With a deadline looming in retransmission talks between Hearst Television and Dish Network, Hearst has begun threatening a blackout, FierceCable reports.
“The broadcaster, which owns 33 stations in 26 media markets across 39 states, began telling Dish customers over the weekend that it might remove its signals from the satellite service ‘if negotiations between representatives of Hearst Television and Dish Network are unsuccessful in reaching a conclusion before March 1, 2017,'” the story reports.
Dish responded with a statement saying: “Only Hearst Television Inc. can force a blackout of its channels. DISH is actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires. Dish has successfully negotiated agreements representing hundreds of stations in recent months that benefit all parties, including our viewers. We are unsure why Hearst decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”
Hearst also was involved in a blackout on DirecTV for several days early this year.
“Hearst also blacked out Dish in April 2014 in the run-up to the current retrans deal with the satellite operators.,” FierceCable notes.
Hearst said in a statement to its customers: “While we believe that we and Dish Network can conclude our negotiations before March 1, so as not to deprive any of our respective viewers and customers of our programming, we want to advise our viewers and customers that the possibility of nonrenewal of our current agreement exists.”