Dish Network, Sinclair have Wednesday contract deadline
Undated (WBEN) -- Dish Network customers may be without some television station signals -- if Dish and Baltimore, Md.-based Sinclair Broadcast Group can't reach a new retransmission agreement.
The current contract expires at midnight on Wednesday.
The contract allows Dish subscribers in Western New York to have WUTV Fox 29 and WNYO MyTV Buffalo, both of which are among the Sinclair affiliates that could be affected in the negotiations.
If the companies fail to reach an agreement on price, Dish will no longer be allowed to carry Sinclair's signals in 45 markets across the U.S., including Buffalo.
"WUTV and WNYO and their owners are asking for more than any other station anywhere in the country," Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming for Dish, said in a news release. "This goes beyond corporate greed -- it's profoundly insensitive to the needs of the public."
In its statement, Dish says it has worked on retransmission contract negotiations with Sinclair for months, but the television station operator is "insisting" on a rate increase that would force Dish to pay more for those ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC channels than Dish pays to any other broadcaster.
Higher costs will translate into higher fees for customers, said Dish.
In response, Sinclair issued its own statement, saying it's aware of the Dish statement that the company sees as "attempting to blame Sinclair for the failure of the parties to reach agreement on a renewal."
Sinclair says the company doesn't believe it is helpful to negotiate private business matters in public, but the company felt compelled to respond to Dish's public attack and "set the record straight."
"Sinclair notes that the prices it is requesting for its extremely popular stations are substantially lower than the amounts Dish is paying for other far less popular channels it carries as a result of Dish's flawed economic model that on a relative basis compensates channels with little to no audience share more than the broadcast channels. In addition, Sinclair notes that its negotiations with Dish, a company which is currently being sued by the ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC networks as a result of Dish providing its customers with technology that allows its subscribers to delete commercials, involve matters other than pricing."
Sinclair also uses its statement to remind viewers who are Dish subscribers that the Sinclair stations that may be dropped by Dish remain available from a variety of other sources. "These sources include DirecTV, at least one cable company in each market, Verizon's FiOS or AT&T's U-Verse in many markets, and completely for free over-the-air," the company said in its statement.