Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 25, 2009

DirecTV Vs. Versus…What Round Are We In?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:14 am

One group of people who seem serious about resolving the DirecTV Versus carriage issue are those who run Versus. The only way to really begin to understand the issue to is determine why there is a fight that has reached the point of depriving service to paying customers. Versus has been wide open about their stance; DirecTV somewhat but mostly business-speak lip service.

The good news is that negotiation continues but that light you may see at the end of the tunnel is still flickering.

DirecTV says Versus wants 20% more money and desires placement on a tier that reaches all DirecTV subscribers. The real fight where Versus is concerned does not concern licensing fees per se (they are seeking current market rate), but rather placement of the channel. The money question differs from numbers some of us have been led to believe are true but probably are not; e.g., Versus is seeking ESPN-level rates.

Market rates do not necessarily equal ESPN rates. DirecTV, according to Versus, wants to place the channel on a tier that would mean an immediate loss of 6 million households.

Stuck in the MiddleAs it now stands the absence of DirecTV’s 14 million subscribers puts a real dent in the 75 million homes where Versus has been available, and despite expanded previewing from Dish and some other cable pickups those 14 million subscribers are very important.

Versus actually responds to those from whom they hear, and if you are either a DirecTV subscriber now without Versus or subscribe to a cable system that does not currently carry Versus, you ought to let all parties know.

DirecTV CustomerI applaud those who jumped through hoops to dump DirecTV to get Dish, but you probably should not sign any long-term deals because Versus and Dish have to renegotiate before 2013. In any event, jumping through hoops to watch Versus should not have to happen.

It is almost time for the Indy Car season closer, college football is in full swing and the NHL season starts in a week. If I were you I would keep the heat on both parties to get a deal done. This customer-in-the-middle-of-a-standoff nonsense is just not acceptable. If you have not let your feelings be known, what are you waiting for?


1 Comment »

  1. I suggested in an open letter to both parties that it would be wise for DirecTv to locate Versus in the 200-220 tier where the ESPN’s, Golf Channel, Tennis Channel, and NBA TV now reside.

    I don’t know what the money difference is to be in that tier, but the fact remains, I generally surf the whole tier and it might help ratings for Versus to be there rather than out in the 600 series “hinterlands” with ESPN-U and the Big Ten Network.

    The other issue is that Versus is owned by Comcast, which, along with Time Warner, is one of the premier cable franchises in the country today. That very fact may be a contributor in the money Versus wants from DirecTv.

    While the IndyCar fan base may be vocal (though not particularly large,) once the college football fans and the NHL fans get into the fray, I am hopeful this thing is going to get settled. Whether that will be in time for the finale at Homestead is anyone’s guess.

    Comment by SkipinSC — September 25, 2009 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

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