Scripps says Dish is not being honest in their carriage dispute, and further alleges the satcaster is not motivated to settle because it’s making a profit from the blackout.
Update: Dish & Scripps Sign New Deal
Dish has been without Scripps’ 60 local network affiliates in 42 markets since July 25 when the two companies could not agree on a new carriage pact. The satellite service claims that Scripps is asking for excessive fees to carry its signals, a 250 percent increase over the previous rate.
But in a new statement released yesterday, Scripps says Dish is not agreeing to a new deal because it does not have to pay the broadcaster during the blackout.
”Dish isn’t being honest with its customers,” says the statement, which was posted at Scripps’ web sites. “Scripps has not asked for a 250 percent hike. What is true is that Dish has little motivation to seek a deal: Dish’s profitability improves by several million dollars each month by not distributing Scripps stations all across the country. While this battle grows profits for Dish, its customers – who are locked into Dish’s monthly charges for stations they’re not receiving – miss out on the news, weather and sports programming they rely on.”
Dish executives have suggested in previous carriage fights that the company can save money during a blackout because it does not have to pay the carriage fees while the channels are off the air. The satcaster has said it passes the savings along to customers by offering lower subscription fees than its rivals. And Dish arguably does offer lower package rates than other cable or satellite operators.
The TV Answer Man yesterday asked Dish for a comment on the new Scripps statement, but has yet to receive a response. We will update this story if we get one.
The Scripps statement does not bode well for an imminent end to the dispute. The broadcaster has been relatively silent since the fight began, but the ongoing impasse seems to have finally hit a nerve.
”After five months of contract extensions, and now five weeks with our station (s) blocked out from Dish subscribers, we are incredibly frustrated by Dish’s false claims about our dispute,” the statement reads.
Dish is also involved in five other fee fights, including one with the NFL, Sinclair, HBO, and Apollo Global.
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— Phillip Swann