On Monday, Cox Media Group (CMG) announced that its channels in nine local markets would turn dark for DISH TV satellite customers as the two parties could not agree on a new distribution deal. In a statement, DISH says Cox is “demanding massive fee increases and holding viewers hostage.” CMG owns a number of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBS affiliates which are carried by DISH TV.
In response, CMG released a statement through its Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV saying, “Despite our efforts to negotiate in good faith, Dish continues to refuse to reach a fair deal and has now blocked 13 CMG stations, including Channel 2. They will dark only if Dish wants it to. CMG hopes Dish will abandon its well-worn path of blocking TV channels at the expense of consumers in favor of meaningful negotiations toward a fair deal.
Although DISH also owns and operates live television streaming service Sling TV, those customers are not affected by the carriage dispute because the streamer only carries affiliates owned and operated by FOX and NBC. However, as CMG mentioned in its statement, this isn’t the first time DISH has suffered a service outage for the channels amid a negotiation over retransmission fees. In February, the company ended a four-month standoff with TEGNA to bring 64 affiliates back on air.
Just over a year ago, DISH filed a bad faith complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against TEGNA and claimed that the viewership of TEGNA-affiliated stations had declined over the past three years, despite attempts by station owners to increase DISH’s retransmission fees.
Although no FEC complaints were filed, DISH’s statement on the CMG dispute used similar language.
“Cox’s refusal to negotiate in good faith and subsequently force an outage of its stations for DISH customers is deplorable,” said DISH TV Group President Brian Neylon. “Cox is demanding an exorbitant rate increase…Broadcasters like Cox put profits ahead of the public interests they are meant to serve, even when its viewership has been declining for years.”
The statement goes on to say that despite Cox’s dwindling viewership on DISH TV over the past two years, CMG is trying to raise rates by nearly 75% and forcing DISH subscribers to pay for the channel, which they want to include local stations in their package. or not.
“Cox Media Group is simply asking Dish to pay a fair price for the quality of local news and entertainment programming in which we invest heavily,” CMG said in a statement, “in addition to primetime programming. and sports that we pay to get from our networks”.
The channels and markets currently impacted according to DISH are:
Atlanta BMS | ABC
Boston: WFXT | FOX
Charlotte, North Carolina: WSOC | ABC
Dayton, Ohio: WHO | SCS
Eugene, Oregon: KLSR | FOX
Jacksonville, Florida: WFOX | FOX
Orlando, Florida: WFTV | ABC
Pittsburgh: WPXI | NBC
Seattle: KIRO | SCS