Despite a one-day extension made in hopes they could hammer out a deal, about 17 TV stations in a dozen markets owned by Meredith Corp. went dark to Dish subscribers Tuesday, adding to a growing list of station blackouts in the past few weeks.
The Meredith stations to go dark include CBS affiliate WGCL-TV in Atlanta; Fox affiliate KPTV in Portland, Oregon; Fox affiliate KVVU in Las Vegas; CBS affiliate KPHO in Phoenix; and CBS affiliate KCTV in Kansas City. Meredith had extended its retransmission consent agreement for 24 hours on July 15. But when no deal was reached, the stations went dark to Dish customers at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on July 16.
“Meredith has been trying for months to get Dish Network to negotiate seriously and reaching a deal is our top priority,” said Meredith Local Media Group president Patrick McCreery in a press release. “We know the vital local news, emergency information, and top-rated sports and entertainment programming we provide are important to Dish’s customers, and we hope Dish will make it a priority to reach a deal too. Meredith stands ready, willing and able to reach a fair deal with Dish. Meredith has successfully completed hundreds of carriage agreements, and there is still time for Dish to reach a deal too.”
Dish could be in for the long haul, if its past behavior is any indication. The satellite company withstood a nine-month service disruption with broadcaster Univision before reaching a deal in March. And it is still wrapped in a carriage dispute with premium channel HBO, which went dark to Dish customers in November.
“To be clear, Meredith Corporation chose to black out its own viewers. We offered an extension to keep the channels up while we reach a deal, but they refused,” said Dish SVP of programming Andy LeCuyer in a press release. “Instead, Meredith chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use its viewers as bargaining chips.”
Dish is providing free antennas to customers to capture the Meredith stations over-the-air, adding that "tens of thousands" of its customers have integrated OTA antennas into their Dish set-tops, allowing them to watch broadcast programming for free. They also save $12 per month on their Dish bill by not opting for a broadcast package.
“Integrating OTA-delivered local channels can unlock $144 savings annually for Dish customers,” LeCuyer continued. “Customers will see the local channels and show information for the most popular channels in the guide on the Hopper DVR, and can watch and record local channels using their Dish remote without switching inputs on the TV. Dish doesn’t save money, but consumers can.”
This is the third retrans blackout of a major satellite carrier in the past three weeks. On May 30, 17 stations in 14 markets went dark to AT&T’s DirecTV, Uverse and DirecTV Now customers, followed by a blackout of more than 120 Nexstar Media Group stations in 97 markets to DirecTV subscribers on July 3. Yesterday (July 16), CBS warned that its 19 owned and operated stations in 14 markets could go dark to DirecTV customers on July 19 if a retrans deal isn’t reached.
Here is a full list of the Meredith stations that went dark on Tuesday:
- WGCL, Atlanta (CBS)
- KPHO (CBS) and KTVK (IND) Phoenix
- KMOV (CBS) St. Louis
- KPTV (Fox) and KPDX (MYNetworkTV) Portland, Oregon
- WSMV (NBC) Nashville
- KCTV (CBS) and KSMO (IND) Kansas City
- WFSB (CBS) Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut
- WHNS (Fox) Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina
- KVVU (Fox) Las Vegas
- WALA (Fox) Mobile, Alabama-Pensacola, Florida
- WNEM (CBS) Flint-Saginaw, Michigan
- WSHM (CBS), WGGB-DT (Fox) and WGGB (ABC) Springfield-Holyoke, Massachusetts