Dish Network subscribers don’t have to worry about losing about 70 Media General-owned stations in 48 markets. The companies just agreed on a new carriage deal following weeks of extensions in their talks to replace the arrangement that expired last night.
No word about the terms. But Media General says that it “has successfully negotiated agreements with hundreds of pay-TV providers over the past year, and we believe that our agreement with Dish is one that recognizes the essential value of our content.”
Last week the broadcaster urged viewers to call Dish and lobby for an agreement, warning of that some stations could go dark on the system.
Dish responded with a web post saying that it did not understand why Media General was involving customers since negotiations “regularly happen right up to the deadline and more often than not they are settled without issue.”
There’s little love between Dish and Media General. Last month the No. 2 satellite company urged the FCC to reject Nexstar’s agreement in January to pay $4.6 billion cash and stock for Media General.
The combo would “control the highest number of the Big-4 local broadcast stations in the country and have the power to threaten service blackouts to millions of consumers if any pay-TV distributor tries to hold the line on retransmission consent fees.”
It added that Nexstar and Media General “have a history of using consumers as pawns” in retransmission disputes by taking down programming “to the detriment of the consumers they are supposed to serve.”
Media General stations in 17 markets went dark on Dish for 46 days in 2013.