ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—In an escalating carriage dispute, Dish Networks fired back at the Sinclair Broadcast Group with a press release claiming that “the media conglomerate is trying to use its market power to demand an unreasonable fee increase, using millions of Americans as pawns in its negotiations.”
“Sinclair is demanding Dish pay nearly a billion dollars in fees for their television channels — a massive increase from what we pay for these same channels today despite declining viewership,” said Brian Neylon, group president, Dish TV in a statement. “Sinclair is making these outrageous demands, turning its back on its public interest obligation and putting customers in the middle of its negotiations.”
In an apparent reference to the regional sports networks that Dish removed from its line-up in 2019 and Sinclair is seeking to restore, a Dish press release noted that “over the past couple of years, Sinclair spent billions of dollars to acquire new channels, and now they’re demanding a massive increase because they want Dish customers to foot the bill. In addition, Sinclair is also demanding that Dish carry other programming that many customers don’t watch.”
Earlier today, Sinclair issued a statement saying it was unlikely to reach a carriage agreement with Dish prior to the August 16 deadline, an impasse that Sinclair said would mean Dish customers would lose access to 112 stations.
Dish said the dispute would black out Dish customers’ access to 144 local channels across 86 markets nationwide.
“There is still time to reach an agreement with Sinclair that is fair for all parties involved, especially our customers,” added Neylon. “We will continue to fight on behalf of Dish customers to keep TV bills as low as possible. Despite the fact that Sinclair has walked away from the table multiple times, we stand ready to negotiate in good faith.”
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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