Hearst’s 29 stations are off DISH Network today after retrans negotiations between the two companies broke down last night around 10:00 p.m.
“It appears that DISH does not have a problem with the rates we are seeking,” read one of the many press releases about the dispute sent by Hearst stations. We must note that in every release we got from the individual stations, this quote was attributed to that station’s GM.
The release went on to say, “But the DISH negotiating team is seeking other terms that we don‟t have in our deals with any other cable or satellite distributor or telco, nor do we have them in our current deal with DISH. Frankly, we are scratching our heads as to why DISH would hold their own customers and our viewers hostage for terms that are radically off-market.”
“Hearst blacked out its channels to use viewers as bargaining chips as it makes unreasonable demands on Dish and its customers,” Dish EVP and chief commercial officer Dave Shull said in a statement as quoted by Multichannel News. “We offered to keep the channels on while we try to reach a deal, but Hearst refuses to put viewers first.”
You can see examples of the releases after the jump.
The American Television Alliance also issued a statement saying, “If broadcasters are truly serious about ending blackouts, now is their chance. All Hearst has to do is leave the signal up and consumers in 25 markets would not be blacked out right now. But clearly they are more interested in extracting huge profits from pay-TV consumers. Broadcasters are not, in fact, ‘always on.’”
The Hearst releases also had this quote saying, “Hearst has a long history of successfully concluding agreements with cable companies and other satellite distributors with no disruption of service to viewers. This contrasts with DISH’s disruptions of service and cessation of carriage of local television stations in numerous other cases. In fact, nearly half of all disruptions of service in the past three years involve DISH.”
Check out examples of the press release from some of the stations involved.