December 22nd, 2014
This past Saturday night, Dish Network’s viewers of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network got screwed, caught in the middle of a corporate war. I’m one of those subscribers.
Dish Network, America’s third-largest pay-TV service, claims it cannot satisfactorily renew its contract with 21st Century Fox — and vice versa.
To retaliate, Dish prevented its 14M subscribers from getting Fox’s news and business channels. Take that.
In the war of words, Dish claims that Fox News withdrew from its satellite network, while Fox News insists that Dish pulled the plug. Who will keep the monogrammed towels?
What About the Customers?
Turns out that Dish recently blocked CBS and CNN, also over contractual impasses. So, it’s nothing personal against Fox. Dish ditches its customers as a negotiating tactic.
So reassuring. What about the customers? Oh, those pawns. They’re paying the same rate to Dish for a product sans Fox News, the #1 cable-news network.
No worries. Through a new website, Dish tells angry customers how much it cares about them. Fox also created a new website: to tell its viewers to ditch Dish.
If this horseshit continues, Dish will become known as Ditch.
In chapter 13 (“Channel Branding”) of Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding, I exhort CEOs: If your dealers stink, you stink! Customers view the vendor/dealer ecosystem as a single entity. Never forget that.
Newsflash to Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News: Dish Network is one of your dealers. Switching dealers isn’t that easy for customers, and the reputations of the alternatives aren’t stellar. You can’t just leave your viewers in the lurch like this. Such abandonment causes angst and resentment, and it damages your vaunted brand.
Its time for Fox News and other content providers to bypass traditional pay-TV carriers by broadcasting directly to viewers over the Internet. All new TVs are Internet-enabled, and many people already watch TV programs on their computers and mobile devices.
Parting Advice to CEOs
Never let your dealers hold you hostage and ruin your brand. Accordingly, dealers must not let suppliers likewise harm their brands.
More important, don’t let your customers suffer from your supplier/dealer squabbles.
BOTTOM LINE: If you want to end up in a ditch, ditch your customers. Are you listening, Ditch Network?
POSTSCRIPT #1: Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen Accuses Fox News of Extortion
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2014 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.