By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
Dish has announced that it has lost 37 Hearst-owned local channels in a carriage dispute with Hearst Television. The stations are in 27 markets, the company says.
“DISH has been in discussions with Hearst for months working to reach an agreement to keep its channels on air for customers. Instead, Hearst is demanding tens of millions of dollars in rate increases that would affect customers, while it devalues its product by making programming available elsewhere, even as viewership declines,” Dish says in a statement.
At its station web sites, Hearst has issued the following statement: “DISH and Hearst Television have reached an impasse in negotiating a renewal retransmission consent agreement for the carriage of Hearst Television’s broadcast stations on DISH’s satellite system. We have made significant investments to deliver top tier programming to our viewers and DISH is seeking the right to carry our stations at below market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable. To be clear, we have not “blacked out” our station. You may continue to receive our station for free, over the air, or by other satellite distribution, and, where available, from cable operators.”
“Hearst continues to raise its prices despite its declining viewership and lower-quality content,” counters Gary Schanman, executive vice president and group president, video services for DISH Network. “Demanding higher rates for the same entertainment and news just doesn’t make sense, especially as Hearst’s content is widely available on other platforms. This hurts our customers in their pocketbooks and their ability to watch the programming and content they want. Unfortunately, Hearst, like many other programmers, expects DISH and our customers to foot the bill.”
The carriage dispute follows similar ongoing fee fights between DIRECTV and Nexstar and Charter’s Spectrum TV and Disney. In addition, Dish has been without 13 Cox Media stations since last November and 28 Mission Broadcasting and White Knight stations since January in a separate dispute.
You can see a list of the Hearst stations here.