TV Answer Man, we have not had our channel 9, CBS station on our Dish now for a long time. Is there any hope this thing will end this week? We can’t wait any longer and we might have to switch to DIRECTV. — Joy, Fairfax, Virginia.
Joy, today marks the dubious two month anniversary of the Dish-Tegna carriage feud that has left Dish without Tegna’s 64 network affiliates including your local CBS station, WUSA-TV. When the fee fight began, I commented here that I didn’t think it would last longer than a month. However, both sides seem more intransient than ever and there’s no end in sight to the impasse.
What has happened since the dispute started? Two things:
1. Both Dish and Tegna have filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission, charging each other with acting in ‘bad faith’ in the negotiations. That basically means that each company is alleging the other is not trying to settle the fight and instead has an ulterior motive in prolonging it.
Dish says Tegna is trying to ramp up its carriage fee to improve its company’s value as it pursues a buyer. (Tegna has said it’s open to selling the company.) Tegna says Dish is purposely not negotiating in good faith because it wants to save money during the blackout. (Dish doesn’t have to pay Tegna while it doesn’t carry its stations.)
We don’t know if either claim is legitimate and the FCC has yet to act on either complaint.
2. Dish and Tegna continue to accuse each other in social media posts of not playing fair.
“We understand your frustration, as we are just as frustrated, that you are being put in the middle of this ongoing TEGNA blackout. TEGNA, unfortunately, wants to extend this channel blackout to make our customers upset in order to get more money in this deal,” Dish’s Twitter customer support team tweeted last night.
“We understand your frustration with the continued disruption with your @DISH service. Unfortunately, DISH is refusing to reach a fair, market-based deal with us, despite us offering competitive terms that we have used to reach deals with other providers,: Tegna’s Twitter customer service team also tweeted last night.
The statements are intended to win support among Dish customers who are missing some of their favorite channels. But there’s no indication that it’s working for either side. Most customer social media posts blame both companies for the blackout.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this dispute and report back here if anything changes. But as of this morning, I don’t see Dish and Tegna reaching a deal before the Christmas holiday.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann