Pressuring Local TV Advertisers, New Wrinkle In CBS-Dish Dispute

The recent Dish Network and CBS dispute may be offering the TV industry a new way to cause disruption and pressure: local TV advertising.

For years, pay TV retail distributors -- cable, satellite and telco operators -- have asked subscribers to apply pressure to network groups -- either through special website areas or sending emails or calling to get TV networks to relent and agree to make a deal.

For their part, TV network groups have done the same: Asking pay TV subscribers to petition cable, satellite or telco companies to make a deal.

But Dish has taken it up a notch -- asking subscribers to call on local TV advertisers to take action. After Dish customers log in with their ZIP code on its site, it says:

“Local businesses pay for advertising on your local stations, and they are losing viewers. Reach out to local businesses to let them know you need their help getting CBS to end this dispute.”



What kind of response does Dish or other pay TV providers expect from local TV market advertisers? Many of these advertisers double as their clients. 

Typically, big consumer brand advertisers have multifaceted TV campaigns, with advertising on local broadcast TV, local cable and national cable TV network, satellite pay TV services and other platforms.

Imagine major brand marketers phoning Dish Network executives to ask: “How is this helping me? And by the way, what kind of media deal do you have for me now?

Many pay TV providers grab virtually all of their revenues from cable customer subscriptions -- with advertising a tiny piece of the overall revenue picture. Is that what we need to consider here?

The key is whether other pay TV providers will take on this “local business” tactic and how it would work for them.

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