Dish Network subscribers may have a hard time getting their local news and weather today along with some of their favorite network programming. A contract dispute between the satellite TV company and one of the biggest network owners in the country has resulted in one of the biggest TV blackouts to date, with 5 million viewers losing access to nearly 130 channels.
The FCC has an auction process to sell spectrum to businesses. The FCC also is charged with promoting competition. So there’s a credit available to small businesses who play in the auction. But this week, the FCC has had to tell one behemoth that small means small, and that no amount of pretending otherwise will actually change that.
Cord-cutting, in which (usually younger) pay-TV subscribers walk away from cable and embrace new ways of accessing media, has been a known phenomenon since at least 2011. But it’s been a slow-rolling snowball, even as services like Netflix soar into the stratosphere. This year, however, it seems that Wall Street traditionalists have finally caught on to the change, and they’re not happy.
The first half of 2015 brought us the launch of a whole bunch of new over-the-top streaming TV services, including HBO Now and Dish’s Sling. Now, at the midpoint of the year, all of those earnings reports and investor calls are rolling in and we can start to find out just how popular those services are. Or we could… if executives would talk. Instead, they hem and haw and hedge and make only two things clear. One: cord-cutters are real. And two: when it comes to streaming, Netflix is still the biggest elephant in the room.
With everyone else in the cable/Internet/wireless business gone merger-mad, the only thing that telecom titan Verizon has purchased recently is AOL for a few billion bucks. The company has long been suggested as a prime buyer for satellite TV service Dish, but a top Verizon executive says that’s just not happening. [More]
Back in Nov. 2014, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that his company’s Showtime network would “fairly definitively” launch some sort of standalone streaming service in 2015. Since then, there hasn’t really been much news about it. But since HBO has launched HBO Now without the world coming to an end, it looks like it might be time for CBS to unveil that service. [More]
UPDATE: Sling has confirmed that it will offer HBO (both live and on-demand) to users for an additional $15/month. [More]
TV production and distribution is a complicated entanglement of interests involving studios, distributors, networks, and pay-TV services, not to mention deals any of these people might have with other companies like home video or on-demand streaming sites. That’s been one of the huge impediments to getting live-streaming of all TV content — having to please all those parties who may not all agree. And that appears to be why Sling TV users are now finding that they can’t access every show on all of the networks. [More]
Dish’s standalone streaming Sling TV service continues to add more value to its $20/month subscription price, with the announcement today that Sling is now accessible through Xbox One consoles and that four channels are being added to the standard Sling lineup. [More]
Earlier this week, a Dish executive claimed that Comcast was afraid of so-called over-the-top streaming services like Dish’s Sling TV and that the cable giant could use its size and influence to prevent broadcasters from signing onto Sling and others. Now Comcast is saying it has nothing to fear from these new services, but won’t commit to avoiding deals that make it difficult for them to compete. [More]
One of the most common knocks against Dish’s Sling TV streaming service is that it just doesn’t offer you enough channels for the $20/month subscription, but today Sling will get more attractive to some as AMC and IFC are added to the base package of channels at no additional cost, while users also have the option of a $5 premium bundle from Epix. [More]
The FCC’s recently approved net neutrality rules will prohibit all Internet service providers from blocking any legal content from being sent or received by their users. But when an ISP also controls the nation’s largest pay-TV audience, perhaps it could use that leverage to prevent certain content from ever going online in the first place. [More]
Just a few weeks ago, Dish launched its Sling TV streaming service which some hailed as a cord-cutter’s dream, but which is honestly more targeted at people who want only the most basic cable TV access without having to deal with cable companies. Dish’s founder (and soon-to-return CEO) recognizes Sling’s limits and says that Sony’s forthcoming streaming service is likely to be the real marketplace disruptor. [More]
The future may be online, but satellite pay-TV company DirecTV isn’t exactly rushing to embrace that future with open arms. The CEO of DirecTV this week admitted that the company is investigating the option of starting their own streaming service, but he was less than enthusiastic about the idea, seeing it as unlikely to be profitable.
With AT&T and Verizon comfortably controlling the two lead spots in the U.S. wireless market, it’s left to Sprint and T-Mobile to duke it out over the third-place position. And if you believe the latest chest-thumping from T-Mo CEO John Legere, his company is now at least tied with Sprint if not ahead. [More]
After six months of losing subscribers, DirecTV bounced back in the last quarter, adding a net 149,000 customers for its satellite TV service. Why the sudden change in fortunes? It has a little something to do with Dish Network’s very public carriage disputes in recent months. [More]