DIRECTV, Now You're Lying!
Washington, D.C. (October 30,
DIRECTV last week filed a complaint with the
Federal Communications Commission, charging Fox with being
in the companies' ongoing dispute over programming fees.
But now DIRECTV has been caught in a lie -- and it's designed to
make its subscribers think their bills will rise by 40 percent
if the satcaster agrees to Fox's demands to carry roughly two
dozen Fox cable networks including FX, the Fox Movie Channel and
19 regional sports channels.
In a new video posted at DIRECTV's web site, OurPromisetoYou.com,
DIRECTV CEO Mike White tells his subscribers that News Corp,
Fox's owner, "wants you to pay 40 percent more for the exact
same channels you watch today." (The video was also posted this
weekend on DIRECTV's on-screen guide.)
But here's the problem with that statement: It's not true.
News Corp., and Fox, have not requested DIRECTV's
subscribers pay 40 percent more, as White says. But they have
requested DIRECTV to pay News Corp. "40 percent more." (The
exact amount is in dispute. DIRECTV says 40 percent; Fox says
DIRECTV CEO Mike
White forgets the truth in his message to subscribers.
The difference is vast. A subscriber's bill is based on all the
channels he has ordered, not just the Fox cable networks, which
might represent less than 10 percent of the subscriber's lineup.
So even if DIRECTV wound up paying Fox 40 percent more,
subscriber bills wouldn't suddenly rise 40 percent. DIRECTV
might raise the price of a monthly programming package by a few
percentage points to cover the extra costs, but it certainly
wouldn't be anywhere close to 40 percent.
But White clearly has purposely left the impression that the
average DIRECTV subscriber will see a 40 percent increase in his
bill if DIRECTV accepts Fox's demands. This was done to
reduce customer anger if DIRECTV decides not to pay and take the
two dozen Fox channels off the air on November 1, the deadline
for agreeing to a new deal.
White is hoping that subscribers won't get upset -- and/or
switch to another TV provider -- if they believe that Fox is
trying to raise their bills by 40 percent. If DIRECTV can divert
subscriber anger onto Fox, then it's easier to keep its
customers on board.