Hearst Television “has offered and agreed to” a 48-hour extension with Dish Network of its down-to-the-wire negotiations over a new retransmission consent agreement for all 33 of its broadcast TV stations.
The DBS provider and Hearst have been trying to iron out an amicable renewal of the retrans deal for months, and Hearst went public Monday by telling viewers via station websites and its newscasts that if a renewal was not seen by 11:59pm local time on Feb. 28, Dish would have been “forced” to remove Hearst’s 15 ABC affiliates (including KETV-7 in Omaha and KMBC-9 in Kansas City) and 12 NBC affiliates (including WBAL-11 in Baltimore), in addition to six non-affiliated stations.
Will the 48-hour reprieve, which keeps Hearst stations on Dish, lead to a deal?
“While we are hopeful that we and Dish Network can conclude our negotiations before March 3, we remain concerned by Dish’s demands, which include material terms that are less favorable than our current agreement” Hearst said Wednesday morning, according to a post on KMBC-9’s website. “Hearst Television has made significant investments to deliver top quality programming to our viewers, and Dish is seeking the right to carry our stations at below-market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable.”
The possibility of a non-renewal is being brought to light by Hearst “so as not to deprive any of our respective viewers and customers of our programming,” the company explained, directing concerned viewers to NAB-supported TV Freedom‘s website.
— Adam R Jacobson