Tegna Stations Blacked Out to Dish TV Subscribers

Tegna HQ in McLean, Va.
The Tegna blackout affects Dish customers in 53 markets. (Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tegna’s stations were blacked out to Dish Network’s 3 million subscribers Wednesday evening after the two companies were unable to reach a new retransmission deal.

The blackout affects Dish customers in 53 markets.

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Dish said Tegna was demanding unreasonable increases in its retransmission fees.

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“We made a fair offer to keep Tegna stations available to our customers, but Tegna rejected it, forcing the removal of its channels,” said Brian Neylon, group president, Dish TV. “Tegna is looking to sell its stations to the highest bidder and is simply trying to exploit Dish customers as a way to get the maximum price and further fatten their wallets.”

Last month, Tegna said it had received offers to buy the company.

“Tegna is demanding we pay for 100% of our subscribers in their markets, regardless of whether these subscribers receive or want Tegna’s programming,” added Neylon. “As one of the nation’s largest local station owners, they are more interested in increasing their bottom line by charging our customers more money than providing programming to viewers under fair terms.”

Tegna blamed Dish for the blackout.

“Dish has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us 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. “While Dish is one of our smaller distributors, we regret any inconvenience for any of our customers, and hope that Dish will come back to the table to get a deal done to return our valuable programming to their system.”

Tegna began warning viewers that a blackout was possible on Tuesday. 

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.