Dish Network dispute with Tegna begins yet another channel blackout

Satellite TV provider Dish Network has once again found itself in the middle of a carriage dispute.

This time the company has lost local broadcast stations for nearly 3 million Dish TV customers in 53 markets after missing Wednesday’s deadline for a new agreement with Tegna. Dish is accusing Tegna of demanding higher retransmission fees for the carriage of its channels—which include 64 broadcast networks affiliated with CBS, Fox, NBC and others—and trying to boost its value as it reportedly seeks a sale.

"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 at Dish TV, in a statement. "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. Tegna is demanding we pay for 100% of our subscribers in their markets, regardless of whether these subscribers receive or want Tegna's programming. 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."

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Tegna warned that Dish had thus far refused to reach an agreement and that a channel blackout was imminent. The company issued another statement after the deal deadline passed at 9 a.m. EST on Wednesday.

“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. 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,” said Tegna spokesperson Anne Bentley in a statement.

For Tegna, the carriage dispute with Dish comes along after a similar impasse last December with DirecTV, Dish’s primary satellite TV competitor.