Hearst Television pulls local channels for Dish customers

(Reuters) – Dish Network said on Friday Hearst Television removed customers’ access to 37 local channels in 27 markets after failing to reach an agreement for distribution.

The company said it had been in talks with Hearst for months to reach an agreement to keep its channels on air.

“Hearst is demanding tens of millions of dollars in rate increases that would affect customers,” Dish said, adding that Hearst expects Dish and its customers to foot the bill.

Hearst Television did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for a comment.

This comes days after Disney channels disappeared from Charter Communications’ Spectrum cable service, depriving its nearly 15 million subscribers access to the U.S. Open tennis tournament, college football and other programming.

Dish’s executive vice president Gary Schanman said, “Demanding higher rates for the same entertainment and news just doesn’t make sense, especially as Hearst’s content is widely available on other platforms.”

Dish said the move affects viewers of ABC and NBC, among other channels.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Shilpi Majumdar)

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