A number of favorite Turner Broadcasting channels have recently disappeared from Dish Network after being dropped from the satellite television giant over a failed agreement on a new contract. The loss of channels affects 14 million Dish customers nationwide. The two companies negotiated for months, but the dispute over the new contract could not be resolved and seven Turner channels including Cartoon Network, CNN and Turner Classic Movies have been removed from the satellite television service.
Conflicts between providers and networks have been taking place for years. Programmer’s high fees and the network’s refusal to pay the ever-increasing fees often end in a network or multiple networks being removed until the demands from viewers or lost revenue from advertisers force the networks to agree to the providers’ demands.
The distributors are also facing new competition from online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and other broadcast providers. Offering programing streamed over the internet at lower pricing have begun to sway viewers away from the high cost cable and satellite fees that customers consistently complain about.
While the dispute in the programing contract between Dish and Turner ended with channels being removed, Time Warner, the parent company to Turner, has been actively looking for ways to increase revenue. Time Warner needs to grow their earnings to cover the ever-increasing programming costs. One of the highest programing costs is sports, and Turner just signed a $11 billion agreement over the next nine years with the NBA. The fees for this new contract are double what they had typically been.
A cable analyst with consulting firm SNL Kagan, Derek Baine, noted on Tuesday that the Turner talks with Dish broke down a short time after executives at Time Warner promised Wall Street that the company would call for a double-digit affiliate fee increase to achieve growth. Blaine also said that Comcast, AT&T, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable are looking to merge, which would give them the upper hand when it comes to negotiations with the programmers and networks.
The negotiations that broke down between Dish and Turner had been going on for months. The contract, which was to expire in July, was extended a number of times because it appeared that the contract was going to be signed. Then on Monday, the talks stalled and the channels were removed from Dish’s programing line up.
The next battle for Dish is anticipated to be with CBS Corp. However, with the NFL in full swing and CBS’s broadcast rights of NFL games and SEC college football games, the leverage seems to fall in CBS’s favor. If negotiations break down like they did with Turner, the possibility of shows like NCIS, Criminal Minds and NFL games may cause Dish customers to go to other options like cable or satellite competitor, DirecTV.
There is hope that the negotiations will pick back up and the Turner Broadcasting line-up that was dropped by Dish Network will return to customers programing line-ups before long. Until then, Dish customers will do without CNN, Cartoon Network and the other beloved Turner Broadcasting channels.
By Carl Auer