ENGLEWOOD, CO - A recent dispute between Gannett Broadcasting Inc. and DISH Network may cause news viewers around the country to lose access to their programming.
According to a news release from DISH, Gannett is threatening to block programming unless DISH pays penalties or ends access to their new feature that allows viewers to skip commercials.
AutoHop, the new feature, is also available on DISH Whole-Home DVR's, and Gannett wants the feature disabled on those devices as well.
Gannett is demanding penalties and changes that could amount to a 300 percent rate increase, according to DISH. These increases could cause DISH customers to pay higher monthly fees.
Gannett has reportedly refused offers from DISH which state that they will be willing to pay Gannett market rates and an extended contract that allows viewers to continue to watch Gannett programming amidst the dispute.
These initial offers would have included an increase of more than 200 percent.
DISH believes their offer with Gannett is "fair," as they have previously negotiated rights and agreements with broadcasters involved with their 1,700 available nationwide channels.
"DISH has delivered innovation to improve upon technology that has been in the viewers' hands for decades. Viewers have been skipping commercials in the privacy of their own homes for generations," said Dave Shull, DISH senior vice president of programming, in a news release. "The TV industry should be doing just that, delivering innovation and viewer control. Gannett is stifling innovation and crushing customer choice and control. That's insulting to our subscribers and we won't stand for it."
The news release states that if Gannett allows the current retransmission consent agreement to expire, DISH customers in 19 major cities across the country will lost programming.
These programs include ABC, CBS, NBC and MyNetwork TV channels.
According to DISH, the AutoHop feature is an extension of their PrimeTime Anytime feature that allows viewers to record and save primetime TV programming.