to ruin it for me. So from my perspective I wouldn't really miss much other than catching up with Steve Byrnes.

It's funny isn't it, the government deregulated so many of these services and it was supposed to benefit the consumer, instead IMO it has worked against us. I'd like to see them offer ala carte services. When it comes right down to it, I probably only watch 10 channels of the however many FIOS offers.

MRM4 said...

I am one of those under a contract with DirecTV. I signed a new one several months back to get a second DVR. It didn't matter to me at the time because I had no plans of going anywhere else.

Even if I could, I probably wouldn't. It would cost me over $20 more a month with Comcast to get what I have now and Dish doesn't cut it for me. I am one of those that will be stuck. But I will say when Nov. 1 rolls around and those channels are removed, I will begin complaining they need to lower my bill for taking away channels I watch.

52 yr. fan said...

Looks like it may be time to
drop DirectTV and hook up with
Time Warner. Plus no thunder storm outages.

TexasRaceLady said...

I live in rural East Texas. My only TV options are Dish and DirecTV. I will not go to Dish, so I guess I'll do without SPEED.

WFAA in the DFW area is also having issues with DirecTV. It's an ABC station.

Don't these people realize they are shooting themselves in the foot by demanding more carriage fees?

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
As you say, things like this have a way of getting worked out at the last minute ...while I am a DirecTV subscriber (hostage), I'm hammered each week with promotional offers from Dish Network and Comcast ...there are options, but price more than anything will dictate my decision ...interesting, to say the least
Walter

Anonymous said...

So,,,,get rid of the Speed Channel. With a few exceptions, it is anchored by complete idiots who can't get a job anywhere else because they have no talent. RaceHub consists of grown men acting like buffoons. Raceday w/o John Roberts would be like watching two toddlers having a food fight. Why on earth would anybody feel this network is worth a dime more than they are now receiving.

In short, if the product is garbage, it's certainly not worth paying more. The loss of Speed will not be the worst thing that could happen. It may be the best thing though.

brucer said...

The Fox Regional channels are worthless do to the weird blackout rules and DirTvs desire to sell the MLB and NFL packages. Not being in bondage, the FIOS package is starting to look mighty good.

diane said...

So the bookstores lost out to Amazon and the video rental stores lost out to Redbox and Netflix. The Cable and Satellite companies will eventually lose out to being able to get content on the internet and stream it to your TV screen. I know people who get 98% of their stuff that way now (some illegally) but the other companies will have to try and delay it by stopping bundling and just let people pick and pay al la carte.

wmwiz said...

"Cable and Satellite companies will eventually lose out to being able to get content on the internet and stream it to your TV screen."

Great idea, but one small problem for many people. Some ISP's are starting to impose LOW USAGE CAPS and HIGH OVERAGE CHARGES for those who would dare to "cut the cord" for internet streams. Who are these villians? The same companies that also happen to provide pay TV services.

David Evertsen said...

I am so tired of being held hostage by TV Providers and Networks, really getting sad. All this shows is proof that greed is more important than customer service on both parties..

glenc1 said...

Jonathan, you just have to do the research...there are different packages, and it will be priced according to your needs (do you need the 'everything' package, or will 'medium' do?). DISH is cheaper for many people than Direct, but it depends on what you get (they are offering a price freeze deal right now.) If FIOS were available here, I'd be gone in a flash. I have Dish & basic T-W cable. We've been through this carriage thing a few times. I never lost anything except the Weather channel for a few days.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Formula 1 - season ending races upcoming. Sebastian Vettel may have the championship but second and third are still a bit up in the air. Is there another source for following those races?

AncientRacer said...

I agree with @Diane

What we are witnessing is a new delivery paradigm struggling to be born.

What the content providers just do not seem to get is that I, and I would like to think a lot of others, can get along just fine without their "product."

Do I need SPEED? No. I'd miss it for awhile, but would get over it. Do I need "Pawn Stars"? No. "Real Housewives"? No. "Race Hub?" No. "Top Gear"? No. "Nancy Grace?" No. O'Reilly"? No. I do not NEED any of them -- and of this list there are a few I not only do not need but also some I would not give house room to.

Do I need 10,000 channels in HD? No. Whatever would I do with them except pay for them?

Every six months or so for the last year or two my provider has shaken things up "to serve (me) better". At first when something went away I was ticked. Now I.Simply.Do.Not.Care.

OSBORNK said...

The bundling of channels by Fox and other companies is nothing short of extortion. They force cable & satellite companies to buy channels that cannot survive alone to get desirable channels like Speed. That's why we have 300 channels and can't find anything we want to watch.

I don't understand why Direct subscribers cannot stand the thought of switching to Dish. If you investigate, you will find Dish is cheaper and a better value. My brother went from cable to Dish to Direct and then back to Dish. His bill is smaller with Dish than with either of the other choices and he got away from the dreadful customer service problems he had with Direct.

Anonymous said...

For those of you with DirecTv (I'm one) I imagine that you can cancel your service without having to pay a penalty if they eliminate a channel that you contracted for. I don't believe that they can force you to pay for something they no longer provide.

I'm not a lawyer - but I'd be willing to bet that if you go to the mat they'd have to acquiesce.

AllisonJ said...

Abject corporate greed.

sbaker17 said...

Due to a job loss earlier this year in my household, significant changes were made to the budget to offset the reduced income. One change was a lower cost cable package that does not include Speed. Other than maybe a couple of times over the last 9 months, I haven't missed it a bit.

Bozo said...

I guess DirecTVs "Todd in Mumbai" will be fielding a lot of questions from angry customers. Here is a heads up: If you ask "Todd in Mumbai" a question, wait until he finishes reading his answer before asking him another question. Speak slowly and be patient, "Todd in Mumbai" will be translating your question as you ask it. Whatever you do, don't interrupt his reading with another question because he will have to start all over with his reading of the answer to your first question. This can get confusing for everybody involved very quickly. Finally, do not ever answer yes to any of "Todd in Mumbai's" questions because every yes answer will result in an additional $19.95 on your next DirecTV invoice. Screw these guys. They take Speed of the air and I switch providers as soon as my contract is up.

Anonymous said...

Not directly on topic....I won't miss Speed much, and DirectTV is trying my patience. Today I called for another matter and got "Mary in the Philippines". I asked. She could not understand me and looked up another customer's account instead of mine. I hung up. This after the weekend before dealing with them on the phone when they told me I had ordered the movie Transformers, not the Mississippi State-South Carolina game, which I missed.

Anonymous said...

Speedvision was way better than Speed.As far as I'm concerend,just junk all t.v.I'll go to jayski and view the articles.At least I'll get honest opinions and not scripted coverage.

Anonymous said...

Based on the quality of Race Hub lately and recalling Mikey making a fool of himself covering the last Truck race, I don't much care what happens with Speed. I agree with an earlier post. There are a bunch of people on Speed who are lucky to have a job. I'm with Time Warner. This issue is no different than any other Labor issue--first casualties are the paying customers just like JD said.

PDXLeelaB said...

I have had DirecTV since 1998. At first they were awesome. But when the living room receiver died we had to buy a new receiver at full price and sign up for new 2 year contract. That receiver lasted 18 months w/another 2 year extension. The next replacement we bought at full price lasted a whole 20 months so another 2 years tacked on. The bedroom receiver is the original and because I won't upgrade with another 2 yr contract I have only 12 of the pay per view channels and half are soft porn. I don't have Hot Pass and none of the newer channels are available. Our household income decreased by 60% in 2007 and my job could be gone soon so making 2 year commitment to anyone is a bad move. For Telephone / Internet / DirecTV I pay $200 per month. If I bundle with the telco I pay $115 with no contract. I would pay $10 extra per month for Speed/FX/Nat Geo but DirecTV won't go that way. I have no choice. I continue to pay for services DTV won't offer me or I leave them.

Anonymous said...

It must not feel too good to be a DIRECTV customer dealing with this dispute. I really enjoy watching my Regional Sports Networks but good thing I still get to enjoy them since I am a DISH subscriber. Working for DISH I can tell you that DISH has a long-term agreement with FX, you should take a look into DISH.

Anonymous said...

all
check out VELOCITY Network, an HD net in the place where HD Theater used to be

Its a car lovers dream!

ChrisK said...

This kind of thing happens every so often. After all of the posturing and politicking, they always settle at the last minute. Then they use it as an excuse to raise the rates to the consumer.

Ginny said...

Speed isn't part of DirecTV's basic package so we went with the next higher one specifically for Speed. If they really do drop Speed, we'll be cutting back to the basic level of service.

I enjoy the entire weekend of racing shows and love all the personalities involved. I hope that eventually there will be an alternative solution other than the internet, because the ISP in this area has bandwidth limitations.

I do not believe DirecTV's total garbage about wanting to fight for their customers. Fox wants to charge DirecTV more, and DirecTV does not need to pass all those charges on to customers. But they are USING Fox AND me as an excuse to set in motion a large rate increase. DirecTV is blaming Fox for a potential 40% increase, directing us to take out our anger on Fox, and hopes to be praised by customers for eventually negotiating only a 20% increase.

It's just business, and typical marketing bs, but I'm fed up with both companies.

Shaun said...

The customers are always the ones that get the short end of the stick when it comes to a take down. First they are without their channels, then if the contract price goes up soon after they get their channels the price will go up. You would think with as much as Directv charges their customers that they would be able to eat that increase, but that might stop them from doing something grand, so might as well be ready for it. Working for DISH I remember going through that take down last year, it was not a great time indeed, FOX wanted a 40% increase(sound familiar?) and of course that wasn't going to happen, so there was a month long take down, at which point Directv went on the attack with ad campaign bashing DISH for taking the channels down and how all customers should go to directv, well I guess this is Karma coming back around. I do fell sorry for the 19 million that will miss their FOX channels for the time that they are gone, like It's Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Show, or the great movies that they cut up and put a lot commercials in. But we will let you watch them all on DISH.