Hearst today released a letter from its president, Jordan Wertlieb, who says that Dish’s “lack of engagement and unwillingness to present a fair proposal suggest that Dish intends to employ their age-old strategy of a long-term impasse.”
His letter follows a Dish video, circulated last week, in which EVP Programming Warren Schlichting said that Hearst “won’t budge” and “won’t respond to our latest offer.”
That charge is “simply untrue,” Wertlieb says today. “As we have said to Dish all along, we remain ready and willing to conclude a deal promptly. In contrast, Dish has said that they’re available day and night to reach an agreement, and yet they’ve refused to modify their completely off-market terms in any meaningful way.”
The Hearst exec adds that he suspects Dish will “employ any scheme that serves to delay meaningful discussions” adding that he is “committed to reaching a fair deal, and…will work each and every day to make that happen.”
As is common in retransmission consent disputes, the broadcaster urged Dish customers to call the company and “tell them you won’t wait a day longer.”
Last week Schlichting called on viewers to “help us as we fight for you against this media conglomerate” by calling Hearst. He said that the station owner’s last offer would have doubled the price Dish paid, making Hearst “the highest paid local broadcaster” on the satellite service.
Hearst has 15 ABC affiliates and 12 with NBC along with a handful of CBS and CW outlets — many of which offer must-have NFL and other sports.
Deals today also typically involve other terms involving digital carriage. Dish owns the Sling TV live streaming service.
The companies’ previous deal expired at the end of February, but they agreed to a two-day extension.