Tribune Media Co (TRCO) chose to take off its television channels from Dish Network Corp’s (DISH) distribution systems across the United States on Sunday night after they failed to renew their contract, the companies said.
Dish said its customers lost access to 42 local channels in 33 markets across 34 states and the District of Columbia. Its viewers also lost access to cable channel WGN America.
“Tribune is demanding an unreasonable rate increase for channels that are available for free over the air,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish executive vice president of programming.
Tribune said Dish refused to reach an agreement based on “fair-market value” that Dish already pays other local station groups.
“We’re willing to accept the same rates for our local stations and WGN America that others are currently paying us,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Media’s senior vice president for corporate relations.
Dish said it is offering “over-the-air” antennas at no cost so that customers in affected markets can watch Tribune’s local broadcast channels for free.