You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

As Dish-Tribune Blackout Standoff Drags On, Satcaster Touts $7 Million Antenna Giveaway

With the start of the NFL regular season looming, Dish Network and Tribune Broadcasting say they’re still trying to hammer out a deal to resolve the retransmission fight now in its 10th week that has blacked out 42 TV stations for Dish subscribers in 33 U.S. markets.

Since the Tribune stations went dark June 12 on Dish, the satellite TV operator claims, it has distributed $7 million worth of over-the-air antennas to affected subscribers. Dish also has encouraged customers to visit Hulu and the websites of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC (including NBCOlympics.com) to access programming carried on the blacked-out Tribune stations.

Dish, in an announcement Thursday, claimed that Tribune was “back at the table,” after suspending talks for five weeks. But a Tribune rep disputed that.

“Tribune Media has been in continuous negotiations with Dish since being forced off its distribution system on June 12,” said Gary Weitman, senior VP of corporate relations. “To say otherwise is patently false, and further evidence of Dish’s willingness to mislead its customers and our viewers.”

The companies “are making headway that I am hopeful will get these channels back to our customers soon,” Warren Schlichting, Dish executive VP of marketing, programming and media sales, said in a statement. Weitman said that “despite Tribune Media’s best efforts, an agreement with Dish is not imminent, and Dish subscribers should consider switching providers before the start of football’s regular season in a few weeks.”

During the second quarter of 2016, Dish lost a record 281,000 TV subscribers. Excluding its Sling TV over-the-top subs, Dish shed an estimated 330,000 satellite TV customers, likely fueled by the Tribune blackout. As of the end of June, the company had 13.593 million pay-TV subscribers (including those with Sling TV), versus 13.932 million a year earlier.

Tribune Broadcasting’s blackout on Dish, one of the longest such outages in the industry’s history, affects an estimated 5 million Dish subs. The two sides are warring over fees to carry’s Tribune broadcast stations as well as Tribune’s WGN America cable network.

According to Dish, it has completed 10 local retransmission deals since mid-June, including a retrans pact struck earlier this month with Raycom Media covering 41 stations nationwide.

Also Thursday, joining in solidarity with unlikely bedfellows, Dish said it supported the “Broadcast TV Liberation Tour” promoting free OTA television access backed by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the National Association of Broadcasters, Antennas Direct and lobbying group TVfreedom.org.

“While we continue to advocate for an overhaul of the system that guides these types of negotiations, and have been on opposite sides of the issue from TVfreedom in the past, it is heartening to see that we may agree on this point: TV viewers should have a choice on how to watch, and how much to pay for local TV,” said Schlichting.

More Biz

  • Woodstock 50 Files Appeal Seeking Return

    Woodstock 50 Files Appeal Seeking Return of $18 Million From Former Financial Partner

    In the latest round of the ongoing legal battle between the organizers of Woodstock 50 and their erstwhile partners Dentsu Aegis, attorney Marc Kasowitz announced that the festival has filed an appeal for Dentsu to return some $18.5 million the financial giant withdrew from the organizers’ bank account. That money has been a point of [...]

  • Spider-Man Homecoming

    Film and TV Productions Are Using Drones for Scouting Locations, Lighting and More

    Since a ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2014 that cleared the use of drones in film and TV production, the acquisition of footage by these unmanned flying machines has become de rigueur for aerial shooting in cases when cranes or aircraft are impractical or unsafe.  As such, drones have been greeted enthusiastically not [...]

  • White House Communications Director Hope Hicks,

    House Judiciary Committee Issues Subpoena for Fox Spokeswoman Hope Hicks

    The House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena for Hope Hicks, the Fox Corporation communications chief who previously worked as the communications director in President Donald Trump’s White House. The call for Hicks to appear before the committee was issued Tuesday. Hicks could not be reached for immediate comment on the matter. Hicks was in [...]

  • Stephanie Dalton City National Bank

    Why City National Handles Financing for Half the Shows on Broadway

    Seen a Broadway show lately? If the answer is yes, then there’s a pretty good chance that Stephanie Dalton and her team at City National Bank have played a role in the financial life of the production. That can mean anything from managing the cash that a show takes in at the box office to [...]

  • Broadway Theater Placeholder

    The Great Green Way: Inside Broadway's Economic Boom

    Here’s an old Broadway story, probably apocryphal, but with the ring of truth: A worried producer checks in on his ticket sales to see how his show is doing. “We had a terrible night, boss,” the treasurer tells him. “We did one penny.” The producer sulks through Shubert Alley and runs into a rival. “How’s [...]

  • TV Ad Sales Upfronts

    TV's Upfront Market May Be More Complex Than Networks Expected (EXCLUSIVE)

    TV’s “upfront” ad-sales market has started to simmer. What will be required to bring it to full boil? TV networks and media buyers hope to answer that question in coming weeks – if not days. In this annual market for advance commitments to buy commercial time, Madison Avenue and TV sales executives haggle over the [...]

  • Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join

    Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join Troy Carter’s Q&A

    Q&A, the music and tech company founded by former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify exec Troy Carter, today announced the appointments of Phillip Eubanks as Chief Operating Officer (pictured above, right) and Marc Hemeon as Head of Design (left). The pair join Carter, J. Erving (Human Re Sources, Atom Factory), Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory, OMD) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content