Hearst forces channel blackout on DISH

US satellite TV outfit DISH Network Corporation has announced after months of negotiations, the entertainment brand Hearst has pulled 37 of its local channels from the provider across 27 markets, after failing to reach an agreement on distribution rates with the company.

DISH claimed Hearst had demanded “tens of millions of dollars in rate increases” to broadcast its channels.

The company have been in talks for months about the distribution deal. Viewers of various ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, MNT and IND channels will be affected by the channel blackout.

The TV satellite company said Hearst’s decision demonstrates a “disconnect between programming providers and distributors”, comparing it to the Disney-Charter dispute which the global media giant withdrew Disney content from the cableco.

In a statement Gary Schanman, executive vice president and group president, video services, DISH Network commented: “Hearst continues to raise its prices despite its declining viewership and lower-quality content. Demanding higher rates for the same entertainment and news just doesn’t make sense, especially as Hearst’s content is widely available on other platforms. This hurts our customers in their pocketbooks and their ability to watch the programming and content they want. Unfortunately, Hearst, like many other programmers, expects DISH and our customers to foot the bill.”

He added, “”It’s a broken system. As programmers continue to hold distributors hostage, customers will end up being impacted the most. We’ll continue to negotiate for a fair deal to provide the best value for our customers. Hearst is an important long-term partner for us, and we hope they’ll come to a reasonable agreement and restore their channels for our customers as quickly as possible.”

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