Thursday, October 27, 2011

SPEED Suddenly Pawn In TV Face-Off


DirecTV released a new statement in relation to the most recent strong-arm tactics being employed by FOX in the ongoing rate dispute involving FOX cable and regional sports networks. SPEED is included as a key piece of the puzzle in this issue.

DIRECTV has always been able to fight on our customers’ behalf and settle its business behind the scenes – where it belongs. But unfortunately that’s not the case with News Corp and FOX.

FOX has had very public and nasty rate disputes with Cablevision, DISH, and Time Warner Cable - and that’s only in the past year. No TV provider is immune to their bullying tactics.

By comparison, DIRECTV has quietly closed deals with hundreds of different programmers in the last few years, representing thousands of channels, and we are prepared to do the same with FOX. We wish you weren’t put in the middle. But we’re listening and talking to Fox daily.

We’re hopeful that FOX will soon become more reasonable with their demands and we can put all this behind us.


Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, who is not a FOX employee, took to the airwaves before his most recent series episode on FX. In his recorded message, he took DirecTV to task for possibly forcing subscribers to miss the final five episodes of his hit show. He also posted a profane message on his personal blog accusing DirecTV of using their own subscribers as leverage in the dispute.

It's a tad ironic that Sons of Anarchy actor Ron Perlman, shown above in PIR's Victory Lane, is doing the introductions for ESPN on all of the NASCAR Chase for the Championship races this season.

"All of these shenanigans are interesting to read about, but DirecTV is putting its focus towards getting a deal done that will keep our customers' monthly TV bill at an acceptable level," said DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer to the FierceCable.com website. "We've been in discussions every day with News Corp and Fox and are perfectly fine paying a reasonable amount for the channels, but asking our customers to absorb a 40 percent increase in tough economic times is just not fair."

So, there you have the most recent update. DirecTV clearly stating once again that the individual FOX regional and cable networks being "bundled" together and offered at one price are not worth a significant increase that will ultimately be passed along to DirecTV subscribers. The 40% number was again used publicly.

Meanwhile, FOX denies that it ever asked for anything approaching that kind of increase and says it offered to continue to let DirecTV broadcast all the various networks while a deal is being hammered out. The FOX contention is that DirecTV drew the line in the sand of November 1 for a blackout of the networks in question.

This weekend is a good example of the impact losing SPEED would have on NASCAR and the fans. SPEED is handling the Friday and Saturday programming from the track in Martinsville with over 12 hours of live coverage on those two days alone.

Expect more finger pointing and posturing on Thursday as these two parties battle over a huge contract renegotiation. What we do know is that SPEED will be on the 20 million DirecTV homes this weekend. What we don't know is just how long the network will be in the dark if DirecTV removes it from service next Tuesday as planned.

Updates on this story will be posted here, on the TDP Facebook page and Twitter account. In the meantime, please feel free to offer your comment on this situation.

26 comments:

RPM said...

Maybe NASCAR should speak up and remind News Corp/SPEED who is actually providing the majority of their programming and viewers.

This is nothing but corporate greed from News Corp.

Anonymous said...

I remember when t.v was free! Now you pay and still can watch what you want. Very greedy Corp.

Doug said...

I'm a diehard fan of NASCAR and Directv but not a fan of the speed channel. The channel is driven by "Jaws",Darrell Waltrip, and he is horrible. Than Speed decides to add his brother, Michael Waltrip, to the programming, making it a huge bust. Lets not forget that Speed is the "Tape Delay Authority" when it comes to NASCAR programming. Speed's cast of analyst's include Kenny Wallace, who hasn't won a race in 12 years and has never won a CUP race, but hosts a show called "Victory Lane". Patti Wheeler is a huge failure for Speed and losing Speed as a Directv customer is a blessing!.

tiamatsrevenge said...

It's NOT News Corp ... It's DirecTV ... They do this every single time one of their contracts comes up for renewal with the tv providers ...

DirecTV has battled NBC-Universal, Scripps, Discovery, etc ...

TPTB at DirecTV want more / better programming from the tv providers, but are NOT willing to pay more for it ...

You just cannot stay at the same rate for eternity ...

It's corporate greed on DirecTV's part ... Blame them!

Mike in Pittsburgh said...

I'm just sick of seeing the constant commercials and scrolls for "its going to get turned off threats" when they aren't even from my provider. The last time DISH had this pissing match they would cut in and replace the commercials from the provider with their own only the couldn't do it fast enough so you could see them doing it.

52 yr. fan said...

Maybe Direct could let us unbundle
their programming also and cut
some costs. I would start with
dropping the infommercial channels
that I don't watch.

AncientRacer said...

Please, folks, give Rupert ("Arrrr!") a break. The old pirate has had a rough year. He was pretty much obliged to close "News of the World" and the events leading to that essentially quashed his then all-but-completed take over of the European BSkyB satellite. That took two significant revenue streams offline for News Corp. Worse,Rupert ("Arrrr!") knows there is probably even more fallout yet to come from that mess.

Poor old fella just needs a little help...

Vicky D said...

It's always something to concern us Speed fans and the folks who like the other programming!

OSBORNK said...

If they dropped all Waltrips and all Wallaces from their payroll, they might be able to hold the increase down a little and greatly improve their product.

Sue said...

I know this is a page about Nascar TV and etc., don't forget that this will also include all of the Fox channels. This includes College Football, NFL and whatever. I have Cox cable and we went through this same thing a couple of years ago. I wonder what all the football fans are saying about this.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

With only 4 races to go I can live without watching (or actually fast forwarding through) practice & qualifying. Other than Race Hub don't watch anything else on Speed. And don't watch any of the other mentioned channels.

We probably watch 5 to 10 channels max out of hundreds we get. I would love an ala carte option. However, the cable/sat providers would lose a ton of revenue, so hell will freeze over before that happens.

glenc1 said...

AR...yer killing me...lol.

I'm sure there's enough greed to go around for both sides. No shortage of that these days. Greed is good, remember?

It is not just Direct--Dish had the same issue with NewsCorp, and so have some of the companies that own multiple stations. And the cable companies have had the same issues with the TV stations...it's all of them. Meanwhile the networks keep ordering cheap, useless reality programming. Just makes you want to throw open the window and yell, 'I'm mad as he!! and I'm not gonna take it anymore!'.

Anonymous said...

DirecTV isn't driving the bundling of channels, it is the networks themselves. Disney forces DirecTV and others to pick up their whole family of networks even if they just want the most popular ones.

Vince said...

I dropped my cable TV about a year and a half ago and frankly haven't missed it. I watch the OTA networks with my antenna and the rest online on my computer. If you know where to look you can find most programming online nowdays. In these economic times it just didn't make sense for me, I need groceries worse than I needed ESPN/SPEED.

I feel bad for the people caught in this crunch, but this is an issue that's not going to go away until cable, Dish, DirecTV stop bundling their services and provide alacarte programming. Which won't happen unless Congress/Government makes them.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Speed/Fox anyway. As others are saying, way, too, many Waltrips for most of us. I always remember when Mikey was on the show, in 2007 called "Inside Nextel Cup", when he wasn't even making the races. He probably had to watch them, on TV, just like the rest of us; but, he still was the moving-mouth every week on this show. Should have been called......"Outside Nextel Cup"

Hopefully, this will all get settled.

Dannyboy said...

I am sick and tired of people accusing corporations of "corporate greed". What is the purpose of a corporation? To secure profit for its shareholders! Not to be nice.

Any of those out there complaining to these companies for padding their 401k and ROTH IRAs? Because if you have a retirement plan you can be pretty dang sure you own some of their stock.

Face it: contract negotiations are not pretty when you are talking the kinds of numbers these folks deal in. It's hardball played with hand grenades.

I am NOT HAPPY with the prospect of losing SPEED, or the other FOX nets. I only got Directv because they offered them. And I was fed up at the strongarm tactics of COX, who had an exclusive on the Padres and wouldn't let you see their games unless you bought their service.

This COX/Padres exclusive ran out this year, and guess who is the #1 contender? Yup, ole Rupert. And the "game" is on. Who will blink first?

SPEED provides me more than just NASCAR: I watch F-1 and the other racing series they carry, plus almost anything they show that isn't lifestyle or reality programming. I will be deluging both FX and DTV with complaints if they cut service, and if the loss of FOX programming gives me an out to terminate my contract that will be part of my tactics. Two can play that game.

Somehow, I think that just like the NFL lockout, which had many of the same ingredients as this DTV-FOX spat, at the very last minute something will get done.

At least I hope so...

sbaker17 said...

OSBORNK said...
If they dropped all Waltrips and all Wallaces from their payroll, they might be able to hold the increase down a little and greatly improve their product.

October 27, 2011 9:49 AM


If they dropped all the last names beginning with "WAL" I'd pay more.....

Anonymous said...

If I were a DIRECTV customer I wouldn't be too happy hearing about this FX dispute. I love FX and I am a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy. Thank goodness I get to watch all the drama still since I am a DISH customer. As a DISH employee I can tell you that I wouldn’t take the chance losing some of my favorites remaining a DIRECTV customer.

Anonymous said...

Somebody has to pay for the millions of dollars Fox is losing with their NASCAR contract. Since the ratings have plummeted, there is no way they can make a profit on just ad revenue.

AveryNH said...

you know if you switched to cable you wouldn't have all these worries... when I switched two years ago from DirecTV to Comcast i thought it was going to be the end of my TV world. Losing HotPass was inexcusable and i wanted to keep it but DirecTV simply charged way to much all around. Xfinity has been way better, from reliability to multimedia access. NewsCorp may suck but those pigs at the over at the big blue dish are far worse.

TexasRaceLady said...

AveryNH said--- "you know if you switched to cable you wouldn't have all these worries..."

I would switch to cable if I had that option, but I live outside the city limits in rural East Texas. I can't even get OTA television because of my location.

It's satellite --- or nothing.

Buschseries61 said...

What comes first: DirecTV dropping SPEED or ESPN finally releasing the Talladega tv ratings?

Fed UP said...

The world will not end for the majority of people if some cable company chooses not to pay the ransom that some company wants to charge for the Speed Channel.

Two years ago, we use to have Speed on expanded basic, but it got moved to the upper tier that requried a digital convertor. I chose not to pay for another digital converter just to watch 1 channel.

Fast forward two years later, yes I have access to the Speed Channel, but I don't watch it nearly as much as I once did. Adn why is that? its the product that is shown on air. I can't stand DW or his overly loud younger brother and their endless shilling of things, toyota or DW's mancrush on Kyle Busch.

I haven't watch probably more than five hours in total of Race Day when I use to watch it every week. I no longer tape the races, if I would miss them...I scroll and wait. Talledega use to be a must see...the past year, If something comes up..I miss it and don't wonder what I missed.

I feel sorry for the ones that will lose out, but really, there are so many other things to do..liek go outside and ride a bike.

Anonymous said...

Dannyboy - Don't worry. The spirit of Jay Gould is alive and well in today's corporate boardrooms.

Anonymous said...

News Corp/Fox are just trying delay tactics to drag the cable nets' contracts out to a timeline where, suddenly, the expiration of FOX broadcast and Fox News coincide.

Fox thinks (correctly) that they can then leverage the Fox News renewal into the overall cable nets deal and extract higher fees for all from DirecTV.......meaning all of us who buy DTV service.

Its pure, unveiled greed on the part of FOX, nothing more.
They can play the "victim" and portray themselves as defenders of the viewer, but its a bald faced LIE!!!!

Today, DirecTV filed a complaint with the FCC against FOX for its false and maligning campaign about this issue. I say its about time.

News Corp is a media bully. Nothing more. Look at their egregious behavior in the UK and the unabashed lies told to Parliament by Rupert and his son.

I hope Direct drops them.....and that nobody notices.

Bray

Anonymous said...

Adios, Speedvision. You will be missed only for your live sports events. Everything else you have become since I have been a DirecTV subscriber is not welcome here.