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Dish, Gannett reach agreement over TV fees

McLEAN, Va. — Dish and Gannett said Monday that they have reached an agreement in a fee dispute that had threatened to leave more than 2 million Dish subscribers in 19 cities without access to local television stations owned by Gannett.

The companies didn't give further details in announcing their long-term agreement. The old deal had expired early Monday.

Dish Network Corp. had claimed that Gannett Co. was asking for a 300 percent increase in fees for the right to carry 22 Gannett stations affiliated with NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. Gannett has said it was seeking a fair deal in line with market rates.

The two sides also fought 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.

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.

Gannett's stock fell 21 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $18.20 in afternoon trading Monday. Dish's stock fell 11 cents to $32.01.

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