LOS ANGELES (AP) — A dispute over fees threatens to leave more than 2 million Dish subscribers in 19 cities without access to local television stations owned by Gannett just as the fall TV season is starting.
Dish Network Corp. claims Gannett Co. is asking for a 300 percent increase in fees for the right to carry 22 Gannett stations affiliated with NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. Gannett says it's seeking a fair deal in line with market rates.
The two sides are also fighting over Dish's new digital video recorder, the Hopper, which allows customers to automatically skip commercials from the previous night's prime-time broadcasts. After consumers switch on the service, their playback of recorded programming from the four network broadcasters excludes the advertisements that were recorded. The ad-skipping doesn't work for live television.
Gannett argues the technology disrupts its business model and requires higher fees to compensate it.
The companies' existing deal expires at midnight Mountain time on Sunday. Dish has its headquarters in Englewood, Colo. Gannett, which is based in McLean, Va., owns such stations as KUSA-TV in Denver, WXIA-TV in Atlanta and WUSA-TV in Washington. The only Gannett station excluded from the dispute is one in Flagstaff, Ariz., which merely retransmits the feed of another station.
Dish CEO Joe Clayton said the complaint about the Hopper is unfounded partly because a "very small percentage" of its customers currently have one. Most local stations' advertisements also fall outside the four hours of prime-time programming on weeknights from broadcast networks that would be impacted by the technology, he said. Dish has not enabled its auto ad-skipping service for other channels or during other times.
"They want to charge a fee for us to allow consumers to skip their own commercials," Clayton said in an interview.
Gannett expects that use of the device will grow over time.
Starting Thursday, it began warning customers that Dish subscribers may lose access to the channels.
"Gannett has never had a service disruption with a major TV provider and we hope we do not face that situation with Dish," Gannett said in a statement.
In June, broadcast signals from several TV stations owned by Dallas-based Hoak Media were temporarily blacked out to about 450,000 Dish subscribers in a similar dispute that Dish said was focused on the Hopper.
A federal court in New York is handling a lawsuit brought by broadcasters including CBS Corp., which argue that the Hopper technology violates its licensing agreements. Gannett is not a party in that lawsuit.
<a href="http://masterbaitonline.com/" target="_hplink">Master Bait and Tackle</a> on Florida's Gulf coast isn't the only bait shop to play on the "master bait"/"masterbate" homophone; <a href="http://www.masterbaitersfishing.com/" target="_hplink">Master Baiter's Sportfishing & Tackle</a> in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico does too. With taglines like "You can't beat our boat!" and "We won't jerk you around," both clearly know what they're going.
Another theme emerges. As with "therapist," we recommend avoiding the word "scrap" in URLs. This one for information technologies company is suppose to read "<a href="Itscrap.com" target="_hplink">IT Scrap.</a>"
This <a href="http://whorepresents.com/" target="_hplink">database of "entertainment industry contacts"</a> sounds like it's involved in an entirely different industry.
The website for the law firm reads, "[i]n other news, it has come to our attention that the domain name '<a href="http://www.ferrethjobs.com/" target="_hplink">FerrethAndJobs.com</a>' may be misread by some." And how. The lawyers have since shortened the name to FerrethJobs.com, but that awkward motto -- "Is your business in the right hands?" -- remains.
You'd think Dickson, which manufactures data recorders for temperature and humidity, would be a bit more web-savvy than to choose such an unfortunate name. Since registering dicksonweb.com, they've cleaned up the double entendre to <a href="http://www.dicksondata.com/" target="_hplink">dicksondata.com</a>.
Maybe this isn't a bad URL. We wager you'd never remember the name of <a href="http://www.penisland.net/" target="_hplink">a pen retailer</a> if it wasn't a double entendre.
This <a href="http://potsofart.com/" target="_hplink">U.K.-based ceramics studio</a> was trying to play on the phrase "lots of arts" with its name.
That last part of this <a href="http://actionpaintballsac.com/home.html" target="_hplink">Paintball excursion site's URL</a> alludes to probably the WORST part of the body you'd ever want shot with a paintball.
Choosing pain is not what most of us usually do on vacation, despite the suggestion of <a href="http://www.choosespain.com/" target="_hplink">this holiday booking site</a>.
Though Siteopia <a href="http://www.siteopia.com/blog/some-funny-some-crazy-and-some-just-plain-wrong-domain-names" target="_hplink">catalogues</a> this site for a California therapist database as an awkward domain name, a search for "<a href="Therapistfinder.com " target="_hplink">Therapistfinder.com</a>" will redirect you to Counselingcalifornia.com. Seems like someone at the company wised up.
Again, we see <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrIpPqcln6Y" target="_hplink">shades of <em>Arrested Development</em>'s Tobias Fünke</a>.
If only apostraphes were allowed in URLs, country cabin spot <a href="Oldmanshaven.com " target="_hplink">Old Man's Haven</a> would have a perfectly acceptable domain name.
As far as connotations go, it's probably not great that <a href="Ladrape.com" target="_hplink">La Drape International Limited</a> in England happens to make bed covers.
Ugh. <a href="Teacherstalking.org " target="_hplink">This site for teachers who'd like to improve their French or Spanish-language skills</a> should really get a new URL.
Admittedly, many <a href="Mp3shits.com" target="_hplink">mp3s you can buy online</a> are kinda crappy.
The <em><a href="Wintersexpress.com" target="_hplink">Winters Express</a></em>, a Winters, Calif.-based newspaper, doesn't have the most URL-friendly name.
Bet you never knew.
Get your mind out of the gutter. Analemma <a href="http://www.thefreedictionary.com/analemma" target="_hplink">means</a> a "graduated scale in the shape of a figure eight, indicating the sun's declination and the equation of time for every day of the year and usually found on sundials and globes." <a href="Analemma.org" target="_hplink">It's a website about science</a>.
<a href="Nobjs.org" target="_hplink">North of Boston Jewish Singles</a>, please choose a different acronym.
<a href="http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/boscage#English" target="_hplink">Boscage</a>, which in both English and French refers to a small forest, doesn't do well with the French article "les" put in front of it <a href="Lesbocages.com" target="_hplink">in a domain name</a>.
Yet more proof that "therapist" is a difficult word to include in a URL.