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Tegna, Dish Say Blackout Brewing Over Retransmission Billions

A Dish technician standing outside a company van.
(Image credit: Dish)

Giant station owner Tegna and satellite TV provider Dish Network said they are far apart in negotiations as their current retransmission consent agreement has run out with an extension set to expire at 9 p.m. Wednesday. 

Also Read: Tegna Stations Blacked Out to Dish TV Subscribers

Tegna said Dish is refusing to reach a fair agreement to continue carriage. The broadcaster said it began notifying viewers of an impending blackout Tuesday after giving the satellite TV provider an extension beyond the original date their agreement expired to allow talks to continue. 

Also Read: AT&T SportsNet and Root Sports Removed From Dish Network

“We are committed to reaching a fair, market-based agreement with Dish based on the competitive terms we’ve used to reach deals with numerous other providers that reflect the current market,” Tegna said in a statement. “Thus far, Dish has refused to agree to such terms, which is why we have begun informing Dish customers that they may lose access to their local Tegna station and our valuable programming. We hope that Dish is willing to negotiate a market-based deal before tomorrow night’s deadline, and doesn’t take away their customers’ local news, weather, sports and network programs.”

Dish blamed the growth in the size of retransmission fee payments, which in the case of a large station owner like Tegna could come close to $1 billion. 

“Businesses should have the opportunity to be profitable, but there's a big difference between running a profitable business and taking blatant advantage of consumers,” said Brian Neylon, group president, Dish TV. “Tegna is demanding an unreasonable fee increase — an increase the programmer knows will directly impact its viewers.”

Dish agreement with Tegna could impact subscribers’ access to local ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW and MyNetwork TV stations across 52 U.S. cities.

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.