Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dish vs. Gannett: Local TV Blackout Looms As Providers Fight Over Fees

Dish vs. Gannett: Local TV Blackout Looms As Providers Fight Over Fees

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A dispute over fees threatens to leave more than 2 million Dish subscribers in 19 cities without access to local television stations owned by Gannett just as the fall TV season is starting.

Dish Network Corp. claims Gannett Co. is asking for a 300 percent increase in fees for the right to carry 22 Gannett stations affiliated with NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. Gannett says it's seeking a fair deal in line with market rates.

The two sides are also fighting over Dish's new digital video recorder, the Hopper, which allows customers to automatically skip commercials from the previous night's prime-time broadcasts. After consumers switch on the service, their playback of recorded programming from the four network broadcasters excludes the advertisements that were recorded. The ad-skipping doesn't work for live television.

Gannett argues the technology disrupts its business model and requires higher fees to compensate it.

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