TV Answer Man, when will the Dish and Sinclair fight be over? Isn’t today the deadline day for if my station here in Washington will go off Dish? I hate these greedy companies! — Jen, Fairfax, Virginia.
Jen, Sinclair last week issued a press release saying it was unlikely that it would reach a new carriage agreement with Dish before the current one expires on August 16.
Update, August 16, 6:25 p.m. ET: Sinclair and Dish have agreed to a “short-term” extension that will avoid any blackout tonight (August 16). The length of the extension is unknown. Sinclair’s local station web sites continue to post alerts saying Dish subscribers could lose their signals.
“We have agreed to a short-term extension with Dish to continue conversations. We will continue to update our viewers as this develops. Sinclair stands willing to continue to negotiate in good faith and to enter into a longer extension to allow for the continued carriage of our channels to Dish subscribers,” Sinclair general counsel David Gibber said in a statement.
The TV Answer Man will update this story if anything significant changes.
If a new pact is not signed by today, Dish could lose Sinclair’s 112 local TV stations, the Tennis Channel, and it would not resume carrying the Sinclair-owned 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks. (Dish has been without the sports nets since July 2019 due to a separate carriage fight.)
So, is there anything new in the talks? Today is the deadline day, after all.
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Unfortunately, TV providers and programmers rarely discuss the status of ongoing carriage negotiations, and this fee fight is no different. However, the web sites of the Sinclair local stations this morning are still carrying an alert that a blackout is possible. That tells us a settlement has not been reached yet. In addition, Dish’s web site, and Twitter customer service site, are both still communicating that the negotiations are continuing.
We should learn more later today, although it’s unclear exactly when the current Dish-Sinclair pact expires. For what it’s worth, Sinclair publicly seems to think that a blackout will happen while Dish is maintaining a settlement is still possible. (Dish is still carrying the local stations as of 4:30 a.m. ET on August 16. Also worth noting: This dispute affects Sling TV as well.)
The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation today, and report back here if anything changes.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann
When it comes to local station blackouts, the “greed card” is always played by the owner of said stations. Local TV signals are free over the air. Charging a fee for re-transmission of said signals to cable, satellite, or streaming services are costing consumers billions of dollars per year. The station owners use this free cash in order to cover for their dwindling ad revenue. When the contracts expire the local station owners want more cash and takeaway your signals, not the providers, if they can’t get the providers to agree to the increase. Yes, the owners try to “flip the script” and blame it on the providers. That is standard fare. We have to stop listening to the owners asking you to complain about the providers and call it like it is. The owners want the free cash and they’ll even lie to you in order to get it.
Just a reality note: It is projected that local channel re-transmission fees will reach about $13 billion by 2024. That’s for free over-the-air channels which you will have to pay for on cable, satellite and streaming services. What is really scaring the local TV stations owners, besides lower ad revenue, is the proliferation of free streaming Live TV services like Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Xumo TV, LocalNow, etc. In fact, if you engage a standard internet service along with a cheap Roku device or Android TV box, the above mentioned services, more launching every other day, can offer you over 1000+ channels (with commercials) for free. So don’t fret when the local channel owners take away your locals because the providers don’t want to up the free cash pipe. Take action and engage the free streaming options. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much free content is out there and, in most cases, the good quality of some of their offerings.
I’ve been waiting for 2 yesterday on the Bally regional sports network fight to end! Will there ever be a resolution??
If Sinclair continues pushing the old RSN (Regional Sports Network) revenue model (charge all provider’s subscribers whether they want the channels or not), the resolution will be delayed. Their attempt to provide an “app” in 2022 for those who wish to pay separately seems to have a high entry fee (about $20 per month) and is getting grumbles from the sports teams of said regionals. Once again, money is the driver as teams, networks and Sinclair want to get their cash. Sinclair is also holding massive debt since acquiring the RSNs from Disney. The providers (cable, satellite, streaming) want to provide the channels but only at a reasonable rate relative to the subscribers that actually want them. Hang on. It may be a rough ride.