E.W. Scripps said that its stations in 42 markets are no longer being carried by Dish Network as their retransmission consent deal expired.
Dish subscribers are also blacked out from the Cox Media Group stations acquired by Apollo Global Management last year.
Scripps said it is trying to reach a deal.
“Without an agreement in place, Dish subscribers are now missing out on our stations’ essential news, weather and entertainment programming,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media for Scripps. “Dish’s refusal to negotiate to a fair agreement is preventing its customers from accessing pressing news during a global pandemic, a period of social unrest, an active political year and severe weather season for many parts of our country.
Dish blamed Scripps, saying the broadcaster has refused an offer to match the rates other pay-TV providers are paying to retransmit the stations.
“To be clear, Scripps chose to black out its own viewers. We offered multiple extension options to keep the channels up while we continue to work toward reaching a deal during these unprecedented times, but they refused,” said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior VP of programming.
Dish said Scripps wouldn’t negotiate for months and then made a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer minutes before expiration.
“The channels could come back today if Scripps would allow it, and we can restore the channels immediately if they give us the green light,” said LeCuyer. “While the nation faces the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and Hurricane Hanna makes landfall, viewers need access to their local news and programming. On behalf of customers, we ask Scripps to stop punishing its own viewers so we can focus on reaching a fair deal.”
“Our impasse, after five months of discussions, is not about the rates DISH pays us but their inability to agree on other distribution terms,” Lawlor said. “We hope Dish will recognize the importance of our programming to its customers and our viewers and help us to resolve this dispute.”
Since launching its first TV station in Cleveland in 1947, Scripps has never gone dark with a pay TV distributor, and the company is ready and able to make an agreement with Dish, the broadcaster said.
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