Dish Network customers have lost access to 14 channels in six states due to a dispute with the Dallas-based media company Hoak Media over pricing and Dish's commercial-skipping Auto Hop function, the satellite company said.
The dispute comes as Dish is embroiled in lawsuits with ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC over Auto Hop, which allows customers to watch previously aired primetime shows commercial free. The 14 channels include affiliates of all four networks.
Dish said Hoak blocked Dish customers’ access to the 14 Hoak channels because Dish refused to accept a 200 percent rate increase. Hoak also wanted to bar eliminate customer access to Auto Hop, Dish said.
“Hoak doesn’t respect customer control – they are telling customers they must watch commercials,” said Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming for Dish. “Channel skipping has been around since the advent of the remote control, and we think Hoak has taken an incredibly hostile stance toward their viewers.”
Hoak did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC have sued Dish over Auto Hop on copyright grounds, and called it a threat to ad-supported network programming.
Dish said it no longer has the right to carry the following 14 Hoak channels: KREX and KFQX in Grand Junction, Colo.; KFYR in Minot and KVLY and KXJB in Fargo, N.D.; WMBB in Panama City, Fla.; KNOP and KIIT in North Platte and KHAS in Lincoln, Neb.; KSFY in Sioux Falls, S.D.; and KNOE and KAQY in Monroe and KALB and NALB in Alexandria, La.