TV Answer Man, I have read some of your predictions for 2022. Do you think that Dish’s blackout with the Tegna stations will end next year, or will it end by the first of this year? We want our station back! — Andrea, Fairfax, Virginia.
Andrea, Dish on October 6 lost 64 local network affiliates in 53 markets (CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC and the CW) in a carriage row with their owner, Tegna. (The stations include WUSA-TV, the CBS affiliate in the Fairfax, Virginia area.)
When the fee fight began, I thought it would last no more than a month, and perhaps just a few weeks. While pay TV operators sometimes engage in disputes with local broadcasters, it’s rare for one to lead to a protracted blackout. Both the provider and broadcaster usually are highly motivated to settle; the provider knows that some subscribers will cancel without local channels while the broadcaster knows that its advertising revenue can shrink minus the provider’s audience.
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However, this carriage battle appears to be more bitter and contentious than most with both sides filing complaints with the Federal Communications Commission which charge the other with negotiating in bad faith. (The agency has yet to act on either complaint.) In public statements, Dish and Tegna have also offered no indication that a settlement is imminent.
Consequently, I don’t see a resolution here before Saturday, January 1. In fact, I predict that it will extend through much of the first quarter of 2022 before it’s over. And if the FCC doesn’t get involved, it could go even beyond that.
As the days progress, Dish is becoming less motivated to settle for two reasons:
1. Many of the subscribers who would cancel due to the blackout have already done so.
2. The college and NFL football seasons are coming to a close, which means that some of Dish’s customers — sports fans — will be less likely to watch local channels after January. (CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC all provide either college or NFL games.)
The pressure on Dish to end the fee fight will begin to ease, at least until later in the year when the 2022 football season begins.
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Tegna knows this, but it must remain firm in its position. The broadcaster is currently entertaining bids to sell the company, and it wants to keep its value as high as possible during the process. If it were to suddenly lower its carriage demand with Dish, it could lead to lower fees from other TV providers when their contracts come up. So any company looking to buy Tegna will be watching this dispute closely.
Andrea, I wish I could be more hopeful. But I’m afraid that the Dish-Tegna fight is far from over.
Update: Dish and Tegna signed a new deal on February 4, 2022.
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Dish may feel that customers who were going to cancel already have but that fails to account for customers still in a contract that can’t leave or face penalties. I will be cancelling Dish in July as soon as I can regardless if they get a deal done with Tegna or not and I will never be back. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I would cancel but i still have 10 months on my contract. I don’t want to have to pay the early termination fee, but I am tired of not getting my ABC affiliate here in the Sacramento area. They both have to grow up and come to some of agreement. The only ones that are really suffering are the subscribers! Dish has raised the price twice this last year in 2021. I am just sick and tired of the whole situation!
Likewise, I’m also in a contract. When I enter into one, however, I believe expectations exist with both entities. I have held up my end of the contract and continually pay the amount that has been requested (even though there has been no decrease from losing a major network. I don’t think DISH is holding up their end of the contract and will be calling them soon and discussing why they would feel I should be given early termination fees when I believe they are breaching.
Me too .. wish I could cancel cause it’s B’s that we can’t even get a local channel because of some stupid stuff. Just come to a agreement for your customers. They don’t care and that makes me not want to be a customer but unfortunately I can’t cancel due to so many months on contract. I think if they fail our contract we should be able to cancel but of course not. Everything I used to watch on NBC I have been unable to watch which was like 4 different shows. I DVR everything cause I’m a mom so I really don’t get a chance to watch tv until I put the kids to bed. And I’m pissed I’ve missed out on those shows. One of them being this is us and its the last season. Is just very unfair. Ughh
I’m disgusted with DISH. Will definitely cancel. Being remote, streaming doesn’t work well, so I’ll probably go back to DirectTV. I want to be able to watch the Olympics!
20 yrs with Dish and im sick with all these disputes pointing fingers at each other!! Im already paying $132 for crap tv and now i wont be able to watch the Superbowl? Im getting rid of dish and getting a smart tv and watch the superbowl on paramount+ stream. Good bye Dish and good riddens to lousy services.
It has been over three months since your dispute with Tegna. I have been a customer every since the Big Dish quit broadcasting. I live too far from Houston to use an antenna. You say not to switch service. The only one I see profiting from this is Dish since you are charging the same amount without having to pay out anything to TEGNA. If you cannot tell me anything besides pointing the finger at TEGNA, then I will have to rethink keeping dish. I was paying $171.94 a month but now I am paying $172.00 a month. Am I supposed to be thankful that it is only costing me $.06 to loose my favorite channel?
I have requested some money back from DISH from the local channels fee and have received it one month. I probably will do so again. I think all these extra carriage fees that companies like Tegna charge are outrageous. Someone needs to stand up to them. These are “free” over the air stations and most of networks now have their own streaming networks now. These local channel providers are going to be obsolete if they don’t watch out. I would have thought there would be an agreement by now.
How can you get mad at Dish when they are trying to keep our fees down