Dish, Hearst TV reach agreement to restore programming

by Reuters
Wednesday, 9 April 2014 18:11 GMT

(Updates to reflect Hearst and Dish reach deal to restore programming)

April 9 (Reuters) - Hearst TV said on Wednesday it signed an agreement with Dish Network Corp ending a blackout that affected Dish subscribers who could not see programs from ABC, NBC and CBS broadcast affiliate stations in 25 markets.

"We appreciate the support and patience of our viewers, advertisers and local communities served by our stations," Hearst said in a statement.

"We regret the inconvenience they've experienced over the past several hours. We are pleased the interruption was brief."

Dish subscribers in markets including Baltimore, Boston and New Orleans could not view programs from various affiliates on Tuesday night.

Dish did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

The standoff is one of many as cable and satellite providers haggle with network TV and other content owners over the price of carrying a channel.

Hearst did not disclose if the contract dispute was over something known as retransmission fees, a term used to describe what satellite and cable providers pay local TV stations and media companies such as Viacom to carry channels.

On Tuesday Dish executive Dave Shull said in statement that Hearst had blacked out its channels on Dish as a "bargaining chip."

Dish is pushing for congressional members in Washington to consider changing legislation regarding retransmission fees.

On Wednesday, The Weather Channel and Dish rival DirecTV ended nearly a three-month dispute where DirecTV subscribers could not view the channel.

Hearst owns 29 local TV broadcast affiliate stations. Walt Disney owns ABC and Comcast owns NBC. (Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Diane Craft)

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