DISH endorsed Sinclair Broadcast Group, the National Association of Broadcasters, Antennas Direct and TVfreedom.org for their "Broadcast TV Liberation Tour"
"It's smart. The country's 90 million pay-TV customers, all of whom pay retransmission fees for local broadcast stations, are frustrated by rising costs and channel blackouts," said Warren Schlichting, DISH executive vice president of Marketing, Programming and Media Sales. "Complementing the pay-TV experience, which includes the increasing adoption of streaming services like Sling TV, Sony Vue, Hulu and Netflix, is good business and may drive a solution to the otherwise compounding problem of ever-rising retransmission consent fees for local TV."
DISH has embraced this approach having distributed $7 million worth of OTA antennas to affected customers this summer since Tribune Broadcasting blacked out its stations from DISH customers on June 12.
"Sinclair is on the right track for consumers and we'd encourage Tribune to follow its example," added Schlichting.
Each year, the cost to carry local broadcast stations rises far beyond the rate of inflation, more than 225 percent over the past five years, leading to blackouts across the country that affect millions of subscribers of various pay-TV companies. According to SNL Kagan, a leading source on the media industry, broadcast fees burdening pay-TV consumers will reach an unprecedented $7.7 billion in 2016. These same rates, for channels available free over the air, were as low as $215 million in 2006, soared to $4.9 billion in 2014 and are expected to more than double to reach $11.6 billion in 2022.
"While we continue to advocate for an overhaul of the system that guides these types of negotiations, and have been on opposite sides of the issue from TVfreedom in the past, it is heartening to see that we may agree on this point: TV viewers should have a choice on how to watch, and how much to pay for local TV," said Schlichting.
Update on Negotiations Between DISH and Tribune
DISH and Tribune continue to progress in retransmission negotiations, but Tribune continues to black out millions of DISH customers from 42 local stations in 33 markets.
"Tribune is back at the table and we are making headway that I am hopeful will get these channels back to our customers soon," said Schlichting. "Regrettably, Tribune had stopped negotiating for five weeks, delaying a resolution. In the time since Tribune blacked out its stations, DISH has completed 10 local retransmission deals, one that covered more stations and more markets than Tribune. This can be done."
DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH), through its subsidiaries, provides approximately 13.593 million pay-TV subscribers, as of June 30, 2016, with the highest-quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value. DISH offers a high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 200 company.