The broadcaster says the ad-zapping feature of Dish’s Hopper DVR is not a factor in the negotiations for a new retrans contract replacing the one that expires on Sunday.
Gannett Broadcasting today denied Dish’s assertion that, as part of its negotiations for a new retrans contract, Gannett was demanding that Dish block the commercial-skipping feature on its digital video recorders or agree to pay massive penalties. If not, Dish said, Gannett would pull its 19 stations from the satellite service.
A Gannett source with direct knowledge of the negotiations told TVNewsCheck: “Their claim that we demanded that Dish eliminate customer-enabled commercial-skipping technology found on its Hopper is completely false.”
In a public statement Gannett said: “Over the past several months, Gannett Broadcasting has worked hard to reach a fair agreement with Dish for continued carriage of our local broadcast stations. Thus far, Dish has refused to reach a fair, market-based deal with us.
“If Dish refuses to reach a deal before midnight, Oct. 7, Dish subscribers could lose their local Gannett station and access to some of the year’s best programming. We remain committed to continuing to negotiate with Dish right up to that deadline and believe an agreement is possible, as we are seeking nothing more than the same market-based terms that have allowed us to reach deals with TV providers across the country.
“Gannett has never had a service disruption with a major TV provider and we hope we do not face that situation with Dish. However, we have a responsibility to our viewers, so today we are beginning a public information campaign to make them aware of the situation and urge them to make their voices heard.”