Monday, March 07, 2005

Nexstar Broadcasting CEO Perry Sook told Radio and Television Business Report that Dish Network had 1,100 signups during the first week after the signals for KODE and KSNF were pulled off Cable One in Joplin.
Sook's statements, featured in the main story in the magazine's March issue, are the first to put a number to just how many new satellite dishes Dish Network has installed.
Sook said Cable One has lost between 3,000 and 4,000 of its 25,000 Joplin subscribers. He said these are either people who have "gone to Dish or disconnected their service because they're not offering our service/z'
Sook added, "And if you're moving to Joplin, Mo., today and you've got Dish Network and Cable One for about the same amount of money but Dish Network offers the ABC and the NBC affiliate where Cable One doesn't, I think I know where my dollars are going to go."
The Nexstar CEO indicated that cable is at 1994 levels and fading. "The cable business is under siege from DirecTV and Dish Network that are taking away their subscribers and for the life of me I don't understand cable's position on this. I think if my business was under siege I would want to have as many partners and relationships with my contract providers as opposed to this adversarial relationship."
The magazine which, as you can tell by its title, favors the broadcasting industry, also had a segment in which other broadcasters voiced their support for Sook's hardball tactics with Cable One and Cox Communications.
I would have been more impressed, except one of the two was John Dittmeier, chief operating officer of Mission Broadcasting, Nexstar's partner and alleged owner of KODE, and the other was Scott Thomas, general manager of Nexstar station KTAL in Shreveport, La.
Dittmeier echoes Sook. "Cable operators have always made their wealth on the backs of broadcasters," he said. "I think most other broadcasters are in the cheerleading section for us on this battle. Some are saying good luck and others are saying this is where it has to start. I think this will end the way we want it to end, but regardless, I think there will be a heck of a lot of respect not only directed at Nexstar but I think at the broadcast industry that know we're having to change our way of thinking here to continue the revenue stream and to meet the challenges of the future."
Thomas said national and regional advertisers have been completely supportive of Nexstar in its battle with the cable companies. "Any trouble we have had has been caused by our competitors distributing incorrect information."
Would those be the same competitors that Mr. Dittmeier says are in the cheerleading section for Nexstar?

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