Tribune blacked out DISH customer access to 42 local channels in 33 markets early Sunday evening.
The following statements can be attributed to
"Tribune claims that it is ‘seeking nothing more than fair market rates for the value of [its] programming - the same market rates that DISH pays other local station groups, and the same market rates that [it gets] from other satellite, cable and telco partners.'
"If Tribune is serious in its commitment to accept fair market rates, then there is no downside for them to immediately restore the Tribune channels on DISH while allowing a neutral third-party arbitrator to review DISH's agreements with other station groups, as well as the rates that Tribune receives from our pay-TV competitors and determine the fair market rates that Tribune desires on a basis that is binding upon DISH and Tribune.
"This is especially true since DISH has offered to retroactively pay any new rates back to the date that the channels are restored to consumers."
Among other reasons, DISH has suggested that the arbitration be modeled on the successful arbitration procedures in the Comcast/NBCU consent decree to ensure that there would not be an opportunity for Tribune or DISH to walk away from the decision of the arbitrator.
"Regrettably, we can only interpret Tribune's unwillingness to participate in binding arbitration as an indication that it actually is angling for rates that are above fair market and that it wants to keep the Tribune channels off DISH as long as possible in order to continue to use innocent consumers as pawns to gain negotiating leverage against DISH."
In the meantime, DISH continues to fight for customers by distributing tens of thousands of free over-the-air antennas to help impacted consumers regain access to the Tribune local broadcast stations.
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