Hearst Pushes Back in Dish Retrans Fight

Broadcaster says willing to talk, but Dish unwilling to budge

Several days after Dish claimed that the broadcaster refused to come to the table to negotiate a solution to its week-long retransmission consent impasse, Hearst Television denied those accusations, adding that Dish’s own stubbornness is the main roadblock to a deal.

Dish said in a video message to customers last week that it has been waiting and willing to go back to the table to hammer out a deal and bring back Hearst’s 33 stations, but the broadcaster has refused. Dish said it was willing to take a deal similar to one DirecTV reached with the broadcaster in January. That was somewhat self-serving in that given volume discounts, it is likely less than what Dish was paying previously because DirecTV has more than 20 million customers and Dish 13.7 million.

While Hearst has kept quiet after the Dish accusation, it broke its silence Tuesday in an open letter to Dish customers.

“Dish has suggested that Hearst Television has been unwilling to negotiate. This is simply untrue,” Hearst said in the letter. “As we have said to Dish all along, we remain ready and willing to conclude a deal promptly.”

Hearst added that while Dish has said it is available to talk it out, they have “refused to modify their completely off-market terms in any meaningful way. Given the foregoing and Dish’s extensive history of outages, we suspect they will employ any scheme that serves to delay meaningful discussions. While Hearst Television can’t force Dish to negotiate, we can assure you that we remain committed to reaching a fair deal, and we will work each and every day to make that happen.”