Millions of Dish subscribers lost access to 42 TV stations Sunday night after Dish and Tribune failed to reach an agreement on renewing their retrans deal."Tribune is demanding an unreasonable rate increase for channels that are available for free over the air," said Dish's Warren Schlichting.
Tribune Stations Go Dark On Dish In 33 Mkts.
Dish dropped 42 Tribune stations in 33 markets from its satellite TV service tonight after failing to renew its retransmission consent agreement with the broadcast group.
“Tribune is demanding an unreasonable rate increase for channels that are available for free over the air,” Warren Schlichting, DISH executive vice president of programming said in a statement.
“Actions like Tribune’s are what drive price increases and feed customer frustration for our industry.”
Earlier today, Tribune said it was warning Dish subscribers that they may lose access to its stations due to the retrans impasse.
“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 Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman.
“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,” he said.
While it works to reach an agreement Tribune, Dish said it will offer TV antennas at no cost to its subscribers so that they watch Tribune’s stations for free.
In addition to the “unreasonable” fees, Dish charged that Tribune was also trying include WGN American in the deal.
“By attempting to force bundle its cable channel with its local broadcast stations, Tribune is using local viewers as leverage to raise rates for WGN America – a channel that is in decline,” said Schlichting.
“Tribune is seeking a significant rate increase [for the network] despite decreasing viewership and recently losing access to Cubs baseball.”