CHICAGO, June 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 owned or operated television stations, which reach more than 50 million households across the United States, tonight were forced off Dish Network’s satellite distribution system at 7 p.m. ET, when the contract between Tribune Broadcasting and Dish expired. At the same time, roughly 7 million Dish subscribers nationwide have also lost access to WGN America, Tribune’s basic entertainment cable network and the home of hit shows “Underground” and “Outsiders.”
“We want to reach an agreement, just as we have with every one of our other cable, satellite and telco distributors, but Dish refuses to reach an agreement based on fair-market value,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Media’s senior vice president for corporate relations. “We want to keep servicing our local communities and we have repeatedly offered Dish a lengthy extension to continue negotiations—unfortunately, Dish rejected these offers.”
As a result of the expiration of the contract, Dish subscribers will lose access to the local news, weather, sports and traffic provided by Tribune television stations in 33 markets across the country. In addition, subscribers in Tribune’s CBS markets will not be able to watch the network’s broadcast of tonight’s Tony Awards, celebrating Broadway’s “Hamilton.” Subscribers in Tribune’s NBC markets will not be able to see Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, and subscribers in the company’s ABC markets will lose access to Game 5 of the NBA Finals tomorrow. DISH subscribers in New York not be able to watch Mets and Yankees games on WPIX-TV, and subscribers in Chicago will not be able to see White Sox and Cubs games on WGN-TV.
Dish subscribers nationwide have lost access to Tribune’s cable net WGN America, where such shows as “Outsiders” and “Underground” have increased the network’s total prime-time audience by more than 50 percent since last year. Both shows consistently ranked among the Top 15 scripted cable shows for the 2015-16 TV season. “Underground” was the #1 scripted cable show on Wednesday nights for six straight weeks.
“We’ve offered the same kind of fair market rates that Dish already pays other local station groups with ABC, CBS, NBC and CW affiliates with top-rated local news, and other similarly valued cable networks,” said Weitman. “At the same time, we’re willing to accept the same rates for our local stations and WGN America that others are currently paying us.”
Dish is notorious for forcing station groups and cable nets off of its distribution system; in the past three years alone, Dish has done so twelve different times.
Websites and toll free numbers in each market have been established to enable Dish subscribers to register their concern about losing their local stations (list follows).
Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) is home to a diverse portfolio of television and digital properties driven by quality news, entertainment and sports programming. Tribune Media is comprised of Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 owned or operated local television stations reaching more than 50 million households, national entertainment network WGN America, whose reach is approaching 80 million households, Tribune Studios, and Gracenote, one of the world’s leading sources of video, music and sports metadata, powering electronic program guides in televisions, automobiles and mobile devices. Tribune Media also includes Chicago’s WGN-AM and the national multicast networks Antenna TV and THIS TV. Additionally, the Company owns and manages a significant number of real estate properties across the U.S. and holds other strategic investments in media. For more information please visit www.tribunemedia.com.
SOURCE Tribune Media Company