With the New Year marking the end of numerous broadcast retransmission contracts, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) found itself blacked out by Rapid City, S.D., NBC affiliate KNBN-TV, while Cable One managed to come to terms with station group Nexstar.
For Dish, the KNBN blackout came just a few weeks after Lansing, Mich., ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV, owned by Shield Media LLC, blacked out the satellite operator.
"With Dish willing to grant an extension and a retroactive true-up on rates, Rapid had nothing to lose and consumers had everything to gain by leaving the channel up," said Warren Schlichting, Dish executive VP of programming, in a statement. "Instead, Rapid chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use innocent consumers as bargaining chips."
The Dish blackouts occurred as Cable One reached a deal with Nexstar Broadcasting to keep a number of key network affiliates on the air.
"We resolved this issue prior to the deadline so the channels stayed on," Cable One spokeswoman Patricia Niemann told FierceCable.
Grabbing hold of these most recent headlines, the pay-TV-backed American Television Alliance (ATA) sent out an announcement, noting that broadcasters issued operator blackouts 191 times in 2015, affecting 12 million homes.
"As the FCC continues its Congressionally mandated probe into abusive conduct that harms consumers, these broadcasters have brazenly and deliberately hijacked pay TV viewers once again and are holding their programming for ransom. These blackouts are more compelling evidence of why the FCC must act," said ATA spokesman Trent Duffy.
Dish pays off Indiana broadcaster Bayou following lawsuit over retransmission fees