The dispute between Tribune Media and Dish has entered eighth week now, and the absence of The CW and Fox channels for some Dish Network users has not made much impact on Tribune Media Company. However, reports say that things are nearing a final arbitration now.
“We’re working every day to try to reach that agreement. We have historically had a very good relationship with DISH and they are an important player in today’s television ecosystem. They serve a largely underserved constituency, and they really do help to keep the marketplace competitive,” Tribune’s CEO Peter Liguori said.
“We continue negotiating with DISH using fair market goalposts and we’re very hopeful that we can come to an agreement soon for the sake of DISH’s subscribers and our audiences,” he added.
Liguori further said that the upcoming football season may help them accelerate to get a deal with Dish Network. The contract between Dish and Tribune expired on 12 June, and Tribune stopped broadcasting their channels in thirty-three markets for Dish users since then. Tribune owned channels, KWGN and KDVR, are also among the ones that blacked out from Dish Network channel guide.
Dish CEO, Charlie Ergen said in a press release that they are prepared to face negotiations stalls and blackouts. He said that Dish Network is okay to live without these channels, and commented that the dispute is over pricing. Tribune channels went dark in June and Dish offered their customers free antennas to access the local channels over the air, and without any additional charges.
Ergen said that Dish cannot afford to invest in users who cost more than what they are worth of. “It doesn’t make sense to invest in a customer if we don’t get a return,” he said.
Dish lost 281,000 users in the second quarter and part of this decline is blamed on Tribune blackouts. However, Ergen said that the competition from streaming services has led to the decline of subscribers. Whatever the reason be, Dish Network would not want to carry on with disputes with channels for any further loss.