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Dish, Fox prove their contempt for customers

Let’s get this out of the way at the top – I’m not mad at anyone.

This post is not a rant or flaming link-bait to get things off my chest. In fact, I will not link to any of the stories I mention in this post, though I will quote liberally from them. (If you really want to read what everyone else has to say about this, I would suggest the Google.) I think this is a somewhat-interesting story, about corporations that have no idea that I exist, yet they want to try to extract as much cash out of me as possible. It goes like this…

There is a disagreement between Dish Network and Fox Networks over fees. That much can be verified without dispute. Let me break that down. Only four things do we know for sure, because everyone agrees that these are true:

  1. There is a disagreement.
  2. This disagreement is between Dish Network and Fox Networks.
  3. This disagreement centers on the fees that Dish pays to Fox in order to carry the Fox programming. This includes FX, National Geographic channel, and 19 regional sports channels.
  4. Because of this disagreement, these Fox channels are no longer being carried by Dish.

Dish and Fox disagree about everything else related to this disagreement. Each says the other is to blame. They don’t even agree on who dropped whom. Dish says Fox pulled their channels. Fox says Dish dropped them. It amounts to the same thing – the end result being that Dish customers no longer have access to these channels.

Dish says Fox is being greedy and asking for a 50% increase in fees. Fox says that’s not true, that Dish is being the greedy one, trying to pad their billion-dollar profits.

Fox has a zippy little website – GetWhatIPaidFor.com – that gives their side of the fight.

Dish has countered with a host of web addresses, including WeOfferedFoxAFairDeal.com, FoxShakedownDISH.com, FoxRefused.com, HowMuchMoreCanWeTake.com, DISHWillContinueToFightForCustomers.com, ForceFedChannels.com, and JoinTheFightAgainstFox.com.

The spin from Dish is “Dish Network is Fighting for You!”, casting Fox as the Big, Bad, Evil Meanie, and themselves as the heroes that have come to save the day.

Fox has gone with a more subdued and defensive posture, choosing to use “Myth vs. Fact” articles to state their position.

I don’t know who is to blame. Both companies are doing okay financially, from what I can tell. There are thousands and thousands of companies that have to fight these corporate battles daily. Most of them I don’t care about. I wouldn’t care about this one, except for one thing – I’m a Dish subscriber. I have been for five years.

Until recently, I was receiving two of the nineteen sports channels that were just dropped from Dish, Fox Sports Florida and Sun Sports. I was grandfathered into the Top 200 package from Dish. (Fortunately, that’s the only thing I’ve been grandfathered into.) The Top 120 package does not have the two regional sports channels, and costs 39.99. The Top 120+ costs 44.99. The difference for those five dollars? The two regional sports channels. Then for another 10 dollars, you jump to the Top 200.

So, 120 channels costs $39.99 and 122 channels costs $44.99, what do those two channels cost each customer? In case you can’t follow the math, those two channels are costing the customer – me – $5.

As I said, I don’t care who is right and who is wrong in this fight. Probably both have valid concerns and probably both are being ridiculous about some things. The bottom line is – I’m paying $5 more than I should be, because that $5 is getting me nothing.

Dish is currently making other channels available in an attempt to appease their dissatisfied customers. “We know these channels are important to you which is why during the FOX Sports lock-out, we’re pleased to bring you 20 additional sports channels at no cost.” Here’s the thing – it’s not really 20 additional channels, because several of them, such as the NFL, NHL, and NBA channels, I already get. The rest of the 20 are regional sports channels, which are blacked-out in many instances for various reasons.

Part of the current corporate strategy is to use Facebook and Twitter to win friends and influence your customers. On all of the sites, including their social feeds, their strategy has included the push for customers to rain down buckets of hate on Fox. “Call, email!”

Simple question – Dish, Fox…why should I try to solve your problems? If you want me to negotiate on your behalf, I’ll be expecting a consultant’s fee. Otherwise, get to the table and work it out!

Here is the Twitter conversation I’ve been having with Dish:

ME: Dear @DishNetwork – no, I will not call/email anyone on your behalf. Please solve your own problems…and send my refund while you’re at it.

DISH: @TimMcDaniel If you would like us to look into the refund be submitted send us a tweet. *M

ME: @dishnetwork looks like I’m paying at least $5 too much for regional sports I’m not getting. (A 922 would ease the pain 🙂

DISH: @TimMcDaniel We are not offering credits or free equipment because we hope to have this resolved quickly. Do you get the free previews? *JH

ME: @dishnetwork I’m not paying for free previews. They wouldn’t be free, would they? I’m paying for channels I’m not getting.

ME: @dishnetwork When you resolve, then I’ll pay. For now, you’re taking money for services not delivered.

DISH: @TimMcDaniel Customers sign an agreement that states programming is subject to change. Working to reach a fair deal with FOX! *JH

ME: @dishnetwork nice. Difference between my package and one $5 less is those regional fox sports channels. My subscription is subject to change

DISH: @TimMcDaniel I can help you temporarily downgrade your programming if you’d like! *JH

ME: @dishnetwork Thanks. You’ve already done that.

While I don’t know the details of this fee disagreement between Dish and Fox, and I don’t know how unreasonable Fox is being in this matter, I do know that Dish is coming off as being as slimy and despicable as any politician. Blame and finger-pointing don’t build credibility.

A perfect example of this is this quote from Dish’s website – “While FOX is spending money on scare tactics, DISH Network is negotiating in good faith.” Um…yeah. Maybe. And employing many scare tactics of your own. And refusing to refund money you are taking under false pretenses.

I love this quote from TVPredictions.com – “At this point, there would appear to be no winners or losers in the battle over whether Dish should provide additional compensation to Fox to carry the channels. (Their old fee agreement expired on September 30.) The one exception, of course: the Dish viewers who can’t watch some of their favorite channels; they are clear losers.

All in all, this is contempt for me. The customer. The Dish viewer. At least for now.

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ThoughtStream

That criminal software thing [Mc]

Trudi said something the other day about “that criminal software thing you posted about.” She was talking about a status update I had on Facebook concerning the latest MacHeist.

If you don’t know, MacHeist is a promotion involving a number of Mac software developers who are offering there software at a greatly reduced price as part of the MacHeist 3 Bundle. This version of the Bundle includes a wide variety of utility and specialty applications. Some of them are very useful, such as photo editor Acorn and recording utility Wire Tap Studio. I was really excited about Kinemac, a professional 3D animation app, which regularly sells for $299.

At present there are nine applications with a total value of $601.80, available in the Bundle for only $39. That’s the price for all nine together, not the price for each one. That’s an incredible value, especially if you have a need for a few of these applications.

And the catch? Actually, I wouldn’t call it a catch – just a bonus. As I said, at present there are nine applications in the Bundle. When the Bundle was released (a few days ago) there were only eight. The catch is that when total sales of the Bundle reach a certain pre-determined point, they unlock more apps. Currently, we are waiting for the next unlock point, which is $400k. When sales hit that point, BoinxTV will be released.

That’s why I’m writing this post, because I really would like that program. It’s actually something I looked at for the church, but at $199, it was a little too much. But it looks great. So, if you have a Mac, and you like really good software at insanely cheap prices, go take a look.

The other thing about MacHeist is that 25% of every sale is donated to charity. You get to pick, from a list of 10 charities, where your donation will go.

Of course, if you’ve never heard of MacHeist, then you probably have never heard of the MacHeist controversy. In a nutshell, the people don’t like MacHeist think it’s unfair to the developers, that they are being robbed, and by purchasing the Bundle, consumers are being mean and dirty and cheap and favoring the big, bad marketer over the innocent, pure developer.

One blogger actually said, “Put it this way: would you rather pay $10 to Universal Music Group for a music album, or $15 directly to the band in question?”

This might not be obvious to you – as it wasn’t to me – but his answer is that we should spend more because the creator would get more.

Um…whatever.

So…I’m not going to link to that blogger, because he offered that piece of advice to me for free. Instead I’ll link to Apple, since his blog is hosted on their servers and they paid a lot of money for those servers so that he would have the ability to post idiotic, link-bait, gibberish like that. (And I’ll also link to John Gruber, where I got the link to the blogger’s blog.)

In the meantime, I’m going to download SousChef and see how Trudi likes it.

[Update: I should also mention that the applications in the Bundle aren’t trial, demo, or previous versions of the software. They are full, up-to-date versions. In fact, SousChef is a new version as of the release of the Bundle, as are a couple of others.]