FOX DISH subs blacked out in New Orleans
Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 02-02-2012
DISH Network subscribers in the New Orleans are the latest to feel the sting of TV blackouts in the wake of the latest in a string of retransmission fee disputes.
The affiliate pulled its feed from the satellite provider on 31 January, when the existing agreement expired. "We have been continuing negotiations with DISH in order to reach a fair agreement and to restore DISH's carriage of WVUE," the local station said on its Website.
DISH however says that what WVUE wants is anything but fair. Its owner, Louisiana Media, is looking to raise fees more than 300%.
"We are disappointed that Louisiana Media has chosen to be so unreasonable in its demands, as we know that a significant number of DISH customers in New Orleans enjoy their access to Fox programs," said Dish senior vice president of programming, David Shull, in a statement.
The spat is the latest story in what has become a well-worn narrative of affiliates raising retransmission fees by what pay-TV operators say is above the market rate. Increasingly operators have refused to bend easily to what they characterise as extortionist, leading to more instances of consumer blackouts. Recently DirecTV lost subscriber access to two stations in Boston and one in Miami, a standoff that threatened the Super Bowl broadcast in Boston and prompted lawmakers to intercede before the satco reached an agreement with affiliate owner Sunbeam Television.
The FCC is in the process of reviewing the rules for retransmission fee negotiations.