KHOU and DISH Finally Reach Deal, End Blackout

KHOU blacked out over the weekend before DISH and the CBS affiliate's owner finally agreed to a new contract Sunday afternoon.EXPAND
KHOU blacked out over the weekend before DISH and the CBS affiliate's owner finally agreed to a new contract Sunday afternoon.

Late last Friday night, following a few weeks of tense negotiations and a twice-extended deadline, KHOU and DISH still hadn't come to terms on a new contract, so the CBS affiliate suddenly went dark for DISH customers. But the nuclear winter did not last long. Two days later, the two media conglomerates agreed to a multiyear deal, and by Sunday afternoon all was restored and KHOU came back on the air for DISH viewers.

The new deal ends a bitter contract dispute that saw multiple deadline extensions and a few more narrowly avoided blackouts as each side pointed its finger at the other, leading to this weekend's blackout. DISH claimed Tegna, which owns KHOU and 45 other network affiliates available in DISH markets, was greedily holding out for more money, while KHOU essentially called DISH a bunch of cheapskates. 

Either way, the two billion-dollar companies used the millions of DISH subscribers like pawns, as DISH and KHOU each urged innocent citizens caught in the middle to call the other side to complain. We reported a week ago that some Houston-area DISH subscribers weren't happy, and were considering switching TV providers. It's unclear how many customers DISH lost or how many viewers turned away from KHOU as a result of the blackout, but we suspect the losses incurred are microscopic compared to the amount of money both of these companies make.

According to DISH's most recent quarterly report, the company took in nearly $4 billion in total revenue from April to the end of June alone. Over the same stretch, Tegna earned more than $1 billion in total revenue. Specific terms of the new contract were not disclosed, but according to a DISH press release, the new agreement is a multiyear deal, which means DISH subscribers won't have to go through this again until at least 2017.


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