Gannett to stop broadcasting on Dish if ad-skipping feature not removed

Thu Oct 4, 2012 11:16pm EDT

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Dish Network Corp said the broadcasting arm of newspaper publisher Gannett Co Inc has threatened to withdraw broadcasting on the satellite TV provider if it does not block the commercial-skipping feature on its digital video recorders or agree to pay massive penalties.

Dish's AutoHop feature on its Hopper DVR lets customers press one button to automatically skip commercials when they are watching recorded TV shows. Dish introduced its high-definition DVR called the Hopper earlier this year.

If Gannett Broadcasting lets the current broadcasting contract expire without renewal, Dish customers in 19 cities including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Phoenix and Sacramento would lose various ABC, CBS and NBC-affiliated stations, Dish said in a statement.

"Gannett's demands translate into more than a 300 percent rate increase, which would likely result in higher monthly fees for consumers."

Dish offered to pay Gannett market rates, including an increase of more than 200 percent above current rates, and offered to extend the transmission contract during negotiations, which Gannett has refused, the No. 2 satellite provider said.

Gannett Broadcasting has worked hard to reach a fair agreement with Dish, but Dish has refused to reach a fair, market-based deal till now, Gannett said in an emailed statement.

"If Dish refuses to reach a deal before midnight, Oct. 7 Dish subscribers could lose their local Gannett station and access to some of the year's best programming," Gannett said.

Gannett said it is committed to continue negotiations with Dish till the Oct 7 deadline and that an agreement is possible.

Other cities that could be affected by a blockage are St. Louis, Little Rock in Arkansas, Tampa and Jacksonville in Florida, Macon in Georgia, Bangor and Portland in Maine, Grand Rapids in Michigan, Buffalo in New York, Greensboro in North Carolina, Columbia in South Carolina, and Knoxville in Tennessee, Dish said.

In August, Fox Broadcasting Company asked a court to put a stop to two features on Dish's new digital video recorder that let consumers skip commercials because it is hurting the TV networks' business.

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Comments (2)
Regulus wrote:
I see this “Hopper” Issue heading all the way to the US Supreme Court. We have a CLASH of freedom here, Freedom of Advertising vs Freedom FROM Advertising.

Oct 05, 2012 9:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jamesjimcie wrote:
Every Dish customer should be ashamed of both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett for this blackout that result in the viewers from being able to watch their favorite shows with Dish. I feel that both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett are trying to be way too big being like the Wal-Mart’s, Neil Bogart’s of Casablanca Records fame of the 1970′s disco era, the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s, the David Smith (one of the Smith brothers from Sinclair Broadcast Group), the Harry Pappas as part of the Pappas Telecasting Companies, the Bernard Madoff’s, the Enron’s, the Worldcom’s, the Adelphia’s, the Tyco’s, and the Martha Stewart’s, of the 2000′s by letting broadcast greed get out of control so all of the head employees and bosses at Gannett to be able to enjoy carefree lavishly spending to support carefree lavishly lifestyles with luxurious homes, luxurious jets, luxurious cars, join luxurious clubs, go to luxurious hotels, go to luxurious casinos to do gambling, and have other luxurious items just to make them very happy then trying and willingness to improve the quality of all the stations they owned and control and making the viewers happy as well. I hope and I wish that both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett get scolded by both by the ACA and the FCC for making the viewers being forced to deal with this blackout because they could not make a deal to get the stations back to it’s customers sooner and with a fair deal with Dish. I hope and I wish that both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett is barred from buying and owning anymore TV stations in the future after their final decision to remove the stations from Dish. I feel that both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett are trying to bribe like the General Tire/RKO General of the 1960′s and 1970′s by not being very honest of not only the viewers by making them miss the shows on Dish and also on themselves. I hope and I wish that the FCC would force both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett to allow Dish to carry it’s stations without any interference, in the event both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett fails to allow Dish to carry it’s stations again, then the FCC would force both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett to allow Dish to import out of market stations that are very real close to the station being blacked out being affiliated with the same network, in the event both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett fails to allow Dish to import out of market stations that are very real close to the station being blacked out being affiliated with the same network, then the FCC would allow Dish to carry the out of market station with the same affiliation without any restrictions and also be allowed to continue to carry the out of market station that it’s digital television signal is reachable by a outdoor antenna including both it’s SD and HD feeds on the Dish satellite service system even after the dispute is over without any interference for 12 whole years to meet FCC rules and regulators. I would gladly love to see that both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett to surrender, give up, and forfeit control of all the stations they owned and then the FCC would allow all the broadcasters be allowed to purchased any of the stations both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett owns and control with the broadcasters being required to make a real big concession that they would promised not to have any difficulties with all the cable and satellite operators when making deals to carry stations without any interference for 12 whole years. I wouldn’t mind me wanting either Belo, Hearst, Local TV LLC, or even Raycom buying and owning any Gannett station. I feel that both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett are way too big being way too busy being the Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe, Rebecca Black Friday, Double Take Hot Problems and Guns N Roses Axl Rose as well as trying be act like the Lyle and Erik Menendez’s as the greedy murderers, the Jeffrey Ireland’s, Patrick Jones’s, and the Lindsay Lohan’s as the drunks, the Rodney Dangerfield’s, the John Belushi’s, and the Chris Farley’s as the comedians, the John Robert Ewing’s and the Cliff Barnes’s, the Charles Montgomery Burn’s, the Homer and Bart Simpson’s, the Peter Griffin’s, the Garfield cats, the Cookie Monster’s, the Miss Piggy’s, the Victor Newman’s of the broadcasting industry of not coming to reach a deal with Dish to carry it’s stations to the viewers everyday. I feel that both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett are trying to turn into the 1919 Chicago White Sox’s baseball team and the Southern Methodist University football of the 1980′s to force Dish to accept a take it or leave it deal to carry it’s stations. I urge all of the viewers with Dish to boycott both Gracia C. Martore and Gannett right now for making the Dish viewers suffer from being able to watch their favorite shows.

The affected TV viewers with Dish could try the DTV Green dish antenna system to pick up the affected stations that are owned and maintained by Gracia C. Martore and Gannett.

Oct 05, 2012 7:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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