Media General-Dish negotiations down to the wire


Media GeneralMedia General broadcast affiliates in 16 markets could cut off Dish Network customers at midnight on 7/1 if they can’t reach a retransmission consent agreement. Negotiations are ongoing, but Dish claims the retrans. fees are too steep, vs. other deals made with broadcasters.

Says Dish: “Dish carries nearly 1,700 local channels across the country; and Dish has negotiated new agreements with broadcasters on the rights to carry hundreds of channels within the past year. As a result, Dish knows with certainty that its offer to Media General is fair.”

Media General also said it has been in negotiations with Dish, but has not been able to reach an agreement. “Unfortunately, so far Dish Network has refused to reach a fair, market-based deal to carry WKRG,” the Mobile station said on its website. “By law, the deadline for reaching an agreement is 11:59 p.m. EST on June 30, 2013. If no deal is reached by the deadline, at midnight July 1, 2013, you could lose the shows, sports and local news you rely on and which you are paying for.”

“Media General’s WFLA News Channel 8 (NBC) is threatening to block Dish customers’ access to programming in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area unless DISH agrees to pay a massive retransmission fee hike,” says Dish in a release. “When broadcast companies raise the rates in their contracts with DISH and other pay-TV companies, the increased costs often force distributors like DISH to raise monthly subscription fees for customers.”

“We understand that our customers in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area want their full local programming, and we are working around the clock to try to make that happen,” said Sruta Vootukuru, Dish director of programming. “Media General’s demand is well above market increases. Dish will continue to fight on behalf of our customers to keep programming fees fair and as low as possible.”

If Media General allows the current retransmission agreement to expire, Dish  customers would lose other programming in the following 14 markets in addition to Tampa/St. Pete and Mobile: Birmingham, Augusta, Charleston, SC, Columbus, GA,  Columbus, OH, Greenville, NC/Spartanburg, SC; Hattiesburg, MS, Jackson, MS, Myrtle Beach, Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA,  Savannah, and the Tri-Cities area of Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City in Tennessee.