Nearly a year to the day after blacking out DirecTV (NYSE: T) in a retrans dispute, Cordillera Communications has taken 18 of its channels in 11 markets off Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH).
"With Dish willing to grant an extension and a retroactive true-up on rates, Cordillera had nothing to lose and consumers had everything to gain by leaving the channels up," said Warren Schlichting, Dish executive VP of programming, in a statement. "Instead, Cordillera is using innocent consumers as bargaining chips by blacking them out from a marquee sporting event, the NFL Wild Card playoffs, and turning its back on its public interest obligations. Cordillera is running the same play it's used with multiple major pay-TV providers in recent years."
Responded Cordillera President Terrance Hurley in a statement posted on the station group's website: "Cordillera is committed to working 24/7 to continue negotiations with Dish Network. Unfortunately, Dish Network has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Cordillera, even as we offer terms similar to those of existing agreements with every other cable and satellite provider."
For its part, Dish used the impasse to rhetorically plug for broadcast retransmission reform in Washington.
"Cordillera's decision to cut ties with Dish customers is a prime example of why Washington needs to stand up for consumers and end local channel blackouts," said R. Stanton Dodge, Dish executive VP and general counsel. "Broadcasters like Cordillera use their in-market monopoly power to put profits ahead of the public interests they are supposed to serve."
On Jan. 12 of 2015, DirecTV announced a deal that restored 10 Cordillera stations to its program guide after a 10-day blackout.
- read this Dish press release
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