WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DISH Network L.L.C. renewed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) accusing Sinclair Broadcasting of failing to negotiate in good faith as called for by Congress. DISH accuses Sinclair of orchestrating the largest blackout in U.S. television history as a means to force DISH to carry a cable channel Sinclair hopes to acquire, but does not even own today.
On Tuesday afternoon, Sinclair blacked out DISH customer access to 129 stations serving 79 markets in 36 states and the District of Columbia as a contract extension between the two parties expired.
“We are calling on the FCC to intervene in Sinclair’s senseless blackout that needlessly punishes consumers despite an agreement on rates and all other terms for Sinclair’s local stations,” said Jeff Blum, DISH senior vice president and deputy general counsel. "Sinclair rejected every opportunity to serve viewers including our extension offer, which featured a full true-up, and has instead chosen to use innocent consumers as pawns to gain leverage for a cable channel it hopes to acquire but does not own today.”
Per DISH’s amended complaint, Sinclair has demanded that, as a condition to signing the retransmission agreement, DISH agree to terms and conditions for future carriage of a cable network that Sinclair hopes to acquire, but does not own today. DISH is contending that by forcing bundling, Sinclair’s unilateral bargaining is a per se violation of the Commission’s good faith rules and is a violation of U.S. competition law.
Amended formal complaint can be read here:
DISH is asking the FCC to immediately grant preliminary injunctive relief while the Commission considers the amended complaint, and to require Sinclair to negotiate in good faith.
DISH had first filed the Verified Retransmission Complaint August 15 originally asserting, among other things, that in direct violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules mandated by the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (STELAR), Sinclair had refused to negotiate with DISH for retransmission consent for Sinclair’s stations unless DISH also agreed to allow Sinclair to negotiate for 32 stations that Sinclair does not control and are in the same markets as Sinclair stations.
DISH also originally charged that in violation of FCC regulation, Sinclair has assumed a unilateral stance to its negotiations, including the refusal of a contract extension so the parties can explore alternative paths toward an agreement.
DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH), through its subsidiaries, provides approximately 13.932 million pay-TV subscribers, as of June 30, 2015, with the highest-quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value. Subscribers enjoy a high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels, and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 250 company. Visit www.dish.com.