Carriage Disagreements Inflict OTT Pain

Collateral TV network damage could now be making its way into the OTT space.

The ongoing Dish Network carriage battle with Spanish-language TV network group Univision and its networks has made its way to Dish’s OTT lineup on its Sling TV service -- all of which may effect non-Univision networks.

Let's start with Sling TV’s basic packages. Its “Orange” and “Blue” packages are each priced at $25 a month. For $5 more, you could get the “Broadcast Extra” -- somewhat of a misnomer -- because it includes a small selection of over-the-air networks, ABC, Univision and UniMás.

But other big broadcast networks -- Fox and NBC  -- can be found on the Sling “Blue” platform in selected markets. CBS isn’t in either the “Blue” or the Broadcast Extra package; Sling TV doesn’t have any deal with CBS. (CBS is on the satellite Dish Network.)

Confused? Welcome to OTT.



Because of Univision's disagreement with Dish Network, Sling TV has decided to stop offering its networks “Broadcast Extra.” That means devoted viewers to Walt Disney’s ABC are also now affected.

Sling TV notes, for example, some of ABC’s NBA programming also appears on ESPN, which is on Sling TV's basic packages -- or consumers can possibly get ABC through an over-the-air antenna.

Will consumers mind? In the past, carriage disputes on the big cable, satellite, or telco pay TV services could be well-honed public PR battles between specific TV networks groups and TV providers. 

OTT consumers understand the modest price for these new services: $20 to $40 a month. That means a narrower selection of networks than what they are used to. But does this mean they should expect more complex channel disruptions as well?

Perhaps consumers feel Sling TV should have devised a technical way to cut out Univision networks -- and leave in ABC in the Broadcast Extra package, as well as adjusting the price.

Should we bring up the old TV term “a la carte” network selection again?

In this modern age of TV and media technology, consumers must be surprised that media technology still doesn’t give them all they desire.

Instead, TV consumers endure more heighten turmoil and disruption between networks and their new digital TV providers. It’s over-the-top, for sure.

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