CBS says it and Dish Network are far apart in terms in their retransmission-consent negotiations, which have resulted in CBS being unavailable to millions of Dish subscribers since Monday (Nov. 20) at midnight.
The dispute will hit a key moment as football games and other holiday programming get blacked out on Thanksgiving and over the weekend.
In a statement Wednesday (Nov. 22), CBS said it has not been pulled by a distributor since its last negotiation with Dish in 2014. In that time period, Dish has dropped the signals of 29 other companies.
"Clearly, pulling content providers off the air is Dish's way of doing things," CBS said in a statement. "CBS, meanwhile, has been attempting to advance discussions with Dish since January of this year. Desperate to retain subscribers, Dish suggested that the parties sign an extension, which is something we have done on other occasions, but only when a resolution is close. Unfortunately that is not the case now.”
Dish, however, said that CBS controls its signal and opted to not make it available to subscriber.
“To be clear, CBS blacked out its own viewers," Dish said in a statement. "CBS threatening families this Thanksgiving and to drag this out for weeks would be a punishment solely at the hand of CBS. It was their choice, and at this hour we continue to wait for CBS to respond to our latest offer which we gave them before they chose to black out their channels."
Dish said it offered CBS and extension while the two sides work out the dispute.
“The channels could come back today if CBS would allow it," Dish said. "We stand ready to negotiate and restore the channels immediately. On behalf of customers, we ask CBS to stop punishing its own viewers."
In its statement CBS also argued that Dish pays more for certain cable networks that have fewer viewers than CBS. It also said Dish’s complaint that CBS is also seeking carriage deals for its cable networks, including CBS Sports Network and Pop, don’t make sense because Dish carries many networks owned by companies that own broadcast networks.
“As it stands, Dish customers won’t be watching CBS in the days and weeks ahead," CBS said. "Dish is a 23 billion dollar company that clearly cares more about its profits than the consumer. And unless they move forward and negotiate the same sort of deal we have successfully struck with its competitors, Dish subscribers will not be able to see CBS’s coverage of Thanksgiving football, along with NCIS, Big Bang Theory, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and 60 Minutes. There are, of course, alternative cable, satellite and telco providers that do carry CBS, and Dish subscribers would be wise to consider switching to one of those options. In the meantime, we continue to stand ready to negotiate a fair deal with Dish.”
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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