With the blackout of 33 Hearst TV affiliates in 26 markets on Dish Network reaching the one-week mark, Warren Schlichting, Dish executive VP of programming, shot a two-minute video essentially telling Dish customers in Hearst markets that Hearst executives have walked away from the negotiating table.
“It takes two willing parties to negotiate, and we’re the only ones at the table,” Schlichting said.
He reminded viewers that Hearst also blacked out DirecTV in January. Dish, Schlichting said, had proposed taking the same broadcast retransmission rental terms DirecTV agreed to in order to resolve the blackout, but Hearst hasn’t responded to the offer.
Schlichting also said that Hearst is seeking to double its retrans fees over the last contract.
“Imagine if you had one gas station in town, and they suddenly doubled the price of gas,” the Dish executive said, ramping up the rhetoric.
Separately, as this video showed, Dish has apparently been running propaganda videos on the sides of trucks, seeking to message the viewing public about retrans fees.
Reached for comment, Hearst representatives had no comment beyond the statement released on Hearst station websites on Tuesday.
“Our negotiating team has been ready and available around-the-clock to engage in substantive negotiations with Dish Network," Hearst said.
For their part, Hearst officials could also remind viewers that Dish has had two retrans battles that have resulted in blackouts already this year, with Gray Television and Bonten Media.