Monday, October 18, 2010

It's a small world after all - Dish, News Corp, and the Manilla envelope

I was trying to figure out the story about the company that Julia Roy has joined - later revealed to be Manilla - when I ran across this press release announcing the cloud storage service startup's executive staff. Here's a portion of the release that discusses Jessica Heacock Insalaco, the new entity's Chief Marketing Officer.

Insalaco, CMO of Manilla, has spent her career in strategy and leadership roles in the telecommunications and media industries. She was most recently CMO of Dish Network, the third largest multichannel television provider in the U.S.

And before that?

Insalaco has held other consumer marketing positions at Cox Communications, News Corp and US West.

Did you catch that second firm, News Corp? You can bet the Dish subscribers recognized that immediately.

As anyone who has cable or satellite television in the U.S. knows, there are periodic confrontations between the content providers and the cable/satellite companies. As a deadline nears, the content providers decry the fact that the cable/satellite providers aren't fair, and the cable/satellite providers emphatically state that the content providers are greedy, and it's necessary for the cable/satellite providers to defend you against this terrible price gouging. There are warring commercials and warring websites...and in the end, both parties reach some type of settlement which is good for them, but not good for the consumer.

Well, normally they reach such an agreement. News Corp. and Dish Network have moved beyond that point, and as I write this, several News Corp. properties are unavailable to Dish Network subscribers.

And there are warring websites. Here is part of what Dish Network says at one of their several websites (this one is

We regret that FOX Networks, the owner of some Regional Sports Networks, FX and National Geographic Channel, removed their channels from the DISH Network line-up. FOX has demanded a rate increase of more than 50%. An increase this large would force DISH Network to pass these costs on to our customers, which we are unwilling to do during these tough economic times.

Here's part of what Fox (News Corp) says at their website:

Myth: Fox is seeking a 50 percent increase in programming fees for FX, National Geographic Channel, and our 19 regional sports networks.

Fact: We are not seeking a 50 percent increase for FX, National Geographic Channel, and our 19 regional sports networks. And we are not asking you for any more money. We are simply asking DISH to compensate us fairly out of their massive profits for Fox’s entertainment and sports programming services they sell to their subscribers. We have made what we believe are fair and reasonable proposals to DISH – ones that are consistent with our agreements with the hundreds of other cable and satellite companies with whom DISH competes for your business. To date, DISH has not responded with a proposal that is reasonable by comparison to the hundreds of other deals we have in place for these same channels.

Of course, there's one other consideration that News Corp, to my knowledge, hasn't publicly addressed yet. News Corp. doesn't just make money from the cable/satellite providers - they also sell advertising. And since the viewership for the affected Fox properties has been cut, shouldn't News Corp. be lowering the rates that it charges its advertisers? We'll see.

Now I'm sure that Jessica Heacock Insalaco, who has worked for both companies, has her private views on this whole fiasco. But at the moment, she's presumably limiting her public conversations to her new job, and not talking about the old ones. And even the new job is still in pre-launch, so she's not even talking about that yet.

All I know is that if Insalaco still has the account that she got while working for Dish, she's not settling down to watch FX this evening.
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