Much as we see our family members' foibles, we see the biggest strategic blunders in pay-TV this year in the same way--not as a chance to pick on operators' decisions, good or bad, but to analyze their mistakes and determine how to avoid similar problems. Here are the five biggest pay-TV turkeys of 2014, in all their glorious plumage.
Dish Network and Turner Broadcasting announced an end to a bitter carriage standoff that saw CNN disappear from the satellite operator's program guide for a month, and also threatened to pull TNT and TBS from the service.
With its carriage deal with Dish Network expiring Thursday, Nov. 20, CBS Corp. has agreed keep its channels on the satellite operator's program guide until Nov. 25.
Turner Networks began warning Dish Network customers Tuesday that TNT and TBS could go dark on their satellite service Dec. 5, joining CBS in simultaneous public carriage battles against the pay-TV operator.
After launching a series of TV commercials warning Dish Network subscribers that they could soon lose access to SEC football games, Naval Criminal Investigative Services-themed procedural dramas and the Big Bang Theory, CBS Corp. sent out a statement Tuesday accusing the satellite operator of "dragging its feet for months" in retrans negotiations.
Seeming to further distance itself from a program renewal deal with Viacom, Suddenlink has signed yet another carriage agreement with a smaller programming network, putting Sony Movie Channel on its program guide.
With CNN's ratings hitting record lows recently, Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen is using licensing renewal negotiations with Turner Networks to scale back on smaller services.
Dish Network has taken CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and half a dozen other Turner Networks channels off its program guide after reaching an impasse in program licensing renewal talks.
Barry Diller's IAC may have taken a write-down on Aereo, but he apparently hasn't turned the lights out at the struggling startup.
Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia and other company executives met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week to express support for a rumored FCC ruling that would make it possible for some over-the-top video services to be considered as MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors). It's a scenario that could see Aereo streaming broadcast signals to subscribers once again.