Blackout suspended as Sinclair, DISH enter further retrans talks



| 27 August 2015

The acrimonious retrans row between Sinclair Broadcast and DISH Network has taken an unexpected positive step with the resumption of negotiations and TV services.

Only a day earlier, after failing to reach agreement on rates and all other terms for the carriage of its stations carried by the satellite operator, Sinclair Broadcast Group pulled the plugs on 129 of its local channels in 79 markets across 36 states and the District of Columbia. This resulted in what was described as the largest local channel blackout in the history of US television.

As a result, DISH beefed up an existing complaint to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) behaviour, urging the US regulator to intervene to protect consumers from the actions of Sinclair.

Yet now the two parties say they have reached an agreement in principal for the carriage of Sinclair's broadcast television stations, entering into a two-week extension in order to allow time to document the agreement. The blacked out stations have been restored.

"We are pleased to announce that we were able to come to an agreement in principal with Dish, and we regret any inconvenience that was caused to the Dish subscribers as a result of the short blackout," commented Barry Faber, Sinclair EVP/general counsel and chief negotiator.

Additionally, Dish is now asking the FCC to stay action on its Verified Amended and Restated Retransmission Complaint and Request for Preliminary Injunctive Relief as the long-term agreement is being finalised. "We are grateful for the FCC's work on behalf of consumers to actively broker a productive path forward," added Jeff Blum, Dish senior vice president and deputy general counsel.