Dish Network Vs Gannett: Deadline Extended
DISH Network and its customers were looking at a blackout of Gannett's local TV feeds at midnight, Sunday, October 7th if the two companies were unable to agree on a deal, but Reuters is reporting
that both parties have agreed to extend the cutoff by several hours.
Updated: Dish Network and Gannett reach Renewal Agreenent
A blackout could affect DISH customers in as many as 19 cities across the United States, including Washington and Atlanta, resulting in the removal of 22 local TV stations
. Discussions have been ongoing for days, however, with Gannett requesting that DISH to remove an ad-skipping feature and asking for a 300 percent increase in broadcast fees.
The new "AutoHop" ad-skipping feature implemented on Hopper digital video recorders is complicating the contract renewal agreement according to Gannett, since it provides subscribers with the ability to skip commercials on programming. Gannett argues that this new technology goes against their ad-based business model and consequently would require a fee increase of 300% to compensate for losses in advertising revenues. DISH reportedly responded that consumers have always had the choice to watch what they want, and that AdHop is simply providing them with a means to do that.
DISH responded that Gannett's retransmissions demands would result in much higher fees for customers. Dave Shull, one of DISH's senior vice-presidents, said that his company already agreed to a 200 percent fee increase, "but Gannett wants money on top of that for the expressed reason that our customers have access to AutoHop. We will continue to take a stand for customer choice and control." The VP also said that this issue goes beyond economics and touches on customers' rights.
Media analysts have speculated that DISH is probably going to cave in, and that an increase in subscription fees is likely to occur sometime in 2013, the first increase of this kind since January 2011. DISH has already agreed to various fee increases with other programmers during 2012, although the company has not specified whether or not they are discussing a price increase with Gannett at this time. DISH is currently on a 2-year price freeze, which expires in January 2013. The company had previously expressed concerns about losing pay-TV customers if prices continue to rise.