Dish, Hearst Reach New Retrans Agreement

Dish Network and Hearst Television have reached a new retransmission consent agreement covering the broadcaster’s 31 local stations.

Terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed. The deal ends a blackout of Hearst stations on Dish services that began in early March, affecting stations in 26 markets, including Boston, Baltimore, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Orlando, Fla.

Dish has, in recent years, engaged in frequent retrans standoffs with broadcast groups including Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Media, Tegna Media and CBS Corp. Hearst, for its part, saw its stations go dark on DirecTV for six days in January while a retrans deal was hammered out.

Tensions between programmers and distributors are rising at a time when both sides are feeling the effects of heightened competition for viewers and new entrants in the pay-TV eco-system, including a number of so-called “skinny bundles,” broadband-delivered channel packages.

Dish and other MVPDs have pushed for the overhaul of FCC rules governing retransmission consent agreements. Broadcasters, however, argue that private negotiations for retrans rights helps ensures they receive fair value for the share of viewing on MVPD platforms generated by local TV stations.

Hearst’s TV station assets include 15 ABC affiliates and 12 NBC affiliates.

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