Deal: CBS Returns To Dish Network In Wide-Ranging Rights Agreement

That was fast: About 12 hours after going dark on Dish Network, CBS-owned stations are back on as the companies disclosed that they’ve reached a multi-year deal covering carriage payments, streaming rights, and their dispute over Dish’s ad-zapping Hopper DVR. The satellite company says that it will disable the controversial AutoHop feature, which automatically speeds through commercials on recorded shows, in the first seven days after a program first airs on CBS’ stations and affiliates. The network will dismiss its suit against Dish over the matter.

Two years ago CBS chief Les Moonves threatened to take his properties off of Dish if it continued to promote AutoHop. CBS invests millions on episodes of some shows and can’t “have the people at Dish say we can pull out the ads,” he said. Broadcasters said it violated their contracts, and copyrights. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has firmly defended the AutoHop feature as a convenience for consumers, and no different than what they can do by using their remote controls to fast-forward through commercials. Still, Dish reached a similar agreement with Disney early this year, but only covering three days.

The companies did not disclose financial terms for the new agreement but say that it covers all of CBS’ stations, and cable channels including Showtime, CBS Sports Network, Smithsonian Channel,  and TVGN. Dish will have rights to Showtime VOD content, and can stream Showtime Anytime. The deal also includes “a path to over-the-top distribution of Showtime Networks,” the announcement says.

It doesn’t say whether CBS or its properties will be included on a low-cost streaming service Dish plans to offer by year-end that will include several major channels including some from Disney, Scripps Network, and A+E.

CBS President of Television Networks Distribution Ray Hopkins says the agreement “meets all of our economic and strategic objectives. Dish SVP for Programming Warren Schlichting says the company is “pleased to continue delivering CBS programming to our customers, while expanding their digital access to Showtime content through Showtime Anytime.”


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