Reps. Seek EchoStar Compromise

Scott Greczkowski

Scott Greczkowski

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Reps. Seek EchoStar Compromise
Courtesy MultiChannel News
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By Ted Hearn
7/18/2006 11:59:00 PM

A few House lawmakers from rural districts are trying to broker a compromise to ensure that more than a half-million EchoStar Communications subscribers continue to receive out-of-market feeds of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox programming.

Under a May Federal Appeals Court ruling, EchoStar is facing an injunction that would deny it the right to provide distant network signals to anyone in the United States. As of April 2002, EchoStar sold distant signals to 1.2 million customers, and about one-half were legally ineligible to buy the programming. But the court's ruling apparently would also require denial of service to the 600,000 customers who were legally receiving the programming.

The fate of EchoStar’s eligible subscribers has gained the attention of Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) and Charles Bass (R-N.H.), who have asked EchoStar and hundreds of network affiliates to reach a settlement.

“We all represent rural areas, and we have thousands of constituents who are eligible to receive out-of-market signals. They pass the test,” Boucher said.

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waltinvt

waltinvt

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While on the one hand it's probably a good thing that this issue is getting the attention of some in congress, it also looks like broadcasters are trying to sneak in a mandatory migration from distants to LiLs if / when available clause.

It's also curious that there is no differentiation of digital vs analog, in fact there's no mention of digital at all. It's like they get lumped together as being one and the same under the law, which is not the case.

I think the real motivation here is lawmakers are scrambling a little to head off any possiblility of a backlash occurring right before the elections. At the same time, no one wants to draw attention to the digital issue before the election either.

Dish would be smart to play the "backlash" card to the hilt right now.

They might even be able to convince lawmakers to whip out some quick legislation that not only defines and seperates digital network signals from analog network signals for the purpose of qualification and entitlement but also clearly removes digital distants from the court ruling by virtue of the fact they didn't even exist at the time of the original ruling.

Then if something can come out of Joe Barton's roundtable discussion: http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6354450.html?display=Breaking+News

forcing good faith negations or arbitration between providers and affiliates:

Among other things, the Deal amendment would have allowed any cable or DBS provider to seek arbitration to settle a carriage dispute with a local TV station after a 90-day window of private bargaining. The TV station, which could not pull its signal during arbitration, had to be affiliated with at least one cable network.

Dish might be able to overcome all this with a combination strategy of HD DNS now, to be replaced by HD LiLs as soon as possible.
 
BFG

BFG

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If dish would just get all the remianing local channels up and all the significant views in place, they could be done with the distant service
 
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Greg Bimson

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waltinvt said:
While on the one hand it's probably a good thing that this issue is getting the attention of some in congress, it also looks like broadcasters are trying to sneak in a mandatory migration from distants to LiLs if / when available clause.
Nope. It's already in there.

And that is why quite a few DirecTV subscribers are miffed. Many people are receiving a letter informing them their distant HD feeds will be removed. This is only occurring where DirecTV is currently rebroadcasting HD local feeds.

Think about it. The rules are now setup so that for analog AND digital, if you did not have local channels and want them, you must give up your distant networks. Considering that no one had distant DIGITAL network channels at the time of the law (other than the CBS agreements with both Dish Network and DirecTV and the FOX agreement with DirecTV), the more and more local digital markets to be launched will remove the distants in those markets.

And with the analog cut-off currently in February, 2009, distant networks will be a thing of the past.
 
osu1991

osu1991

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Sep 4, 2004
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The distants are still needed for people in markets that don't have all the major networks. I keep my old directv hd just because I get ABC and Fox hd because the Ada Sherman market where my other house is only has an NBC and CBS station. Dish offers the market in the locals and gives you the choice of Dallas or the national ABC and Fox. That market only has 1 or 2 counties in Texas the rest is in Oklahoma, most of the cable systems offer OKC but dish offers Dallas and no significantly viewed which would add OKC into the mix. There are a lot of bud users in that area or people use a relatives address to "move" into the OKC dma, because having to listen to news about the Texas Longhorns every day is stomach turning in Oklahoma:D .
 

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