The licensing and retransmission battles between programmers and pay-TV operators have taken on near-legendary status over the past few years, as costs for content continue to rise. From Dish Network's bitter words with Turner Networks to Viacom's tete-a-tete with Suddenlink Communications that saw all its channels pulled off the MSO, carriage negotiations have become nail-biting shows worthy of bringing popcorn along to watch.
Sling TV has signed up its first premium channel: The over-the-top service announced a deal with EPIX to bring four of the network's channels to subscribers, along with 2,000 video-on-demand titles.
Facing investor headwinds as it approaches upcoming licensing renewal deals with the No. 3 pay-TV operator in the U.S., Viacom is getting pressure in some Wall Street circles to remarry CBS Corp.
Fox News' total audience performance has declined by 21.4 percent since its parent company removed it from 14 million Dish Network homes on Dec. 20, according to Nielsen ratings data pulled exclusively for FierceCable by the research department of a leading media agency.
The National Cable Television Cooperative has announced its first-ever broadcast retransmission agreement with The Walt Disney Company, a deal that covers eight stations in major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Giving consumers one more retrans dispute to end the year, NBCUniversal has threatened to block out its broadcast network and 10 cable channels on Cable One if a renewal deal isn't in place by New Year's Day.
Already adept at scaring its rapt audience, Fox News has begun warning Dish Network subscribers that the channel, along with Fox Business News, could disappear from their program guides "any day now."
After fighting hard in federal court to keep "AutoHop" legal, Dish Network has effectively used the commercial-skipping DVR feature as a key bargaining chip in retrans talks with the networks that sued it.
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.