DISH, TEGNA fall into retrans row



| 28 September 2015

The recent lull in conflict over retransmission fees in the US has been broken by an all too familiar row between TEGNA and DISH Network.

The leading satellite operator has gone into battle over fees with the former Gannet-owned pay-TV firm whose portfolio includes 46 television stations and which claims to have the largest independent station group of major network affiliates in the top 25 US markets, reaching approximately a third of all television households in the country.

DISH is warning that failure to reach an agreement on a new service contract after the original expires on 30 September will see its customers' access to 51 local channels in 39 markets being blocked, leading to millions of screens blacked out.

"Only TEGNA can choose to black out its channels. DISH is actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires. We have offered a contract extension to TEGNA, including a retroactive 'true up' when new rates are agreed upon, to keep the channels available to customers in the event that we are unable to reach a deal by the deadline," explained Warren Schlichting, DISH senior vice president of programming. "Since we offered to retroactively true them up when new rates were agreed upon, TEGNA has nothing to lose and consumers have everything to gain from an extension of our existing contract that would allow negotiations to continue."

TEGNA was singularly unimpressed with the offer. It has so far declined to make any comment on the ongoing negotiations.