April 2, 2011 |
By next week, troubled home entertainment company Blockbuster Inc. might be in the hands of a famed Wall Street investor, a satellite TV company, a South Korean telecom firm, a group of hedge funds or another buyer. On Monday, the DVD-rental chain that was once the biggest name in American home entertainment will go up for auction after a planned reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection failed when its financial performance deteriorated faster than expected. Blockbuster has fallen behind fast-growing competitors like Netflix and Redbox, and has been unable to support a nearly $1-billion debt load.
February 11, 2011 |
Shares of Dish Network Corp. surged Thursday after an analyst said AT&T Inc. might make a bid for the satellite television provider. Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group, said that Dish's wireless-spectrum assets ? which could enable a partnering phone carrier to offer a "triple play bundle of video, voice and data" services ? are key to its appeal. As part of AT&T, Dish would "almost certainly" see a boost in subscribers and probably a drop in installation and customer service costs, Chaplin wrote.
December 16, 2010 |
DirecTV Inc. has settled misleading-advertising complaints, agreeing to pay state governments $13.25 million and reimburse customers who claimed the company did not adequately explain price policies. The settlement ended complaints brought by 50 state attorneys general that the satellite television giant, based in El Segundo, lured customers to sign up for service by offering deals without fully explaining the costs of the contract. For example, DirecTV offered a promotional rate of $29.99 a month when the regular charges for service were $53.99 or $63.99 a month.
July 22, 2010 |
Shortly after Mike White took over as chief executive of DirecTV, the former longtime PepsiCo executive discovered that the satellite broadcaster's human resources department had carted away all the Coke machines from the company's El Segundo headquarters. "They pulled the machines without asking me, and I got complaints about it," White laughingly recalled. "I said, 'Put the Coke machines back.' " Just as DirecTV went out of its way to make White feel welcome, he made a point of getting to know the people at his new employer.
April 10, 2010 |
Protesters in Thailand overran a satellite TV station Friday and muscled their anti-government TV channel back on the air in a sign of rising defiance two days after authorities declared a state of emergency in Bangkok, the capital. Thousands of protesters, known as "Red Shirts," dodged water cannons and tear gas as they scrambled over barbed wire to open the gates of the secure site. Most troops quickly dropped their bid to defend the Thaicom satellite station, about 35 miles north of Bangkok, allowing the People's Channel to resume transmissions to about 10 million viewers.
October 18, 2009 |
Ken Gray lost everything in August when his two-bedroom cabin burned to the ground in the devastating Station fire, the largest blaze in recorded Los Angeles County history. The last thing he figured he needed to worry about were the two satellite-TV receivers consumed by the flames. DirecTV had other ideas. The company deducted $279.87 from Gray's bank account to cover the cost of its burned-to-a-crisp boxes, plus taxes. "It's hard to believe," Gray, 63, told me. "What I'd like to do is take a shovel full of ashes from my cabin and dump it on their desk.
September 5, 2009 |
A last-minute attempt by cable television companies to impose a 5% sales tax on their satellite-TV competitors ran out of time Friday as the 2009 legislative session headed into its last week. Cable companies, which pay a 5% franchise fee to local governments for the right to run their lines on public property, said it would be fair to slap the same levy on satellite operators, such as DirecTV Group Inc. and Dish Network Corp. State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), who was expected to carry a satellite tax bill, signaled that he would postpone the effort until at least next year.
September 3, 2009 |
In the long-running battle between cable television and satellite, the cable TV industry is quietly trying to persuade the Legislature to levy a tax on its competitors. With just six days left in the legislative session, cable advocates in Sacramento want lawmakers to slap a new 5% tax on satellite service to match the 5% franchise fee that cable companies pay to string or bury their wires across public property and into homes. Cable companies argue that it's matter of fairness.
September 2, 2009 |
Call it Goliath Versus Goliath. Cable giant Comcast Corp. is locked in an ugly battle with satellite broadcaster DirecTV over the sports channel Versus. Unable to strike a new deal with Comcast, DirecTV on Tuesday dropped carriage of Versus to its 14 million subscribers. Such disputes are usually resolved behind the scenes, but not in this case. After removing Versus from its lineup, DirecTV slapped a notice on the channel the network had occupied, announcing: "Comcast, which owns Versus, has forced us to take down the channel because we will not submit to their unfair and outrageous demands."
August 22, 2009 |
For the last couple of days, DirecTV satellite television subscribers have been seeing a crawl if they've watched any Versus network programming telling them that as of Aug. 31, DirecTV will no longer carry Versus. For college football and NHL fans who get their television through DirecTV, this could be bad news. Five Pacific 10 Conference games (as yet undetermined) as well as an assortment of Big 12 and Mountain West games, and an NHL package of 54 games could become unavailable to DirecTV subscribers just when those seasons start.