Ah, the start of holiday season. Time for turkey and trimmings … and TV carriage disputes.
CBS and Dish Network are the latest sparring partners in an increasingly fraught pay-TV distribution landscape unsettled by cord-shaving and multiplying entertainment options. Both companies warned today that if they can’t reach an agreement by tonight, CBS programming will go dark at 10:59PM PT. That news would hit football fans especially hard, given the network’s Thanksgiving weekend of action, include the Los Angeles Chargers-Dallas Cowboys game on Thursday, SEC college games Friday and Saturday and an NFL doubleheader on Sunday.
CBS said it has tried “for months” to close a distribution deal with Dish. “Now, as the deadline nears, Dish appears willing to drop the most-watched television network with the most-popular programming in its entire channel lineup because of the company’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair deal, which other video distributors have struck with CBS,” the company said in a statement.
Dish countered with a statement assuring customers that “we are actively working to reach a fair deal before the contract expires.” The company added that it has reached terms with several programmers in recent months. “We are unsure why CBS decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”
CBS said the satellite distributor has “deprived its subscribers of nearly 400 stations since 2013″ and is “infamous within the media industry for its long history of disputes with its content providers.”