ATLANTA—Cox Media Group has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Dish demanding the satellite provider retract what it says are numerous false claims designed to mislead customers about Dish’s decision to black-out CMG’s local television stations.
The current impasse, which started on Nov. 28, saw Dish pull the plug on 12 CMG stations in 9 markets after retransmission negotiations broke down. Cox accuses Dish of then issuing an “inaccurate” press release that included “knowingly false statements” about its decision to pull the CMG local broadcast stations from its own customers. These statements were “designed to mislead viewers and thereby harm the reputation of CMG in the marketplace,” according to the attorneys’ letter.
“That fact is, we asked DISH for an extension of our prior contract both in writing and verbally on several different occasions. CMG is now publicly asking Dish yet again to put our market-leading stations back on their satellite platform under the agreement that we both have operated under for years, and we’re again inviting them to finally start engaging in a meaningful good-faith negotiation of a new contract,” said Daniel York, President & CEO of CMG.
Cox accused Dish of “intentionally” misleading its subscribers by falsely claiming that CMG “refused to allow you to view their channels while we continue to negotiate,” when Cox says it “offered numerous extensions of the prior contract to allow Dish subscribers to watch CMG’s channels while the parties continued to negotiate,” the station group said in a statement.
Cox also accused Dish of slandering the quality of the station groups’ journalism, and responded that CMG has in fact increased its investment in investigative journalism.
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Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.
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