Tribune Stations Removed From Dish Satellite Systems in Latest Distribution Battle

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Courtesy of Dish network

Dish Network and Tribune Broadcasting are at loggerheads in discussions to keep programming from 42 local stations owned by the Chicago programming on the air. Dish said Sunday evening that Tribune content was no longer being offered on its satellite systems.

At issue, the two companies said, were disagreements over the terms of payment for programming from Tribune’s stations, as well as the value of Tribune’s WGN America cable network. A distribution contract between the two companies expired at 7 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

“We want to reach an agreement, just as we have with every one of our other cable, satellite and telco distributors, but Dish refuses to reach an agreement based on fair-market value,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Media’s senior vice president for corporate relations, in a prepared statement.  “We want to keep servicing our local communities and we have repeatedly offered Dish a lengthy extension to continue negotiations—unfortunately, Dish rejected these offers.”

“Tribune is demanding an unreasonable rate increase for channels that are available for free over the air,” said Warren Schlichting,  executive vice president of programming for Dish, in a statement. “Actions like Tribune’s are what drive price increases and feed customer frustration for our industry.” The company said it would offer free over-the-air antennae to Dish customers who were affected and still wanted to gain access to offerings from Tribune’s stations. Dish also said Tribune was trying to “force bundle” carriage of its WGN America cable network with that for its broadcast stations.

Dish’s satellite-based system has around 13.8 million pay-TV subscribers. The company said customers in 34 states and the District of Columbia were affected by the disagreement.

The flare-up is the latest conflagration between a programmer and one of its distributors, a signal of the growing reliance media companies have on the fees they get from such companies. The decision to pull programming is not without risk: Consumers are annoyed when they can’t watch programming for which they pay subscriber fees, and regulators also take a dim view of the tactics. At the same time, media companies have more need of the revenue they can wring from distribution agreements. Advertising, another source of fuel, has become less reliable as consumers migrate from traditional TV screens to mobile devices and streaming video,.

Dish said it had been willing to enter into a short-term extension of its distribution agreement with Tribune, but was rebuffed.  The satellite distributor said it had a lackluster opinion of WGN America, a cable network whose profile Tribune has been trying to raise by introducing higher-quality programs. Dish said its research had found viewership levels for the network had dropped, while many of the programs WGN America offered were available on other networks Dish carries.

Dish has in recent months experienced breakdowns in talks it has held with 21st Century Fox and Time Warner’s Turner. In 2014, Dish and Turner entered into a standoff that resulted in Cartoon Network and CNN going off the air for a period of time. Last year, a Dish disagreement with Fox led to Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network being taken off the air for about three weeks.

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  1. Amanda says:

    The entire point of purchasing Cable is to not have satellite ears and be stuck in 1998. I’m 55 years old and have no internet other than dial up. All I want is to watch the shows that are supposed to be standard

  2. Ruger Rick says:

    Tribune network can kiss my ass. Greedy bastards. Charging for programming that’s free locally. I stand with dish on this dispute. Some lawyer should file a class action lawsuit against tribune.

  3. Sandra Buckett says:

    This needs to come to an end. Why should the customer pay for a station we’re not getting? l’ve been a satisfied Dish customer for years, now they take off my local channel that should be free to begin with. The only ones suffering are US, The Customers. l hate to have to change to Direct TV, but if this isn’t settled soon, l’m going to have to. Stop being money grabbing idiots and SETTLE THIS, ПФШ!

    • millerfilm says:

      I’m going to cut my DISH Programming by $39.00/month. Since they won’t provide something as basic as one of the major broadcast networks, they can do with less of my business.

  4. Amber says:

    I do not have dish but to them I say keep going. Tribune is a big company that demands ridiculous amounts of money for the convenience of having their stations. They are over the air stations and should be treated as such. Sure if dish didn’t carry them you would not be able to dvr something, but stream it online, do it a different way. Tribune and other local providers are getting too greedy when they are traditionally free. The only reason providers give them anything is to make technology deficient customers lives a little easier by not having to change their input on their tv. Good job dish! Keep fighting because they will come after every other provider next thinking they can get money like a bigger station like ESPN, TNT or USA

  5. Connie Pado says:

    I’m really missing my Fox shows!! Come on Fox and Dish please settle your disagreements, this has gon on too long!!!

  6. Nikki says:

    I don’t know who fault it is they both are greedy if you ask me right now one of my brother and I favorite Channels is The CW soon our fall shows are going to start back up I will be pissed if I can’t record them and watch them I don’t watch nasty commercials is why a TV antenna will not work for us I already asked if I could still record. But I am about ready to switch providers I don’t like direct TV or comcast but I sure we’ll switch if I don’t get CW back.

    • Vern and Mary Lobaugh says:

      We are upset there has been no solution to this. I don’t know nor do I care who is at fault but you are disappointing the people. Work together and get this back on the air.

  7. Debbie robbins says:

    This has gone on too long. Negotiations should end now! Stop being so greedy and give us WTKR back. People who live in rurAl areas are suffering because of these selfish acts. Put the shoe on the other foot. How would you like these demands put on you. Please, stop the lolligaging around and do what’s right!

  8. I would like to keep the local stations that Dish is trying to remove. Some of the other channels are just repeating. So if they wish to remove stations take away the repeated ones. If they’re planning to change the pricing plan again please let it be worth the price that I am paying for. I am like someone else I need to disconnect my cable to see my basic channels or to use my DVD player.

  9. BJ Braziel says:

    I am a dish customer. I bought my own antenna and the only thing I watch is the local news in the morning. I don’t miss any of the programming at all. That should prove to tribune media how valuable their programming is. Who needs them. Boycott them and put them out of business completely. Just another greedy company.

  10. Ida B. says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but I am getting tied of these company like tribune wanting more money. iIt isn’t only tribune but it is all of our greatly Corp wanting more and more money. I don’t know why because they can’t take it with when they die. I am on a limited income and I am about really to have my satalitte turn off, because it is getting too high because I like eating more than watching TV

  11. alecwest says:

    I think it would be nice if the FCC published the court transcripts of this lawsuit – so everyone could see who the real greedy party is. In any case, it will only stoke the fires of cord-cutters. Sooner or later, after cable/satellite providers suffer enough losses, they’ll understand what “power to the people” really means.

    This could have been solved easily if the FCC had “mandated” a-la-carte programming … giving each subscriber the right to pay for the channels they want to watch without paying for the channels they don’t want to watch. If certain channels started costing too much, customers could SNIP them from their choices, reducing their subscription costs. Sadly, cable & satellite providers insist on “bundles” and “packages” that force us to pay a flat fee for what the PROVIDER wants us to watch. Frankly, I could do without channels heavy on reality shows, the infomercial channels, and the Jesus channels.

  12. Vicki Collier says:

    Let channel 5 ktla cw or whatever it’s called stay gone!!! Hooray!! No more Jerry Springer!! I can easily get local news and weather on another station… Go ahead be greedy tribune.. see where it gets you…

  13. KayeD says:

    Well SOMEONE is LYING!! Tribune blames Dish and Dish blames Tribune. Neither is willing to find an equitable and reasonable answer. Meanwhile those of us who depend upon Dish for being able to see local news and weather are the “ball” these idiots are kicking back and forth.
    This is totally ridiculous. Come on you children, play nice and give a thought for those of us who cannot get your programming any other way. We cannot get you FREE off air Tribune, not your fault, it’s where we happen to live, but it sure would be nice for you guys to act a little more adult than those bozos that are “playing” at the people’s business in DC!!
    Come to an agreement, we WANT OUR LOCAL NEWS AND WEATHER BACK!!!

  14. Melissa Elliott says:

    Anyone notice how Tribune is trying to make it out like dish is being greedy by not approving a price increase? Who the hell is buying into that? Their increase means more money we have to spend besides they should be happy that they’re getting money at all since now I know they’re free over the air. It pisses me off that the customers get screwed when mom and dad fight.

  15. Kimberly Barnes says:

    I would like Dish & Tribune to hurry up and settle their contracts. Because the public is the one who is suffering.

  16. R.G. Larsen says:

    Dish network stinks! I am seriously considering a change to another provider. I agreed for and paid for their service to bring Tribune stations on their roster to my home….Dish should pay up and shut up !

    • Vicki Collier says:

      You must b a tribune employee… You want dish to pay up?? Wth for?? So you can bitch when they pass the increased cost to your bill?? get yourself an antenna and you can watch it for free..

    • The ones that didn’t pay are WGN. This is the same as if you don’t pay your cell bill they cut it off. In the mean time, DISH sent me a digital antenna in 2 days flat and I’m watching the Cubs game free as it should be because WGN is a free Chicagoland channel.

  17. I don’t understand… I thought the model for broadcast television was paid advertising… & the more viewers… the more dollars they can demand from their advertisers… I don’t understand why the broadcaster wouldn’t want to provide the feed for free. it adds value in the form of viewers that they can then sell to their advertisers? Please someone explain this to me.

  18. Deb says:

    I ordered my antenna. But come on work this crap out ON. Think about the customer.

  19. LOL says:

    I can’t see the local Fox channel, what a loss..

    • Vicki Collier says:

      That’s the thing they ( tribune) don’t care about the customer it’s all about the $$$$$.i say stay gone cw don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out…

  20. D. Jenks says:

    Quite simple, Sorry Fox, I”m not paying more to dish network to fill your pockets with money. If I want to watch your channel, I will do it free over antenna, but most likely not. Instead I will watch NBC, CBS or ABC and not think twice about it..

  21. R. Hermanski says:

    Well according to Dish Network, it is Tribune Broadcasting who is refusing to work with Dish. They offered to keep NBC on the air during negotiations, but Tribune refused. Sounds like a very bad case of greed to me! All these local channels that used to be free are now expecting us, the consumers, to pay for their channels. The power of the almighty dollar!!! Pretty disgusting. What are you going to do when the consumers have had enough & they decide they don’t need NBC anymore? We have switched to KOCO & CBS for our news & are actually getting used to the change, so I’m not sure we will be back when Tribune finally decides to work out their issues with Dish. What are you going to do if everyone decides the same? It may not be so easy to convince people to come back & you will have to start over from scratch to get your ratings back up again. Dish is working with their customers to get around this obstacle, instead of digging in & refusing to work out a deal. I think my next letter will be to the FCC in the hopes that they can work out an arbitration group to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. It is very obvious to me that Tribune is more concerned about the almighty dollar & than it is about us, the viewers, which they depend on to keep them up in ratings. Stop blaming Dish Network when it is apparent their concern is for their customers, where Tribune’s concern is outrageous fees they are holding out for.

  22. Margaret P says:

    I applaud Dish for standing up to Fox; though I miss Fox, we have to make a stand.

    • Dish, took care of us and sent us a FREE digital antenna and I get channels I didn’t even have before. I blame WGN and the networks, they want to charge for channels that were “UHF” for us in Illinois. If they get away with this, Dish has to pass the cost to us. I am very happy switching to antenna when I need to watch the Cubs games and White Sox.

  23. Johnna Locke says:

    I also want to thanks Dish for the offer of the free antenna but it wont do me any good either as I receive these channels form form another location and pay for them apart from my regular programming which is even more of an inconvenience since I cant get the channels any other way.

  24. Sharon K Robinson says:

    I subscribed to Dish so I could watch my NBC stations. Dish claims it’s free over the air. Well guess what my location prevents me from watching my NBC stations free over the air. No reception as I am located in a low area. Thank you Dish for the offer of a free antenna which won’t help me at all.

  25. Jason McCurry says:

    Just lost my CBS station, not happy….

  26. I don’t care what has to be done. Just don’t mess with WGN. I will go to a different satellite carrier.

  27. Randy Hebensperger says:

    Pull your head out and resolve this BS.

  28. irwinator1992 says:

    Are Tribune really desperate for more money?? Those guys are clowns.

  29. millerfilm says:

    I’m in an affected market, and of course, DISH cut us out of CBS the night of the Tony Awards, the very rare night when there is anything useful on broadcast. I urge everyone affected to “thank” DISH by at least reducing their programming packages, unless they issue us refunds for taking money for a service they did not provide.

  30. jamesjimcie says:

    The dispute is mainly wanting Dish to pay the increase in retransmission consent fees and how much it wants to pay for tribune stations to help pay down all the debts for the improvements over at their stations including for the rights for $.50-1.00 per month to NBC for reverse compensation under Comcast, $.90-1.00 per month to CBS for reverse compensation, $.50-1.00 per month to ABC for reverse compensation under Disney, $.50-1.00 per month to FOX for reverse compensation under 21st Century Fox, $.25 to $.50 per month to CW for reverse compensation, up to $.50 to $1.00 per month for syndicated programming, purchase brand new encoders and encoding equipment including video encoders that allow TV stations to live streamed all of the TV stations newscasts and various local events online from the TV stations website and from livestream, broadcasting equipment that would allow Tribune stations using Dual HD with 2 of the Big 4 both in HDTV and a single or dual Little 2/independent in SDTV thanks to improvements in encoders and encoding equipment and other equipment allowing broadcasters and TV stations to be able to transmit 2 1080 or 720 HDTV feeds(either 1 1080 HDTV and 1 720 HDTV on a single RF channel or 2 720 HDTV on a single RF channel) and 1 or 2 480 SDTV feeds being transmitted on a single TV station digital RF channel and fully upgrade to full HDTV facilities from deal-making with hardware and program vendors, preparing to pay for all brand new equipment for the TV stations to be able to share with another TV station when the incentive auction starts as part of the beginning of the spectrum auction, channel sharing, and channel repacking that started on March 29, 2016 to be able to fully make the transition to fully upgrade to ATSC 3.0 in a few years in the future as part of the ongoing incentive auction, pay for updating all weather equipment to serve TV viewers even during poor weather conditions, pay employees equal salaries and wages, utilities, finance payments, property taxes, FCC-related legal expenses, insurance premiums including health care costs to it’s employees through the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, and Forum is likely forcing Dish to pay up to $2-$2.40 to $4.00 per month from each subscriber for the Tribune TV stations by engaging in old rigid Paramount Pictures block booking & blind bidding by tying and old RKO General bribery & dishonest behavioral practices.

    If the bean counting Tribune is very serious in badly wanting Dish to pay up for the increase in retransmission consent fees, recommend that the bean counting Tribune should use the money from the increase in retransmission consent fees from Dish to use it to help acquiring various equipment at the TV stations Tribune controls such as purchase brand new encoders and encoding equipment including video encoders that allow TV stations to live streamed all of the TV stations newscasts and various local events online from the TV stations website and from livestream, broadcasting equipment that would allow Tribune stations using Dual HD with 2 of the Big 4 both in HDTV and a single or dual Little 2/independent in SDTV thanks to improvements in encoders and encoding equipment and other equipment allowing broadcasters and TV stations to be able to transmit 2 1080 or 720 HDTV feeds(either 1 1080 HDTV and 1 720 HDTV on a single RF channel or 2 720 HDTV on a single RF channel) and 1 or 2 480 SDTV feeds being transmitted on a single TV station digital RF channel and fully upgrade to full HDTV facilities from deal-making with hardware and program vendors, preparing to pay for all brand new equipment for the TV stations to be able to share with another TV station when the incentive auction starts as part of the beginning of the spectrum auction, channel sharing, and channel repacking that started on March 29, 2016 to be able to fully make the transition to fully upgrade to ATSC 3.0 in a few years in the future as part of the ongoing incentive auction, pay for updating all weather equipment to serve TV viewers even during poor weather conditions, pay employees equal salaries and wages, utilities, finance payments, property taxes, FCC-related legal expenses, insurance premiums including health care costs to it’s employees through the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare then being allow to be able to abuse and misuse the retransmission consent process system to use the carriage fees they earned from the cable and satellite operators to spend it to enjoy carefree lavish spending to support carefree lavish salaries with carefree lavish and luxurious bonuses to the head executives, carefree lavish lifestyles with embezzlement using slush funds, scams, ponzi schemes, insider trading, creative accounting practices, and other white collar crimes, luxurious homes, luxurious jets, luxurious cars, luxurious furs, luxurious jewelry, join luxurious clubs, go on to luxurious shopping sprees, go on to luxurious vacations, luxurious resorts and beaches, go to luxurious bars, go to luxurious hotels, go to luxurious casinos to do gambling, go to luxurious golf courses, go to luxurious ski resorts, go to luxurious tennis courses, go to luxurious volleyball courses, go to horse races, throw luxurious parties including luxurious birthday bashes, go to luxurious dinners, go to luxurious fundraisers, go to luxurious conventions, go to luxurious amusements parks including Disneyland and Walt Disney World, involved with drugs with other people, involved with money laundering with other people, involved with panhandling from other people, involved with racketeering with other people, spend it on various luxurious gifts, answer to their investors, using slush funds to do gambling to place and wager on bets, using slush funds to bribe, lobby, and scam to the political candidates to help win their election and reelection campaigns, using slush funds to bribe, lobby, and scam at the FCC, House, Senate, and other government entries in Washington, DC to help allow the broadcasters to buy up more TV stations, using slush funds to bribe, lobby, and scam at the FCC, House, Senate, and other government entries in Washington, DC to claim that the retransmission consent payment process system is still working fine and don’t need to be change at all and make dealing with cable and satellite too difficult for them to carry the local stations and other uses not related to using the retransmission consent payment fees that is suppose to help the local TV station remain competitive in the broadcast and cable industry.

    • millerfilm says:

      It sounds interesting from scanning it, but I think you need to cut that by half to get more people to read that. And, I’m one of those getting screwed over in this stupidity right now.

  31. Dunstan says:

    At times like this, I’m so glad I don’t pay for TV.

    • millerfilm says:

      I might very soon be joining you. Getting screwed over by DISH right now.

      • R. Hermanski says:

        Dish is trying to protect it’s customers from the outrageous fees that Tribune Broadcasting it attempting to shove down our throats. You should be thanking Dish for looking out for our best intestest & put a stop to these ridiculous rate increases every time you turn around. Don’t they make enough from advertising fees (which I’m sure are equally outrageous!) for all the commercials we watch while watching our shows?

      • Jim says:

        Blames the greedy corporate giants at Tribune. Dish is just trying to stop the madness of fee increases. Whatever happened to free locals?

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