With Dish Network and Hearst Television unable to come to terms on a new retransmission pact as the deadline arrived — including a 48-hour extension that pushed it to early today — Hearst stations were blacked out on Dish systems, TVNewsCheck reports.
The blackout affects Hearst’s 33 stations in 26 markets. Predictably, the two sides were pointing the finger at each other.
The report quotes a statement from Hearst that says: “While we had hoped to conclude our negotiations before the extended March 3 deadline, Dish has continued to insist on including material terms that are less favorable than our current agreement. In addition, Hearst Television has made significant investments to deliver top quality programming to our viewers and Dish is seeking the right to carry our stations at below market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable.”
In its own statement, Dish said: “Despite Dish’s offer to extend contract negotiations, tonight Hearst Television Inc. has blacked out Dish customers’ access to its local channels in 26 markets across 30 states. The broadcaster has used the move to gain deal leverage as it seeks above-market rate increases nearly double the current Dish rate, and other unreasonable demands. Hearst has also refused Dish’s offer to match the rates paid by other pay-TV providers.”