Archive for the FBN Category

Not So Fast…

Posted in FBN, FNC on January 16, 2015 by icn2

I referenced it earlier but today’s Mediaite column by Joe Concha on the Dish/FNC spat deserves its own fisking.

When the final gun sounded and scores are tallied up in the dispute between Dish Network and Fox, the only conclusion that can be made is that Dish…got served.

Uh…no it can’t. Not yet anyway and certainly not for most of the reasons Concha cites…

So how did Fox win? Simply put, they had the horses in the form of O’Reilly and Kelly, the message (“censorship”), but most of all, passionate viewers of Fox News voting with their wallets — the kind of viewers who execs even at other networks will tell you are the most notoriously loyal of any out there, free or cable.

Let’s look at these individually…

“The Horses” – That is debatable. If FNC had launched that kind of full court press from the very begining with O’Reilly and Kelly doing the advertising Fox put on its other channels, you might be able to argue they played a key role. But Fox was slow to take that step so their impact in moving things along is ultimately unclear.

“The Message” – Oh please. Censorship? Come on. That dog could never hunt. Nobody at Dish was censoring FNC. If anything, 21st Century Fox censored itself when it yanked the channels. If anyone actually believed that gibberish it’s because they weren’t really paying attention to what was going on. That may have indeed happened – and there’s no way to know for sure – but it wouldn’t have happened because the message was true, it would have happened despite it not being true.

“Passionate viewers” – Well there’s no doubt that FNC viewers are passionate. That was never the issue. The issue was whether there were enough of them to make a difference. That point is open to conjecture. The “tens of thousands” of viewers Dish lost aren’t coming back – Concha is right on that point. But the question is were they enough to make Dish flinch? Even if they were the full 90,000 (as of last available number), something very unlikely, that isn’t enough to move Dish given it’s still 1% of Dish’s subscriber base.

But all of this is tangential to what was the central issue in this spat; Fox wanting to add in Fox Sports 1 and possibly others (FXX) to the negotiation process.

Concha pooh-poohed that today…

Note: There’s always a few demands that are expendable in negotiations like this, and Fox Sports 1 being bundled in (if Dish completely capitulated) would have fallen into the nice-to-have instead of must-have category.

Concha underestimated the significance of the attempt at force bundling by Fox. But you don’t have to take my word for that. You can take Fox’s.

Dish, however, insists it’s Fox that has forced the two sides apart. “It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish Network’s SVP of programming. “Fox blacked out two of its news channels, using them as leverage to triple rates on sports and entertainment channels that are not in this contract.”

Fox argues Dish has simply failed to change with the times–which are changing dramatically.”When you won’t accept that businesses evolve, that relationships and partnerships evolve. And the way we deliver content changes. And we both need to adapt. Dish hasn’t changed its packaging since 1993. That kind of marketing and that kind of packaging is outdated.”

You see it right there. Fox responded directly to the charge that Dish made that Fox yanked the channels because Dish didn’t want to play ball negotiating for channels that weren’t part of the FNC/FBN negotiation and it did so by saying Dish wasn’t adapting.

If the extra channels were never a sticking point for Fox, the network never would have bothered to call Dish out for not keeping up with the times. If it was expendable, Fox wouldn’t have gone out of its way to make those channels part of its PR campaign to explain why things were at the impasse they were.

To drive this point home, we need to look at what also happened yesterday with the Dish/Fox lawsuit.

In a court document filed on Thursday, the parties say that they believe “it is highly likely that the negotiation later this year of a renewal of their 2010 agreement will result in resolution of this lawsuit.”

My read is by getting Fox Sports 1 decoupled from the FNC/FBN negotiation, Dish and Fox were able to quickly resolve that skirmish and move forward on the real battle. I think Dish was always going to give Fox most of what it wanted on FNC/FBN, though maybe it sweetened the deal to make the other channels Fox brought in go away. And that’s why it was never really about “the horses” or “the message” or “the passionate viewers”. It was about finding a resolution to the lawsuit.

This is why how these upcoming negotiations turn out will be the ultimate decider of who won the war between Dish and Fox. If for example Dish pays a hefty fee to get those channels that are part of this agreement in order to make the lawsuit go away, then Fox would indeed be the clear winner. If Dish ends up yanking The Hopper to settle the lawsuit, Fox would be the clear winner. But it could turn out to be a push…it could turn out that whatever increase Dish pays isn’t such an onerous one that having the lawsuit go away without Dish having to scrap the Hopper means both sides get a significant win.

Either way, what happened yesterday doesn’t indicate who is going to come out ahead nor does it indicate that Fox’s tactics to put pressure on Dish had the desired effect.

FBN Goes All In on Kennedy…

Posted in FBN on January 15, 2015 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton writes that FBN has killed The View like show Kennedy was a part of and is replacing it with a Kennedy-centric show…

But Kennedy will not be leaving the network: On Jan. 26, she’ll debut her own program, self-titled “Kennedy” at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Business. The show will concentrate on water-cooler topics, including politics, business and culture, and will air Monday-Friday.

Dish Wins…Sort Of…

Posted in FBN, FNC on January 15, 2015 by icn2

The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint writes about the end of the impasse between Dish Network and Fox…

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. However, people familiar with the talks said Dish is paying a significant increase for Fox News, which is one of the most popular networks, not just among news channels but entertainment and sports services as well. According to research firm SNL Kagan, the average monthly fee for Fox News is currently about $1.00 per subscriber. Under terms of the new pact, the price Dish would pay would rise to an average fee of around $1.50 per-subscriber, per-month, people familiar with the matter said.

Dish is also going to distribute Fox Business Network to more of its subscribers, the people said, and give it a channel position near Fox News as part of the agreement.

Dish had complained that 21st Century Fox was trying to leverage negotiations for Fox News and Fox Business for better deals for other channels whose contracts weren’t up yet. The new agreement only covers these two channels and no other 21st Century Fox networks.

So who won? Ostensibly, Dish…but the margin of victory was slimmer than you might think. Dish didn’t want any other 21st Century Fox networks part of the negotiation, specifically Fox Sports 1, and it got those terms. No doubt every other distributor will take note of this when it comes time for them to negotiate new deals which won’t give 21st Century Fox any leverage in trying a similar tactic with them.

But FNC got a 50% increase on its subscriber rate and FBN got expanded distribution which I would guess means taking making available on lower priced tiers and putting it closer to FNC on the channel guide.

So both sides make out to some extent.

Spin (Out Of) Control…

Posted in FBN, FNC on January 11, 2015 by icn2

Brian Stelter writes on CNN Mondy about the latest tactic in the PR war between FNC and Dish…

Rarely, if ever, does a channel owner accuse a distributor of “censorship” — but that’s what O’Reilly says, and what Fox’s web site about the dispute says.

“Don’t let DISH censor YOUR news,” it asserts. “Contact a new TV provider directly to save you time and frustration.”

Uh…kind of hard to credibly throw the word censorship around when you’re the one who yanked your channels off Dish in the first place. Actually, it’s hard to credibly throw the word censorship around at all in a free market economy that is entirely governed by dollars and cents. And with that, this dispute has officially entered Weather Channel territory…

Flawed Logic…

Posted in FBN, FNC on January 7, 2015 by icn2

Mutlichannel News’ Mike Reynolds has FBN/FNC’s VP of Distribution making an…ahem…interesting claim

Carry, executive vice president of distribution for FNC and FBN, estimated that Dish has lost some 90,000 subscribers since the channels were removed from the provider’s 14 million subscribers late on Dec. 20.

Sounds impressive…that’s .6% of Dish’s subscribers (if my math is right and after last time I wouldn’t trust it 100%). But what’s the attribution?

He based the total on the number of viewers that have reached out to the http://www.keepfoxnews.com website and 888-numbers, and others that have contacted Dish directly.

And that’s where Carry’s logic runs aground for that assumes a near 100% follow through. You can’t make that assumption. Certainly a significant percentage of the 90,000 did go “all the way” and cancelled outright. But we don’t know what percentage did go all the way and what percentage U-turned upon hearing what the terms for cancellation would be.

And then there’s this…

But you can’t fault Carry for trying. This is after all as much a PR war with Dish as it is a substantive one. So Carry is naturally going to try and paint this in the most favorable light possible. This is why you see Carry also give Reynolds completely vacuous figures like the 350,000 people who either called about or visited the site. Nobody cares about who called about or visited the site…it could be anyone. What matters is who followed through and cancelled. Carry doesn’t have those numbers. Dish has those numbers. And Dish isn’t going to say.

But since Carry extrapolated, I will also extrapolate. Reynolds wrote that there hasn’t been any communication between the two since December 20th, the day FNC yanked its channels (I’m taking Dish’s side in the “who did what” back and forth because FNC’s commentary in that matter has been non-specific compared to Dish’s statement on the matter. FNC could have outright denied it yanked the channels and to the best of my knowledge it hasn’t). We can extrapolate that means whatever damage has been done to Dish’s subscriber base so far it hasn’t been enough to bring it back to the table. Not yet, anyways.

Numbers Games…

Posted in CNBC, FBN on January 6, 2015 by icn2

The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint writes about CNBC deciding to stop using Nielsen…

Financial news network CNBC will no longer rely on TV ratings specialist Nielsen to measure its daytime audience, beginning later this year. Instead, it has retained marketing and research firm Cogent Reports for the task.

For years CNBC and its parent company, Comcast Corp. ’s NBCUniversal, have complained that Nielsen underreports the size and wealth of its audience by failing to track “out of home” viewing in places such as offices and airports.

CNBC’s switch to Cogent is the latest barb for Nielsen, which has faced criticism from media companies that it has been slow to adapt its traditional ratings to changing media consumption habits. While many media companies say they are frustrated with Nielsen, CNBC is the first network to opt out of its ratings.

Aaaaand…cue the predictable reaction…

Explaining why Fox Business Network continues with Nielsen, Paul Rittenberg, executive vice president of advertising for the channel, said, “Only using the numbers you like is a little tough to sell.”

Indeed. CNBC is the canary in the coal mine. If it succeeds, others with similar beefs about Nielsen may follow. And make no mistake. This isn’t CNBC going rogue. This has all the signs of a Comcast blessed official trial balloon…

Spin Control…

Posted in FBN, FNC on December 21, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Mark Joyella does FNC’s bidding in its renegotiation war with Dish Network by duly trotting out these numbers without context…

Since late Saturday night, talks have stopped. Fox News EVP of distribution Tim Carry tells TVNewser “our phone line is open, we’re willing to talk. Am I negotiating right now? I’m not.”

Fox viewers, however, are fully engaged. Since 6 a.m. Sunday, over 12,000 calls have been placed to Fox–and 7,000 of them asked to be connected to Dish to disconnect their service. The network reports 22,000 viewer emails have been sent to Dish to object to the Fox blackout, and viewers have swarmed the Dish Facebook page. Fox’s Carry says Dish has agitated a very powerful audience. “Relative to any other fight they’ve had, they’ve never had a viewer as personally invested as Fox News. Our viewers are invested. They have a personal relationship with us.”

Um…yeah.

Let’s see… 12,000 calls out of a 14 Million user subscriber base…that’s .085%. 22,000 emails out of said base is much better. It’s a whopping 0.15%. This is of course assuming that every one of those calls and email complaints is actually a Dish subscriber.

Oh, I almost forgot. There were also 7,000 who wanted to cancel their service as a result which is .05% of Dish’s customers…which for Dish is the equivalent of a rounding error.

That’s some agitation going on over there…wake me when it gets to .2% of Dish’s subscribers, okay?

To be fair, it’s early and it’s a Sunday. Things may change dramatically come Monday when FNC’s regular M-Fr schedule kicks in. Then again it may not because it’s the holiday season and that’s historically been a low point in viewership for the year for everyone except football fans. There may not be real movement on a new deal until after New Years Day.

Dish, however, insists it’s Fox that has forced the two sides apart. “It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish Network’s SVP of programming. “Fox blacked out two of its news channels, using them as leverage to triple rates on sports and entertainment channels that are not in this contract.”

Fox argues Dish has simply failed to change with the times–which are changing dramatically.”When you won’t accept that businesses evolve, that relationships and partnerships evolve. And the way we deliver content changes. And we both need to adapt. Dish hasn’t changed its packaging since 1993. That kind of marketing and that kind of packaging is outdated.”

Translation: We know we can’t get those rates on those other channels on their own so we’re going to extort the providers by threatening to withold FNC and FBN. But extortion is such a dirty word we shall rephrase it as needing to adapt to changing times.

Carry says Fox’s negotiating team knew this would be tough, deciding to do something they’d never done before: warn viewers they might lose their access to Fox News. “That’s why we messaged out seven days ago that this might happen.” Fox fans got the message, and they are clearly in action.

Did Carry negotiate on behalf of the Weather Channel earlier this year? That last sentence sure makes it sound like he did…

Correction: I goofed on my decimal places yesterday. Math was never my strong suit. The numbers were two decimal places deeper than they should have been and obviously I regret the error…and never making it past Trig in college. The numbers have been corrected to reflect this.

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