Friday, July 2, 2010

Fuse On Receiving End Of What Dolan Dishes Out

Distribution platforms like Cablevision, Dish and others don't like paying for content. Contract negotiations tend to be acrimonious and ultimately the consumer is affected. Recent events with Cablevision and Time Warner resulted in channels being dropped off of cable line-ups while negotiations continued past deadlines. Ads got nasty and ultimately settlement got reached. And consumers found themselves with higher cable bills as a result of this outcome.

So now, Cablevision, who recently spun off Fuse into its own company, yet still owned by the Dolan Family, are on the opposite side of the negotiation table with another distributor. "After playing hardball in talks with Scripps Networks over carriage fees, Dolan now finds himself in a fee fight with satellite-TV operator Dish Network over his Fuse music channel." Now it is Fuse's turn to ask for higher license fees and for Dish to turn of the channel while negotiations continue.

Dish and Dolan have had a bad relationship of late. A previous HD service, Voom, was dropped by Dish. Bad blood, lawsuits, and most likely hurt feelings still remain. Fuse may simply be the next nail in the coffin by Dish to go after Dolan. Is either party right in this negotiation? No. But the old adage of what goes around comes around seems to apply. Yes programming fees go up as do ad rates. Yes Operators want costs down to keep margins up. And ultimately the consumer pays these higher costs anyway!