Dish, which is already involved in seven separate carriage disputes, could lose 18 more local stations in 10 markets this week due to yet another fee fight. (See station list below.)
The 18 stations, which are operated by the Cox Media Group, which is owned by Apollo Global Management, an equity firm, have posted notices at their web sites alerting Dish subscribers that they could lose their signals as soon as Thursday.
“ATTENTION DISH CUSTOMERS,” reads the notice at KIEM TV, a NBC affiliate in Eureka, California. “After 7PM EST October 1st, you may not be able to watch your favorite shows live. NBC 3 and Redwood CBS are committed to continue our negotiations with DISH to keep your shows on, but DON’T WAIT: Call DISH at 800-333-3474 and tell them you want NBC 3 and Redwood CBS to remain on the air.”
The TV Answer Man yesterday asked Dish for a comment, but has yet to get a response. On Dish’s Twitter customer service page, the company has told complaining subscribers that it’s still trying to work out a new deal.
Thank you Tavia. We don’t understand why Apollo Global Management has chosen to put our customers in the middle of its negotiations. We are still working to reach a fair long term deal to avoid any service interruption.
— DISH Answers (@dish_answers) September 27, 2020
The dispute should not be confused with a different carriage battle between Dish and Cox Media and Apollo Global Management. Two months ago, Dish lost 14 local network affiliates owned by Apollo, and managed by Cox, over fees. This new dispute covers the 18 stations previously owned by Northwest Broadcasting, which were sold to Apollo last year.
Their contracts are expiring now because Dish has been operating on the agreement it previously held with Northwest. The 14 stations it lost two months ago were operating on a contract Dish had negotiated with Cox Media before it was so sold to Apollo. (Cox Media, however, continues to serve as the stations’ management team.)
If that’s not confusing enough for you, Dish is also involved in blackout battles with HBO and Cinemax, the Sinclair-owned regional sports channels, Altitude Sports, Sunbeam Broadcasting, Circle City Broadcasting, Mission Broadcasting. If the 18 Cox/Apollo stations go dark this week, that would make eight fee fights for Dish (and its live streaming service, Sling TV) at the same time.
Dish first lost the 18 Cox/Apollo stations in January, but the two sides agreed to a temporary truce in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, it appears the temporary pact’s term is about to expire.
The 18 stations that Dish could lose this week are:
Idaho Falls-Pocatello, Idaho
Medford-Klamath Falls, Oreg.
Yuma, Ariz. – El Centro, Calif.
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— Phillip Swann