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Dish Goes Offensive Against Hoak Media Over Ad-Skipping, Pricing

7 Jun, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Local TV station manager disputes the issues played up in the media

Dish Network June 6 said its subscribers in six states lost programming on 14 channels operated by Dallas-based Hoak Media due to a dispute over the satellite TV operator’s ad-skipping DVR and retransmission fees.

Meanwhile, the president/GM of a Fargo, N.D., TV station affected by the dispute said the imbroglio was due to contractual language and not Dish’s Auto Hop ad-skipping DVR or a reported 200% increase in retransmission fees sought by Hoak.

“Tonight, it was Dish’s decision to take us down at 5 even though we offered them an extension,” Jim Wareham, president/GM of KVLY/KXJB told Fargo-based Inforum.com.

Englewood, Colo.-based Dish said Hoak, which operates NBC and CBS affiliates in nine markets in the Midwest, dropped service to subscribers June 6 at 5 p.m. local time.

“Hoak doesn’t respect customer control; they are telling customers they must watch commercials,” said Dave Shull, SVP of programming for Dish, said in a statement. “Channel skipping has been around since the advent of the remote control, and we think Hoak has taken an incredibly hostile stance toward their viewers.”

The Auto Hop, which allows Dish’s premium channel subscribers to voluntarily skip advertising on recorded (not live) primetime network programming, has been at the center of the controversy. Media companies have denounced the service as an affront to the TV ecosystem, while Fox and CBS have filed separate lawsuits.

Dish, in turn, has filed lawsuits against the networks, including ABC, alleging they withheld airing TV spots for the Auto Hop, among other issues.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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