DISH Network Blows a ‘Fuse’

DISH Network has pulled the plug on MSG Media’s Fuse, replacing it with MTV Networks’ hi-def music channel, Palladia.

MSG Media said that DISH Network elected to walk away from the negotiations while Fuse was trying to hash out a renewal with the satellite TV provider. “Unfortunately, Fuse viewers are the latest casualties of DISH Network’s history of disputes with programmers at the expense of their customers,” MSG said in a statement. “We offered DISH Network fair and reasonable proposals, including the opportunity to extend our current agreement while we continued to negotiate.”

The network went on to urge DISH Net to “return to the negotiating table so that we can reach a fair agreement.”

Analysts estimate Fuse’s carriage fee at around 8 cents per sub per month. In its most recent 10-K filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, MSG reported that Fuse was available in 55 million households nationwide.

DISH Network’s dealings with programmers are often contentious. In May, the operator intimated that it was getting ready to drop The Weather Channel in favor of its proprietary service, The Weather Cast, although both sides quickly came to an agreement on a new deal.

In August 2009, DISH filed suit against ESPN to the tune of $1 million, alleging that the network had breached its contract by extending more favorable terms to Comcast and DirecTV for carriage of ESPNU and ESPN Classic. At the time, ESPN said it would “ vigorously defend” itself against the DISH claim.

In a brief statement, DISH Net announced that subscribers to its America’s Top 200 programming package and those who elect for more expansive options “now receive this upgraded programming in place of Fuse.” Qualified subs also will have access to a standard definition simulcast of Palladia.

When it launched in January 2006, the MTVN network had been branded Music: High Definition. The channel was subsequently re-branded Palladia in September 2008. The service features music content culled from MTV, VH1 and CMT.