Dish Could Lose Gannett Broadcasting

GCI at odds with Dish's AutoHop feature

By InvestorPlace Staff

Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) has found itself in yet another channel fistfight over the Hopper.

Dish now is in a row with media titan Gannett‘s (NYSE:GCI) broadcasting division over its Hopper DVR’s ad-skipping feature, AutoHop — something that previously has beefed the chairman of Comcast‘s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC and Disney (NYSE:DIS) CEO Robert Iger.

According to Dish, Gannett said it would stop broadcasting on Dish on Sunday, Oct. 7, if the company refused to block AutoHop or pay GCI penalties. That would affect some ABC, CBS (NYSE:CBS) and NBC-affiliated stations across 19 cities.

Dish said in a statement that “Gannett’s demands translate into more than a 300 percent rate increase, which would likely result in higher monthly fees for consumers.” Dish said it offered to pay GCI an increase of more than 200% above its current rates, according to Reuters, but Gannett declined.

The fallout from a contract nonrenewal is difficult to gauge. Earlier this year, Dish Network dumped AMC — which airs hit shows like The Walking Dead and Mad Men — nationwide over a legal dispute concerning AMC’s failed HD service, Voom. Months later, however, despite fan outrage and a consistent stream of AMC pleas to viewers, the two remain at odds and AMC programming remains blacked out.

— Kyle Woodley, InvestorPlace Assistant Editor

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