Wow, that was fun, listening to the Oregon State-Arizona football game today on my tinny-sounding Radio Shack portable radio.
Since I wanted OSU to win, the game was crappy. And my mood wasn't made better by realizing this morning that DIRECTV has dropped the Versus channel where the game was on.
I should sue for bait and switch.
Back in January I changed from DISH to DIRECTV after getting irritated at losing the local ABC affiliate (KATU) when DISH and Fisher Communications got into a pissing match over an increase in programming charges.
I even got all lovey-dovey with DirecTV after making the move.
If you're thinking of getting rid of DISH network because it no longer has a favorite local station (like Portland's KATU, in our case), don't hesitate to jump to DirecTV.
That's what I decided to do, and after five days of experience with DirecTV -- the installer came last Thursday -- I'm wondering why I didn't dump DISH sooner.
Now, like they say, it's deja vu all over again.
DIRECTV was already paying Comcast more than any other non-Comcast distributor to air Versus — and now Comcast is demanding an overall rate hike of 20% on top of that. Comcast also forces DIRECTV to make Versus available to a much larger portion of our customer base at our own expense than they require from other TV providers — most notably, DISH Network. We simply cannot accept these unfair and outrageous terms. All we're asking from Comcast is equal treatment.
Versus/Comcast blames DIRECTV, naturally.
If you are a DirecTV customer, you are most likely aware that VERSUS’ contract with the satellite provider expired on August 31. Throughout our discussions, VERSUS made fair and reasonable offers to DirecTV – simply asking them to carry the network at a comparable level of distribution as they had for several years, at the same market price that other operators are currently paying. Yet, despite our good-faith negotiations, DirecTV chose to remove VERSUS from its programming lineup and deny millions of passionate sports fans access to our comprehensive coverage of the sports they love.
Here's how I score the blame game: DIRECTV 0, Versus/Comcast 0. They're both losers, and I couldn't care less about who did what to whom, or why they did it.
Just give me the programming that was available when I signed up for DIRECTV, and now isn't. Pretty damn simple.
With the DISH vs. Fisher Communications dispute, a commenter on one of my blog posts said that the supposedly outrageous 82% rate increase Fisher was demanding amounted to eight cents a month per subscriber.
I suspect this DIRECTV vs. Comcast/Versus battle is over a roughly similar amount (though there's also another issue involved here).
It's interesting how neither side talks about actual cost numbers, just percentages. Probably this is because big corporate egos are fighting over a few cents, while DIRECTV customers get screwed as the CEOs play their petty games.
I accepted DIRECTV's offer to express my concerns by emailing them.
I didn't realize that DirecTV wasn't offering Versus any more until I saw a big ad in today's newspaper urging people to switch from DirecTV if they want to see football games like today's Oregon State vs. Arizona -- which is only on Versus. Great. I switched to DirecTV from Dish because Dish was in an argument with Fisher Communications about its ABC affiliate in Portland. Now DirecTV is doing the same thing.
Look: we subscribers would rather pay a few cents more per month and be able to watch what we want to watch. DirecTV bills itself as offering a large choice of sports programming, but now you shut off a major sports channel. Doesn't make sense. I hope you get your act together soon, or you're going to lose customers just like Dish Network did.
Tonight I got a marvelously impersonal email response from DIRECTV customer service: it was a copy of the exact page on their web site where I was invited to express my concerns -- incuding this identical line.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at [email protected].
Thanks, but no thanks. I'm going around in circles. I just hope the contract negotiations with Versus/Comcast aren't.