A week after facing down Sinclair Broadcast Group in a heated retransmission negotiation that involved the blackout of 129 stations, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) was sued by a single CBS affiliate in Evansville, Ind. for allegedly coming up short on retransmission payments.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado on behalf of the minority-owned broadcasting company, Bayou City, that owns the station. The suit is being publicized by the National Association of Broadcasters, which has already accused Dish in FCC filings of drumming retrans drama in order to influence ongoing changes to retransmission negotiating rules.
"This case is a result of a dispute between Bayou City and Dish stemming from Dish's disingenuous and unauthorized attempt to prorate its payments for retransmission fees owed to Bayou City and refusal to pay the actual amounts owed as per their confidential Retransmission Consent Agreements ('RCA')," the suit said.
"Based on Dish's cavalier attitude toward this Court's ruling, and obvious willingness to continue this practice, it is likely Dish is shorting other broadcasters and program suppliers across the United States in the same manner -- betting their content providers will never discover Dish's fraud."
A Dish rep has yet to respond to FierceCable's inquiry for comment.
The satellite pay-TV company appears to have successfully appealed to the FCC after Sinclair allegedly tried to strong-arm negotiations for a new retransmission deals. Dish said that Sinclair initially tried to include renegotiations for 32 stations it either co-owns or manages into the renewal talks for its own 129 stations. In addition, Dish accused Sinclair of also trying to leverage in negotiations for an undisclosed cable channel that the broadcaster either plans to launch or purchase.
Sinclair ceded on both demands, and agreed to short-term deal extensions, after Dish filed complaints to the FCC. Last week, the two companies announced that they had agreed to a deal in principle, ending a one-day blackout of Sinclair stations on Dish. However, an official agreement has not yet been announced.
- read this lawsuit
Sinclair says FCC actually 'delayed' new deal with Dish, didn't help lead to it
Dish and Sinclair agree to another short-term extension, stop mega-blackout
Amid pay-TV's biggest station blackout ever, Dish handily beat Sinclair in perception