Sinclair warns Dish Network will likely drop over 100 local channels

(Image: Sinclair Broadcasting Group/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

The Sinclair Broadcast Group on Monday announced satellite service Dish Network would likely drop more than 100 local channels by next Monday.

The move comes after Sinclair said it was unable to reach a new agreement with Dish Network that allows the satellite company to re-transmit 102 Sinclair-owned ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and other stations to its customers.

“We have tried unsuccessfully to reach fair and customary terms with Dish Network for the renegotiation of our retransmission consent,” David Gibber, a Sinclair lawyer, said in a statement on Monday. “Given the status of these negotiations, we feel it is important to alert Dish Network subscribers to the real risk that some of their favorite stations will no longer be available through Dish Network.”

If the two companies are unable to reach a deal by next Monday, Dish Network would likely be forced to remove Sinclair’s local stations from its satellite service and companion streaming service Sling TV. The move would also affect Sinclalr’s national sports network Tennis Channel, the company said.

On-demand programming offered by local network affiliates owned by Sinclair would also be impacted, the company said, though most of this programming is widely available on streaming services that are independent of the two companies.

Once a rare condition, carriage disputes involving cable and satellite companies are becoming more common as pay TV distributors attempt to thwart higher programming fees imposed by companies like Sinclair.

Those higher fees ultimately lead to bigger bills for customers, which ultimately drives customers away from cable and satellite toward cheaper streaming options.

Dish Network has been one of the more-aggressive pay television services to opt for temporary blackouts of local and national channels as they work to negotiate conditions that are more favorable to customers.  Over the last few years, the satellite company has pulled several regional sports networks, including more than two dozen Fox Sports-branded networks acquired by Sinclair, as it sought to avoid higher fees.

Sinclair says its television channels will continue to be available, for now, through other services. Local stations in most markets can also be received with a free, over-the-air antenna.

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