Idaho Finance

Mar 13 2018

Dish Customers Lose 18 TV Stations in Fee Dispute

Here we go again: In the latest blackout to hit the pay TV biz, Dish Network customers lost access to 18 television stations run by broadcasting group Media General at midnight Tuesday, after the parties couldn t work out a deal.

The blackout of Media General stations on Dish comes as the satcaster on Monday reached a short-term extension in its deal with Disney. which will let it continue to carry ESPN, Disney Channel and other cablers plus ABC-owned stations in eight markets.

Dish one of the most aggressive negotiators among big pay TV operators had a dispute over retransmission-consent terms with Raycom Media last month. That resulted in an eight-day blackout of 53 TV stations. Separately, Time Warner Cable subs experienced a 32-day blackout of CBS-owned stations and cable nets this summer.

The previous deal between Dish and Media General was set to expire June 30; the companies extended that for 90 days but still failed to come to terms. Dish has about 14 million U.S. subscribers.

Unfortunately, we were not able to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Dish, Media General said in a statement. Media General stations, until now, have never experienced a disruption of service with any pay-TV company because of a contract impasse.

Dish attempted to reach a fair agreement via many avenues, but Media General remains immovable in its demands, director of programming Sruta Vootukuru said in a statement.

The satcaster claimed Media General rejected Dish s offer of a short-term contract extension until Media General is acquired by Young Broadcasting, with which Dish has a long-term agreement in place. They declined a contract extension, an offer from Dish to pay our competitors rates, and have now refused our willingness to match rates paid to other area broadcasters, Vootukuru said.

Richmond, Va.-based Media General in June announced plans to be acquired by Young Broadcasting. The combined company would own or operate 31 network-affiliated television stations in 28 markets, reaching approximately 16.5 million (or 14%) of U.S. TV households.

According to Media General, local TV stations provide 35% of the total audience to pay-TV operators but receive only 7% of the total programming fees paid by these companies. That s a consistent rallying cry from broadcasters seeking a bigger pile of cash cable and satellite operators.

The 18 stations blacked out on Dish are: WVTM (NBC) in Birmingham, Ala.; WKRG (CBS) in Mobile, Ala./Pensacola, Fla.; WFLA (NBC) in Tampa, Fla.; WJBF (ABC) in Augusta, Ga.; WRBL (CBS) in Columbus, Ga.; WSAV (NBC) in Savannah, Ga.; WHLT (CBS) in Hattiesburg, Miss.; WJTV (CBS) in Jackson, Miss.; WNCT (CBS) in Greenville, N.C.; WNCN (NBC) in Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; WYCW (CW) in Asheville, N.C.; WCMH (NBC) in Columbus, Ohio; WJAR (NBC) in Providence, R.I.; WCBD (NBC) in Charleston, S.C.; WBTW (CBS) in Florence/Myrtle Beach, S.C.; WSPA (CBS) in Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.; WJHL (CBS) in Johnson City, Tenn.; and WSLS (NBC) in Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va.

when I went to, dish about five yrs. ago, my bill was 49.00, after promotion it was suppose to go up 20.00, and it did, but a month later it went up another 10.00 then the next month it went up another 5.00, bill now 89.14, and just now they have gone up another 5.00 making my bill over 94.00 a month. being on a fixed income, its hard to pay this much. Dish gets on t.v. talking about how Direct t.v. does its customers, when they are doing just as bad, if not worse than Direct. And, What are our congressmen doing to look out for the people, they are sent to watch out for, in Washington. So I am fed up with Dish, espec. knowing that I was charged with channels that I was not getting. So that tells me that dish is not honest, because if they were I would only be paying about 79.00 a month, not 94.17

Angie Davis says:

I m Absolutely going to look into going some where else, I agree with you Debbie my service has gone way to high and we have no movie channels like HBO, Cinamax, Showtime ect I m currently paying almost two hundred a month for cable and Internet and the Internet the last couple of months has been horrible and now this so yeah it s time for a change for me

This is crazy, Dish is too expensive as is and then they do not provide good service, come on think of your customers. This makes me want to cancel my contract with Dish and go to someone else. Will we see a reduction in our bill. I paid for local channels at least give us a discount until an agreement is reached.

Loose all these stations gonna loose dish.Paying now for to many unwanted stations.Pay to much for it as it is.

I am not taking a side since this appears to be happening all over the country, but here in our area, according to Dish anyway, the channel provider is asking for more money, I think above what the other providers are getting. So on that side, it looks like the channel provider s fault, but you see Dish s side when they say that, so of course they are going to make it out like it isn t their fault. Call the info number on the channel to talk to the channel provider, and they are making out like it is Dish s fault, so I don t know who is actually to blame for this major screw up. Either way, get the negotiations done and over with and turn the channels back on!

Dish, if you are not going to give us back local channels them cut us free from your dang contract. We r paying for them, so give them back. I m now having to pay for access to the network streaming because of your breakdown in negotiations.

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