Nearly 30 markets have had Hearst-owned networks dropped by Dish as another carriage dispute plagues the industry.
Per Cord Cutters News, the networks went dark on Dish Friday. The networks include affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, and The CW, and several major markets have been impacted.
Dish’s Gary Schanman broke out the standard playbook, claiming Hearst was seeking higher rates from Dish and that the system was broken.
“Hearst continues to raise its prices despite its declining viewership and lower-quality content,” said Gary Schanman, executive vice president and group president, video services, DISH Network. “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.”
…“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,” added Schanman. “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.”
In recent years, Dish has been targeting RSNs, dropping their final one (NESN) in December 2021 to go completely RSN-free (which hasn’t been a bad decision on their part). But local affiliates have also been in Dish’s crosshairs since the pandemic.
The end of 2020 saw Dish and Nexstar play the feud before resolving their battle while a long battle between Dish and Sinclair played out in 2021. A multiple-month dispute with Tegna was resolved in February 2022, while Cox-owned affiliates were dropped in November 2022 and have yet to be re-added. They also have had a dispute with Mission/White Knight-owned affiliates since January.
The CW affiliates being dropped in this latest dispute with Dish include the Winston-Salem/Greensboro affiliate in North Carolina. That seems relevant given The CW’s new deal to air ACC football and basketball games.
The two CBS affiliates impacted are in Des Moines and Louisville.
Several big markets will be losing their ABC affiliate on Dish. Hearst operates ABC affiliates in Boston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. The Steelers are part of the Week 2 Monday Night Football doubleheader, and their game airs on ABC.
Some NFL markets will also lose their NBC affiliates, including Baltimore, Cincinnati, and New Orleans. The Ravens, Bengals, and Saints all are absent from Sunday Night Football until Week 9, when the Bengals host the Bills.