Yesterday at midnight DISH Network opted to remove Bonten and Esteem signals from their distribution network. We know it does not matter to the viewer who is at fault but we would like to provide you with some information regarding our negotiations with DISH Network and remember our signals are always free to you by using an over-the-air antenna. You may also contact DISH at 1-800-823-4929.
DISH packages and sells our programming to consumers for a profit. Producing and providing these programs for use by DISH costs Bonten and Esteem millions of dollars a year. We feel we are entitled to proper compensation for this programming.
The payments we are requesting from DISH are small. It is easy to make this seem like an outrageous fee when taken out of context but the reality is what we are requesting from DISH amounts to a few pennies a day per subscriber. It is less than 20% of what DISH subscribers are paying for ESPN.
The cost of programming from ABC, NBC and FOX to our stations is skyrocketing. It is the most significant reason why the prices we charge distributors like DISH must increase.
Historically, networks have provided programming to stations in exchange only for commercial time. In fact, not so many years ago, networks actually paid stations to clear the programming. However, the media marketplace is in rapid change. Now stations must pay the networks for the programming in addition to providing the commercial time. These payments amount to millions of dollars a year for our Company. We are unable to absorb these costs; they must be passed along to the distributors.
Adequate compensation for our programming is a matter of survival for local television stations.
Like many other local broadcasters, we are a small company caught between the big networks that are demanding and extracting large payments for our affiliation with them, and multi-billion dollar distributors like DISH who do not want to pay reasonable amounts for the programming we provide. Advertising revenues are not enough. Unless we are able to receive proper compensation, we will not be able to survive.
This is the first time in Bonten’s history that we have not been able to come to an agreement with a cable or satellite distributor.
We have negotiated dozens of these agreements over the past six years and have always been able to come to terms.
There are many other options for you, our viewers to receive our programming, including through the other satellite distributor, DirecTV, and through cable distributors. Our programming is also available free over-the-air to viewers. Most viewers can receive the over-the-air signal by hooking up a small indoor antenna to their television set.
We are working to come to an agreement with DISH.
We know this is an inconvenience to you, our viewers. We will do everything within reason to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. We must, however, achieve an agreement that helps to secure the viability of our stations.