Sept 8 (Reuters) – Dish Network (DISH.O) said on Friday U.S.-based Hearst Television removed customer access to 37 local channels in 27 markets after the companies failed to agree on distribution rates despite months of talks.
The news comes days after Disney (DIS.N) channels disappeared from Charter Communications’ (CHTR.O) Spectrum cable service, depriving its nearly 15 million subscribers of access to the U.S. Open tennis tournament, college football and other programming.
“Hearst is demanding tens of millions of dollars in rate increases that would affect customers,” Dish said, adding that Hearst expects Dish and its customers to foot the bill.
In a message to Dish subscribers, Hearst Television said, “We have made significant investments to deliver top-tier programming to our viewers and Dish is seeking the right to carry our stations at below market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable.”
It added that users may continue to receive its station for free, over the air, or by other satellite distribution, and, where available, from cable operators.
Dish’s executive vice president Gary Schanman said, “Demanding higher rates for the same entertainment and news just doesn’t make sense, especially as Hearst’s content is widely available on other platforms.”
Dish said the move affects viewers of ABC and NBC, among other channels.
Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Shilpi Majumdar and Devika Syamnath
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