TEGNA Blacks Out DISH Customers in 38 Markets
TEGNA rejects DISH offer to extend contract, including retroactive
'true-up' for new rates, which would keep local channels up for
benefit of consumers while negotiations continue
TEGNA turns back on public interest obligations - holds local
viewers hostage to create 'deal leverage'
DISH advocates for FCC and Congress to put an end to broadcaster
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Despite DISH's offer to extend contract negotiations, tonight TEGNA Inc.
(formerly Gannett Co., Inc.) has blacked out DISH customers' access to
its local channels in 38 markets across 33 states and the District of
Columbia. The media conglomerate has used the move to gain deal leverage
as it seeks above-market rate increases double the current DISH rate.
DISH Network L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DISH Network
Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH).
"With DISH willing to grant an extension and a retroactive true up on
rates, TEGNA had nothing to lose and consumers had everything to gain by
leaving the channels up," said Warren Schlichting, DISH senior vice
president of programming. "Instead, TEGNA chose to turn its back on its
public interest obligations and use innocent consumers as bargaining
DISH and TEGNA had been making steady progress in their recent
negotiations, and DISH was hopeful that they would come to a mutual
agreement to renew carriage of the TEGNA local stations. In that spirit,
DISH offered a short-term contract extension to TEGNA that would include
a retroactive true-up when new rates were agreed upon, and would
preserve the ability of DISH customers to access the TEGNA local
stations while negotiations continued. The true-up would ensure that
TEGNA was made whole at the new rates for the period of any contract
"We are actively working to negotiate an agreement that promptly returns
this content to DISH's programming lineup," added Schlichting.
Need for Retransmission Consent Reform
"TEGNA's decision to cut ties with DISH customers is a prime example of
why Washington needs to stand up for consumers and end local channel
blackouts," said R. Stanton Dodge, DISH executive vice president and
general counsel. "Broadcasters like TEGNA use their in-market monopoly
power to put profits ahead of the public interests they are supposed to
Broadcasters currently prevent pay-TV companies from temporarily
substituting an out-of-market station during a local broadcaster
blackout. This leaves consumers in the dark and leaves pay-TV companies
powerless to serve their customers.
Dodge continued: "Actions like these are precisely the reason that
Congress has mandated, and the FCC has started, a formal process to
investigate negotiating tactics that use innocent consumers as
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking on September 2, 2015. Read the NPRM here: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0902/FCC-15-109A1.pdf
Along with other pay-TV companies and public interest groups that form
Television Alliance (ATVA), DISH has asked the FCC to consider these
and other tactics as violating "good faith" negotiations.
Read an ATVA Ex Parte filed with the FCC on September 2, 2015 here: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=60001223881
Rising Retransmission Rates
Each year, the cost to carry local broadcast stations rises far beyond
the rate of inflation, leading to blackouts across the country that
affect millions of subscribers of various pay-TV companies. According to
SNL Kagan, a leading source on the media industry, broadcast fees
burdening pay-TV consumers were as low as $215 million in 2006, soared
to $4.9 billion in 2014 and are expected to more than double to reach
$10.3 billion in 2021.
DISH customers can visit DISHPromise.com for more information and to ask
the FCC and Congress to end TV blackouts.
For a list of affected stations, visit https://dishnetwork.newshq.businesswire.com/document-library/tegna-station-list.
DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH), through its subsidiaries, provides
approximately 13.932 million pay-TV subscribers, as of June 30, 2015,
with the highest-quality programming and technology with the most
choices at the best value. Subscribers enjoy a high definition line-up
with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international
channels, and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network
Corporation is a Fortune 250 company. Visit www.dish.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151009006006/en/
John Hall, 720-514-5351
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