Washington—Dish Network, the satellite TV provider, is telling the Federal Communications Commission that large cash demands by TV stations could lead to carriage disputes early next year on the eve of the transition to all-digital broadcasting.
“Broadcasters are seeking exponentially large increases in per-subscriber costs: demands are often for increases of over 200 percent of current rates," Dish Network said in an Aug. 27 filing at the FCC.
Dish Network officials met with aides to FCC chairman Kevin Martin on Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 to urge the agency’s adoption of a so-called quiet period in which TV stations would remain on cable systems and satellite TV platforms around the time of the Feb. 17, 2009 digital TV transition.
Key members of the National Association of Broadcasters have proposed a one-month quiet period, from Feb. 4, 2009 to March 4, 2009. Dish Network, agreeing with the cable industry, said the quiet period should begin before thousands of TV station carriage agreements expire on Dec. 31, 2008.
“Starting a quiet period later than December would be pointless because programming would already be dropped and the harm done. Programming cannot be added back in February absent a new carriage deal,” Dish Network said.
Dish Network, with 13.8 million subscribers nationally, provides local TV signals in about 175 markets.