After a long and drawn out process and high-stakes battle that saw a six-week blackout period, The EW Scripps Company has revealed that it has now successfully concluded its three major cable and satellite distribution contracts of 2020 with satellite provider The DISH Network.
The battle began as long as ago as March 2020 with the two parties aiming to, in the words of Scripps, reach a new contract agreement with DISH that includes fair and reasonable terms for both parties. However, by 25 July no such agreement was in place and as a result local television stations in 42 US markets owned by Scripps were no longer accessible for DISH subscribers. Since launching its first TV station in 1947, Scripps had never gone dark with a pay-TV distributor.
“DISH’s refusal to negotiate to a fair agreement is preventing its customers from accessing pressing news during a global pandemic, a period of social unrest, an active political year and severe weather season for many parts of our country,” said Brian Lawlor, president of local media for Scripps, as the screens went dark. “Our impasse, after five months of discussions, is not about the rates DISH pays us but their inability to agree on other distribution terms.”
However, Scripps has now concluded its negotiation with DISH on 6 September with services now restored to subscribers in the 42 markets. The new retransmission consent agreement contracts cover 42% of Scripps’ pay-TV households.
“The successful completion of these deals is an affirmation of the effectiveness of Scripps’ strategy to create a more economically durable portfolio with the doubling of our TV station footprint last year through the acquisition of 27 local stations,” said Adam Symson, Scripps president and CEO, commenting on the new deal.