Sinclair, Dish come to terms


SBG / Sinclair Broadcast GroupAs the deadline to renew a contract for retransmission consent between Sinclair and Dish Network approached there was a bit of saber-rattling, but in the end, the dispute joined the vast majority – those that are resolved with no disruption of service. Well, there’s a good chance — the current deal is tentative.

As usual, terms of the deal were not revealed.

Sinclair had released a very dry announcement for the benefit of its viewers that the contract deadline was approaching and that a blackout was possible.

Dish responded with a statement charging Sinclair with making unreasonable demands for a massive increase in retransmission money. Sinclair responded strongly, pointing out that it was seeking less than Dish regularly pays for basic cable channels with very little viewership.

RBR-TVBR observation: We frequently see politicians and members of the MVPD community talk about the contentiousness of retransmission negotiations and the increasing frequency of blackouts. We also hear about the unscrupulous tactics of greedy broadcasters, including the threat to deny viewers access to major televised events to extort money out of innocent MVPDs.

We will bet that the headlines about an agreement between Sinclair and Dish won’t be nearly as prominent as are the ones about a potential blackout.

And of course, when a new agreement is arrived at peacefully behind closed doors, there are no headlines at all. It’s the way news works – when something happens the way it’s supposed to, it’s not news. And that’s why the 99% of negotiations that close without undue strife rarely get any attention.

Screaming MVPDs can point to the rare exceptions, which they have a hand in creating, and trick legislators into believing that disruptions are the rule. But they are not, and this may well be just one more negotiation that will wind up in the business-as-usual no-disruption pile.