Dish Drops Some Ad Claims

Dish is discontinuing two of three TV ad claims challenged by DirecTV, and actually says it was already planning to drop the ads anyway.

That is according to the National Advertising Division (NAD), the Better Business Bureau's self-regulatory body.

"[T]he advertiser represented to NAD in writing that it has permanently discontinued two of the three claims at issue in this challenge: the claim that DirecTV customers pay an average of over $100 per month (referred to by the parties as the “ARPU claim”) and the claim that DirecTV assesses a “Year One Price Increase” on its customers," said NAD.

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Because of Dish's action, NAD is not looking into the claims, but treating it as though it recommended they be dropped and Dish complied.

NAD says Dish explained that it was going to discontinue the ads anyway, which is why it agreed to comply, and said Dish disagrees with NAD treating them as though it had recommended they be withdrawn. Dish did say it was happy the "free channels" claim had passed muster.

DirecTV had challenged claims made in six TV ads.

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It also took issue with Dish's claim of a "local channels fee." The ad shows a pay TV installer telling a customer they can't watch local broadcast channels without swiping their credit card.

Dish said the ad suggested they charge customers a separate fee for local broadcast channels, which they don't.

NAD concluded that the claim was directed toward the pay TV industry in general (many of which are adding local TV fees as line items to illustrate retrans fees), making reference to a competitor's "introductory TV deal."

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NAD said that a reasonable conclusion from the ad was that some pay TV subs may encounter additional fees on top of their service package price, and that that was truthful given that of the 11 of the largest providers only the two satellite companies do not charge a fee for local channels.

Dish also said that 58 million of the 113 pay TV homes pay such a fee. Given that, said NAD, it has "supported its Local Channels Fee claim."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.