I wonder how the cost-comparison is for Dish to carry local markets vs their subscriber-base VS the cost of a local channel to build/power its transmitter?
How many millions of viewers does the local station reach vs the 12%(?) market share that DISH has? How many people in the local market cannot receive the OTA signal due to the lack of the proper outdoor mast mounted antenna?
DISH comes along and offers to help the station distribute their signal to their entire market and their thank you is a per subscriber bill from the station?
Local stations put a lot of money into their tower & transmission equipment... and their only source of revenue is from the programming they carry and commercials. OTA stations don't charge their viewers (for the purposes of this argument, PBS is being ignored since they are privately funded and do solicit viewer donations)...
Local stations can make money off of the programming they produce, and from commercial sales/underwriting. And now they have added reselling their signal to cable/satellite to their ways of making money.
Perhaps the local stations should just say no ... absolutely NO retransmission of their signals whatsoever. See how they survive without the audience cable and satellite providers give them. Especially in a market where the other stations have said yes and subscribers can more easily watch competitive programming.
So I don't discount the cost to Dish to retransmit locals... but how does that cost compare to the cost the local station has to exist?
The cost to the local station is there with or without DISH carriage. It doesn't cost the station any more to be carried on DISH ... other than what they pay their lawyers and negotiators to argue over the contract.
[W]ithout Raleigh, NC LiLs in my DMA nobody here would sign up for Dish and get a Hopper and lose their OTA networks if Dish didn't have the LiLs.
I had DISH for a couple of years before my locals were added. And while I could receive some of the signals OTA (analog) I found the DISH interface more convenient and didn't watch the locals. Getting added to DISH increased those station's reach. Once they showed up in the guide I watched them.
And now with the Hopper automatically recording the big four I'm watching more of the local stations. It certainly sounds like a win for the local stations to be part of the DISH lineup and available on the Hopper. Yet they also want cash or other payment.