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TMCNet:  Fox blackout shifts to DISH Network subscribers

[November 28, 2012]

Fox blackout shifts to DISH Network subscribers

Nov 28, 2012 (Yakima Herald-Republic - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima Valley DISH Network subscribers are now the ones missing Seahawks games, "Glee" episodes and other Fox programming because of a dispute between the parent company of the local Fox affiliate and the satellite provider.

Northwest Broadcasting on Monday pulled Fox affiliates in Yakima, Tri-Cities, Spokane, Medford, Ore., and Binghamton, N.Y., from the lineup of Englewood, Colo.-based DISH Network over retransmission fees -- what DISH pays to broadcasters for their signals.

DISH Network claims that Okemos, Mich.-based Northwest Broadcasting refused to accept the same fees that it has accepted from other cable and satellite providers.

"We are disappointed that Northwest has chosen to be so unreasonable in their demands, and we hope they will begin to negotiate in more realistic terms as soon as possible, so we can bring these channels back to our customers," said Andrew LeCuyer, DISH Network's vice president of programming in a company news release.

In its own news release, Northwest Broadcasting disputes DISH Network's claim.

"The terms requested by Northwest are almost identical to those agreed to by other providers," Northwest Broadcasting said in its news release.

In an email, Northwest Broadcasting chief operating officer Jon Rand added that it was not possible for DISH Network to know how much other providers have paid: "Each of our agreements with other providers contains confidentiality clauses and unless DISH is suggesting that (its) competitors have each violated their confidentiality obligations, DISH would have no way of knowing what (its) competitors are paying." The dispute comes several weeks after Northwest Broadcasting ended two years of negotiations with rival satellite provider DirecTV that led to two blackouts, including one earlier this year.

Northwest Broadcasting said in its news release that it believed it would come to an agreement with DISH Network as well.

"The Northwest Broadcasting dispute with DirecTV earlier this year involved some of the same issues," the company said. "At the end of 10 weeks of service disruption, the two parties found common ground and DirecTV restored (the stations) to their lineup." DISH Network has had disputes with other broadcasters in the past. In December 2008, KIMA-TV, the local CBS affiliate, and other stations owned by Seattle-based Fisher Broadcasting were taken off DISH Network's lineup over a similar dispute. The channels stayed off the air for seven months before the two parties reached an agreement.

DirecTV and DISH Network have 44,173 and 49,052 subscribers, respectively, in the Yakima and Tri-Cities areas, which are considered part of the same television market, according to recent figures from SNL Kagan, a Charlottesville, Va., company that provides data and analysis on the media industry.

The two satellite providers are in more than 38 percent of all households in the two areas.

--Mai Hoang can be reached at 509-759-7851 or at maihoang@yakimaherald.com.

___ (c)2012 Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) Visit Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) at www.yakima-herald.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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