Dish Says Cox Wants To Include Standard General, Tegna Stations in Blackout Talks

Dish Network
The dispute with Cox Media Group has blacked out the company's stations to Dish subscribers in nine markets. (Image credit: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Dish Network, responding to Cox Media Group demands that it retract false statements about their retransmission-consent dispute, doubled down on blaming CMG for a blackout that continues.

“Cox Media Group’s statements regarding its negotiations with Dish Network and requests for contract extensions are misleading at best,” Dish said in a statement.

The dispute has blacked out stations in nine markets. If it continues into the weekend, viewers will miss high-profile programming including key college football and NFL games.

Another retransmission dispute is also approaching a deadline with the agreement between Fox and DirecTV expiring Friday at midnight Pacific Time. Fox has been warning viewers that a blackout is possible.

Dish maintains that Cox, controlled by Apollo Global Management, has delayed “meaningful discussions” because it wants stations currently owned by Standard General and Tegna to be included because of connections to Apollo.

Standard General has agreed to acquire Tegna in a deal partially financed by Apollo. If the transaction is approved, Cox would wind up with some of the stations involved as part of the deal.

Dish claims that Cox is seeking a 75% fee increase. Dish calls that demand “unreasonable given that Cox’s viewership on Dish TV has significantly declined over the past three years.”

Dish also said Cox has had multiple chances to agree to extensions.

“Cox has failed to mention it opted not to exercise its unilateral right to extend its contract,“ Dish said. “Still, Dish subsequently made additional extension offers to Cox. These offers simply requested Cox sign a letter affirming it would not interfere with the multiyear contract Dish signed with Tegna this past February. To date, Cox has refused these offers.”

Dish said that despite Cox’s practices, it remains open to “reaching an agreement for Cox stations that is fair to our consumers.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.