Sinclair Broadcast Strikes Back at Dish Network Over Retransmission Negotiations

Dish Network Logo - P 2012

Dish Network Logo - P 2012

A day after Dish accuses Sinclair of "corporate greed," the broadcast group says the satellite TV service operates with a "flawed economic model."

A day after Dish Network trashed Sinclair Broadcast Group for its "corporate greed" in the pair's retransmission contract negotiations, Sinclair responded with a scathing missive directed at Dish.

Sinclair, which owns or services 74 TV stations including affiliates of Fox, ABC, CBS, CW and NBC, said on Tuesday that Dish is operating with a "flawed economic model" that "compensates channels with little to no audience share more than the broadcast channels."

Sinclair's contract with Dish expires on Wednesday, which could result in millions of Dish subscribers losing access to some of the most popular channels. On Wednesday, Sinclair sought to remind consumers that they could dump their Dish subscriptions and go elsewhere for those channels.

"These sources include DirecTV, at least one cable company in each market, Verizon's FiOS or AT&T's U-verse in many markets, and completely for free over-the-air," Sinclair said Wednesday. "Sinclair suggests its viewers would be better served by simply switching its video service to a provider of Dish that values Sinclair stations enough to carry them."

On Monday, though, it was Dish that came out swinging against Sinclair, inferring even that government lawmakers ought to take a look at the dispute.

"This year, broadcasting companies across the country have blacked out more than 50 channels on various pay-TV companies at various times," Dish said Monday. "An industry watchdog group, American Television Alliance, recently called for U.S. Congress to 'revamp the out of date rules' that favor those blackouts."

The press release from Dish linked to a statement in June from the American Television Alliance that says, in part, "Broadcasters increasingly hold viewers hostage by using blackouts as a retransmission consent negotiation tool." 

Also on Monday, Dish senior vp of programming David Shull said: "We carry more than 1,800 local broadcast stations nationwide. Sinclair is asking for more than any other station anywhere in the country. This goes beyond pure corporate greed -- it's profoundly insensitive to the needs of the public."