CNN, which has been struggling in the ratings, was dealt a big blow late Monday when the cable news network, along with other Turner Broadcasting channels, were removed from Dish Network after the two companies failed to reach an agreement on programming fees.
Dish moved quickly to replace CNN with MSNBC, and told customers to go online to get Turner’s programming, some of which isn’t available without cable or satellite TV provider verification.
‘We are confident that we have offered a deal to Turner that reflects an appropriate value for our customers,’ said Warren Schlichting, Dish’s senior vice president-programming, in a statement.
‘Despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an agreement with Dish Network,’ Turner said. ‘Dish is once again operating in a disruptive manner that takes away networks and programming from their customers.’
Disputes over cable programming fees have become more common in recent years, as the cable networks seek to squeeze more money from the cable and satellite providers to cover their programming costs. The networks are trying to compensate for falling advertising revenues as viewers abandon cable for Internet streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which have grown tremendously in the last few years.
For Dish, as well as other cable and satellite providers, they have decided to take a stand against the skyrocketing fee increases demanded by cable networks—Turner has declared that they will seek a double-digit increase in fees in 2016. This has a big effect on subscribers, who are tired of increasing subscription fees and have been “cutting the cord” for the last few years in large numbers, which is also crimping revenues.
The longer that Turner holds out for the fees they seek, the more they hurt their channels—particularly CNN, which can ill afford to lose viewers. But that is what will happen the longer they remain off the air. For Dish, it makes their service less valuable to subscribers and will only encourage more “cord cutting.”
I don’t know how the Dish subscribers are going to react to this development, but I know that if my cable provider were to drop the Turner channels, I would barely notice or care.