LIN Stations Go Dark On Dish [Multichannel News]
Over the weekend, LIN Media pulled its broadcast channels from Dish’s network because the two companies failed to reach an agreement on increases in retransmission consent fees. It’s a story that unfortunately has become all too familiar over the past couple years.
LIN Media owns more than 24 stations in 17 markets, ranging geographically from Albuquerque to Buffalo, which Dish customers now are no longer able to view. Within Insight's footprint, one station affects customers in the Columbus, OH market.
Both companies have issued the usual accusatory statements - Dish saying that LIN is asking for an exorbitant increase and LIN insisting they only want "fair" compensation - while Dish customers are left in the dark.
Just last week the FCC voted to begin a rule making on retransmission consent - rules that govern the process by which cable and satellite providers include broadcast channels on their lineups. The Commission is considering eliminating restrictions on providers carrying out-of-market broadcast stations during a dispute and strengthening how it defines good faith negotiations between providers and broadcasters. Both measures could help to bring some sanity to this process for consumers.
As I've said before, under the current rules, broadcasters frequently use their programming monopoly as leverage to ask for double and triple digit percentage increases in retrans fees While the FCC will seek to tighten the rules surrounding retransmission consent negotiations, some stakeholders claim the agency lacks the jurisdiction to intervene. Unfortunately, the FCC has just begun considering these changes, and the current retransmission rules do nothing to protect Dish viewers from this blackout.