Latest retrans row sees Tribune black out DISH in 33 US markets | Deals | News | Rapid TV News
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After a comparative lull in their occurrence, retrans rows are back in the US as Tribune Broadcasting Company has pulled the plug on its content over the DISH satellite network.

iPad Featured programsDISH reported today that the content firm’s actions — blocking out access to 42 local channels in 33 market, and affecting viewers of stations such as ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC and MyNetwork — was ‘intentionally harming and exploiting millions of innocent consumers’ in an effort to raise carriage rates. It also accused Tribune of attempting to gain negotiating leverage for its WGN America service.

“Tribune is demanding an unreasonable rate increase for channels that are available for free over the air,” commented DISH executive vice president of programming Warren Schlichting. “Actions like Tribune’s are what drive price increases and feed customer frustration for our industry. By attempting to force bundle its cable channel with its local broadcast stations, Tribune is using local viewers as leverage to raise rates for WGN America – a channel that is in decline. Tribune is seeking a significant rate increase despite decreasing viewership and recently losing access to Cubs baseball ... Many of the shows available on WGN America are available on other channels carried by DISH. Consumers shouldn’t have to pay twice for the same programming.”

Attempting to portray itself as on the side of the viewer, and accusing Tribune of attempting to ‘use innocent consumers as bargaining chips’, DISH added that it had offered a short-term contract extension to Tribune that would include a retroactive true-up when new rates were agreed upon, and would preserve the ability of DISH customers to access the Tribune local stations while negotiations continued. This true-up, claimed DISH, would ensure that Tribune was made whole at the new rates for the period of any contract extension.

Tribune has to date yet to comment officially on the black-out