Dish Network users in the Abilene area will lose access to KTXS, MeTV, and ABC38 programming soon. Reports say that the parent company of these stations, Bonten Media Group, blacked out the local channels from Dish Network in Abilene and seven other markets due to their contract expiration.
David Caldwell, who is the vice president and general manager of KTXS, said that they would eventually reach an agreement with Dish Network. He also added that both the companies renegotiate the agreements every three years. As per the agreements, cable and satellite companies can transmit the KTXS signal to their subscribers, for which, they need to pay KTXS an agreed charge for the right to transmit their signals. This price is the point of contention.
As per the news release from KTXS, they asked Dish Network for a part of the fee that they charge the customers to help KTXS pay for the local network, news, and other programs that they provide. However, Dish Network executives said that Bonten Media Group made use of channel blackout in order to “gain leverage” on the deal.
According to a news release from Dish, the broadcaster seeks “above-market rate increases nearly double the current Dish rate.” Yet again, Bonten representative told that they are asking Dish for compensation like what other satellite and cable companies offer.
“Bonten chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use innocent customers as bargaining chips” with Dish willing to grant an extension – said Warren Schlichting, Dish programming executive vice president.
Dish Network offered Bonten a short-term extension on the contract. The extension would allow users of Dish Network to access Bonten stations while the negotiations continue. Both Bonten media and Dish Network are working to resolve the issues, but this interruption of service can be long term if an agreement is not reached between Dish Network and Bonten media.
“We are actively working to negotiate an agreement that promptly returns this content to Dish’s programming lineup,” Schlicting said. The action of Bonten Media Group has affected the Dish Network subscribers in eight markets, but the users can still access the stations over the air making use of an antenna.