Dish Network Expects “Greed” To Govern Retransmission Talks With Disney

Dish Network‘s carriage deal with Disney to keep carrying its ABC stations and cable services including ESPN and the Disney Channel will have to be renewed later this year, and some analysts wonder whether talks will run aground: ABC is one of the major networks suing Dish for violating their copyrights with its Hopper DVR, which can automatically zap their ads on time-shifted shows. But Dish execs say that they aren’t concerned. “I would not expect them to take (ABC) down,” CEO Joe Clayton told analysts today. “Normally greed prevails. There’ll be a discussion and a win-win for both companies.” Chairman Charlie Ergen added that, with the big outlays ESPN has made for sports programming rights, the loss of revenue from Dish’s 14.1M subscribers “would be a long term problem for Disney.” But Ergen adds that Dish has been “misunderstood” in the Hopper dispute. All DVR users can skip commercials, and “what we’re really saying to the broadcasters is there’s a way for you to not put your head in the sand.” Dish wants to help them target ads so viewers don’t have to watch commercials for products that don’t interest them. “I think we can show broadcasters that we’re not foe — we’re friend,” Ergen says. “The advertising model is going to change with or without the Hopper.”

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