Dish Network, Nexstar Settle Yet Another Dispute But More To Come
Dish Network and Nexstar Broadcasting, the owner of WOOD-TV 8 and WOTV 41 and a couple of other channels seen locally, have settled their most recent carriage dispute. The announcement made a few minutes past midnight on Christmas morning, which made the Today Show and NBA basketball available to local subscribers on Christmas Day. In addition to the two network affiliates, locally, this returned WXSP-TV Ch. 15 and national channel, WGN America, to Dish and to Sling, the streaming version of Dish Network.
These type of carriage disputes are happening all the time now, and don't expect them to stop happening anytime soon. What was a bit shocking when some two decades ago, Charter kept WOOD-TV and the Super Bowl off local TV sets, now, all this is taken in stride and has become commonplace. Dish Network dropped Fox Sports Detroit from its lineup a year ago, and with it disappearing from the on screen channel lineup, it appears there are no plans to return it (though as one expert told me privately, that can change in a matter of minutes). WWMT's parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, now owns numerous regional sports networks, including Fox Sports Detroit, all over the country, and just recently Hulu dropped Sinclair's RSNs from their live TV lineup.
There are numerous moving parts in all these disputes, and the players all have different issues to sort out as the marketplace keeps changing. Cord cutters are one factor providers are dealing with, while rights deals with sports league continue to get more expensive, and at the same time, Sinclair is putting together a stand alone direct to consumer streaming option, and specific to the Dish-Nexstar dispute, there's also Nexstar's need for WGN America to be available, as they've sunk a lot of money into a national newscast that is current attracting minuscule viewership. While the pandemic has more people watching TV, even the low cost streaming options have mostly gone north of $50 per month and many aren't all that cheaper than traditional cable, which for many was the point to begin with, to save money on their television entertainment options.