Gannett Threatens to Block DISH Customers from Local Channels
Broadcaster Demands Huge Price Increase, Mandates Commercial-Watching
Gannett Broadcasting Inc. is threatening to block DISH (NASDAQ: DISH) customers' access to Gannett's programming unless DISH agrees to pay massive penalties or stop its customers from using DISH's new commercial-skipping AutoHop™ feature.
If Gannett allows the current retransmission consent agreement to expire, DISH customers in 19 cities including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Phoenix and Sacramento would lose various ABC, CBS and NBC-affiliated stations. Also in jeopardy are the MyNetwork TV channels in Atlanta and Denver.
Gannett's demands translate into more than a 300 percent rate increase, which would likely result in higher monthly fees for consumers.
Additionally, Gannett has demanded that DISH eliminate customer-enabled commercial-skipping technology found on its Hopper™ Whole-Home DVRs or pay a massive penalty.
DISH has already offered to pay Gannett market rates, including an increase of more than 200% above current rates, and has offered to extend the contract to continue to deliver programming to DISH customers during ongoing negotiations. Gannett has refused.
"DISH has delivered innovation to improve upon technology that has been in the viewers' hands for decades. Viewers have been skipping commercials in the privacy of their own homes for generations," said Dave Shull, DISH senior vice president of programming. "The TV industry should be doing just that, delivering innovation and viewer control. Gannett is stifling innovation and crushing customer choice and control. That's insulting to our subscribers and we won't stand for it."
DISH carries nearly 1,700 local channels across the country, and DISH has negotiated new agreements with broadcasters on the rights to carry hundreds of channels this year alone. As a result, DISH knows with certainty that its offer to Gannett is fair.
Other cities that could be affected by a blockage are St. Louis, Mo.; Little Rock, Ark.; Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla.; Macon, Ga.; Bangor and Portland, Maine; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Greensboro, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; and Knoxville, Tenn.
To learn more about DISH Network's negotiations with Gannett, visit www.DISHValuePledge.com.
DISH's "AutoHop" feature is offered with the Hopper's exclusive PrimeTime Anytime™ capability, which allows viewers to choose to record the primetime TV programming on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC -- the networks that deliver some of the most popular shows during primetime.
Once the viewer enables the PrimeTime Anytime feature, and selects the network and nights to record, the Hopper stores these shows for up to eight days after they have aired making it easy to access episodes from last night, or last week.
The AutoHop commercial-skipping feature, using patented technology, works with most shows recorded using PrimeTime Anytime.
A viewer can watch a show with the AutoHop option commercial-free starting the day after a show has been recorded with the Hopper's PrimeTime Anytime capability. Prior to that, the Hopper's 30-second "hop forward" feature continues to work for same-day viewing of recorded shows.
DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH), through its subsidiary DISH Network L.L.C., provides approximately 14.061 million satellite TV customers, as of June 30, 2012, with the highest quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value, including HD Free for Life. Subscribers enjoy the largest high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels, and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation's subsidiary, Blockbuster L.L.C., delivers family entertainment to millions of customers around the world. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 200 company. Visit www.dish.com.