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Despite evidently reaching agreement on carriage rates and retransmission fees, the 129 local channels owned or operated by Sinclair Broadcast will still go ‘dark’ on Dish Network. The signals went ‘dark’ late on August 25th. Sinclair owns 121 stations, and manages another 32. Importantly, 87 of the stations are affiliated with one of the ‘big four’ broadcast networks.
The continuing squabble now concerns a batch of other stations – not owned by Sinclair – that in the past had fallen into line and accepted the rates agreed between Sinclair and Dish. Dish says these additional stations are ones that Sinclair “hopes to acquire”.
Dish says that Sinclair has rejected an extension of the existing local contracts pending further discussions.
Dish, in its statement, said: “Dish and Sinclair had been making steady progress in their recent negotiations, and DISH was hopeful that they would come to a mutual agreement to renew carriage of the Sinclair local stations. In that spirit, Dish offered another short-term contract extension to Sinclair that would include a retroactive “true-up” when new rates were agreed upon, and would preserve the ability of Dish customers to access the Sinclair local stations while our negotiations continued. The “true-up” would ensure that Sinclair was made whole at the new rates for the period of any contract extension.
Dish continued: “Since we offered to retroactively true them up when new rates were agreed upon, Sinclair had nothing to lose and consumers had everything to gain from an extension of our existing contract that would allow negotiations to continue,” said R. Stanton Dodge, Dish EVP/general counsel. “Instead, Sinclair rejected our offer and has chosen to use innocent consumers as pawns to gain leverage for the economic benefit of Sinclair, while causing substantial harm and disruption to the lives of those very same consumers who ultimately will bear the brunt of the unreasonable terms sought by Sinclair.”
Dish repeated its complaint to the FCC to intervene.
Sinclair is not commenting, other than to confirm the signals have gone dark for Dish subscribers.