Dish Network customers are losing access to 37 local channels across 27 markets Friday as the company has failed to reach a carriage agreement with Hearst Television.
The impasse impacts ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, MNT and IND channels.
The satellite television provider argues that the media giant is “demanding tens of millions of dollars in rate increases that would affect customers, while it devalues its product by making programming available elsewhere, even as viewership declines.”
“Demanding higher rates for the same entertainment and news just doesn’t make sense, especially as Hearst’s content is widely available on other platforms,” Dish’s executive vice president and video services group president Gary Schanman said in a statement. “This hurts our customers in their pocketbooks and their ability to watch the programming and content they want. Unfortunately, Hearst, like many other programmers, expects DISH and our customers to foot the bill.”
Local affiliates not being seen thanks to the dispute include:
- KOAT in Albuquerque, New Mexico
- WBAL in Baltimore, Maryland
- WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama
- WCVB and WMUR in Boston, Massachusetts
- WNNE and WPTZ in Burlington, Vermont
- WLWT in Cincinatti, Ohio
- KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa
- WBBH in Fory Myers, Florida
- KHBS, KHBSD and KHOG in Fort Smith, Arkansas
- WCWG and WXII in Greensboro, North Carolina
- WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina
- WGAL in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- WAPT in Jackson, Mississippi
- KCWE and KMBC in Kansas City, Missouri
- WLKY in Louisville, Kentucky
- WISN in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- KSBW and KSBWD in Monterey, California
- WDSU in New Orleans, Louisiana
- KOCO in Oklahoma City
- KETV in Omaha, Nebraska
- WESH and WKCF in Orlando, Florida
- WTAE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- WMTW and WPXT in Portland, Maine
- KCRA and KQCA in Sacramento, California
- WJCL in Savannah, Georgia
- WMOR in Tampa, Florida
- WPBF in West Palm Beach, Florida
In a message to Dish subscribers, Hearst argued that it has made “significant investments to deliver top tier programming” to viewers and that Dish is “seeking the right to carry our stations at below market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable.”
The company added that its stations are “not blacked out” and that Dish customers can continue to receive its programming for free over the air or from other satellite distribution or cable operators where available.
The latest dispute comes after Disney removed its portfolio of television networks from Spectrum on Aug. 31 after failing to reach a carriage agreement with its parent company Charter Communications. Additionally, Nexstar is in a carriage dispute with DirecTV, which resulted in the removal of 159 of its local TV stations across 113 markets in July.
“It’s a broken system. As programmers continue to hold distributors hostage, customers will end up being impacted the most. We’ll continue to negotiate for a fair deal to provide the best value for our customers,” Schanman added. “Hearst is an important long-term partner for us, and we hope they’ll come to a reasonable agreement and restore their channels for our customers as quickly as possible.”
Dish Networks reported a total of 8.9 million pay-TV subscribers at the end of the second quarter of 2023, including 6.9 million Dish TV subscribers and 2 million Sling TV subscribers.
Hearst Television has a total of 35 television stations across 39 states, which reach over 22 million U.S. television households and distribute national content over more than 120 video channels. That includes programming from ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, MY Net, MeTV, Estrella and others.
Shares of Dish Network, which are down 55% year to date, climbed 4.8% during Friday’s trading session.