The deals were a long time coming considering that Dish Network and Turner Broadcasting ended a month-long blackout of the programmer’s channels in November. Following temporary extensions of the carriage pacts that expired last year, the companies said today that Dish will continue to offer Time Warner’s Turner channels and HBO via “separate distribution agreements” that involve “multiple platforms.”
The wording of the brief statement suggests that Dish and HBO have found a way to complement each other’s streaming services: Dish’s $20-a-month Sling TV and the soon-to-launch HBO Now. The pacts also ensure that Dish’s 14 million satellite TV customers won’t miss NCAA Final Four matches this weekend on Turner’s TNT and truTV.
Turner channels, except for TBS and TNT, went dark on Dish for a month beginning in late October as both sides blamed the other for the breakdown in negotiations to extend their carriage deal. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen gave Turner an ultimatum that if it could not come to terms by the end of November, then Dish might “just make a long-term decision to go a different direction.” He called the loss of the channels– including CNN, Cartoon Network, and truTV — a “non-event” for Dish, specifically noting that channels such as CNN “are not quite the product that they used to be. You can imagine: CNN down on Election Night would have been a disaster 15 or 20 years ago. Now there are plenty of other places for people to get news.”
But Ergen acknowledged in February that the loss of the Turner channels had hurt Dish’s year-end quarter.