Friday, March 18, 2016

Here we go yet again--the audience is invoked to call the shots for Dish, NBC Universal re: MSNBC

Media moguls at Dish and Comcast don't agree on Comcast's fee hike for MSNBC and  now both run ads aimed at the audience to care whether or not Dish should pay the higher fee to continue to carry MSNBC.  And as was the case in Viacom vs Suddenlink, both sides overestimate their value to their audiences.  There's a bit of a spin on that, and that is Comcast's muscle over MSNBC and its trend to be a liberal-leaning media entity; Comcast doesn't care for MSNBC's leanings, seeking to overhaul it instead and could actually use the artificially dwindled audience/ratings numbers as a good excuse to outright kill off the entity if it sees fit.

And so both are running ads on MSNBC encouraging the audience to either fight Dish in favor of the rate hike or fight Comcast's rate hike.  Here's the deal, though--Fox has always crowed about how it always beats MSNBC in ratings on any given day, any given quarter, any given year and the truth of this is based on the fact that Fox is always provided to every cable viewer in every state of the union as part of the basic cable package.  MSNBC is part of a basic cable package only in some states but not all of them--ratings comparisons are not legit in the first place because of this. What's going to happen if Dish drops MSNBC is that it gives Comcast a bigger reason to gut the thing.  But given the quirks of availability in basic cable, that's not going to work well either.

We're going to see more of these rate hike disputes, declares the Wall Street Journal.  As long as web TV makes further inroads into the broader audience eyeball count, both Dish and cable are going to see declines in revenues from their audiences making cost-cutting necessary; this may very well lead to the eventual extinction of both types of entities with universal access to content would be the world wide web.

Bottom line: the audience is who determines the bottom line in all cases.  All major corporations remain at the mercy of the audiences, as well they should.

Denver Business Journal's other article on new Dish vs NBCUniversal lawsuit.

From Deadline Hollywood

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