EchoStar Communications Corp. has the backing of cable programmer Court TV in the satellite company’s contentious carriage fight with cable programmer/station owner Viacom Inc.
“Until now, no other customer of ours has forcefully challenged the broadcasters’ clearly consumer-unfriendly demands for retransmission consent,” wrote Court TV EVP Bob Rose to EchoStar Chairman Charlie Ergen. “Congratulations on your aggressive effort.”
Rose points out that Court TV has had to grow to 80 million subs with “no retransmission consent hammer.” Rose said it was “completely ridiculous that any distributor, cable or DBS, be forced to carry all of MTV’s channels simply because Viacom threatens to hold up retransmission consent.”
EchoStar removed 16 CBS stations and a bunch of Viacom’s popular cable nets after a court injunction ran out March 8 without a carriage deal between the two.
In addition, says Rose, digital multicasting issues, "the next phase of this regulatory matter," will only exacerbate the situation for independents like Court TV as they try to gain or retain carriage.