Dish Network hasn’t responded to a Sunday night proposal Tribune made to resolve a contract dispute, the programmer says today. The impasse left about 5 million satellite customers unable to see Tribune stations, and about 7 million unable to watch WGNA.
“It has been more than 48 hours and we’ve had zero response” to a proposal made just before midnight on Sunday, Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman says. “We stand ready to negotiate, but we can’t do so alone.”
Dish says in response that Tribune rejected an offer to extend the previous contract so it could continue to offer 42 stations and WGNA while they negotiated.
“Only Tribune can cause a channel blackout,” Dish says. “Rather than continuing to negotiate in good faith, Tribune chose to remove their channels from Dish. We have yet to receive a reasonable response to our last offer.”
It added: “Rather than negotiate in the press, we suggest that Tribune respond to our last offer with a meaningful and fair offer for our customers.”
Tribune sees things differently.
“We repeatedly offered Dish an extension through the end of August, more than 60 days, for precisely this reason—they drag their feet in negotiations,” Weitman says. “Dish rejected every offer, which demonstrates a total disregard for their customers and our viewers.”
Pressure to resolve the dispute could intensify as sports fans discover the matches they may miss. This afternoon WGN carries a Chicago Cubs game with the Washington Nationals. Tribune’s ABC affiliates will have Game 6 of the NBA Finals tomorrow night. And its Fox stations will have golf’s U.S. Open this weekend.
Tribune shares are up more than 4% today while Dish’s are up 1.5%.