Scripps released a statement today regarding its negotiations with Dish.
After five months of contract extensions, and now five weeks of an impasse with our stations blacked out from Dish subscribers, Scripps remains incredibly frustrated by Dish’s false claims about our dispute. Scripps continues to advocate for market-standard distribution terms while Dish attempts to control our local stations’ signals and limit our ability to create new services with other cable and satellite companies.
Counter to Dish’s false narrative to its customers, Scripps has not asked for a 250% rate hike, and this negotiation is not related to the cost of expanding our station footprint in 2019.
What is true is that Dish has little motivation to seek a deal: Dish’s profitability improves by several million dollars each month by not distributing the Scripps stations while its customers – who are locked into Dish’s monthly charges for stations they’re not receiving – miss out on the news, weather and sports programming they rely on from our stations.
Scripps is a fair and reasonable negotiator. This remains the only time in Scripps’ history that we have reached an impasse over a distribution agreement. Earlier this year, we successfully reached agreements on two new contracts with cable and satellite providers even larger than Dish. Scripps knows the appropriate industry terms, and we will not agree to a deal that gives Dish complete control over our local station signals and limits our ability to reach agreements with others. It is because of unreasonable demands like these that Dish is also at an impasse with the local Cox stations, the NFL Network and dozens of regional sports networks – all while they pocket those fees from customers.
At this point, we recommend that Dish customers in our local markets seek out a different service. It appears that Dish is not interested in reaching a fair agreement with Scripps. With college football and the NFL season right around the corner, we do not want our viewers to miss the sports programming they care about in addition to ongoing important local news. Scripps continues to provide its local stations free over the air and through all other cable and satellite competitors and via streaming platforms like DirecTV, Hulu and YouTubeTV. Viewers can visit scrippsviewerinfo.com for more information.