How Important Was CBS’s Carriage Deal for Dish Network?



Dish-CBS deal

In November 2017, Dish Network (DISH) signed a new multiyear licensing deal with CBS (CBS). It came after resolving its carriage dispute that led to a blackout of CBS services for three days around Thanksgiving in 2017. The TV broadcaster and satellite distributor faced a similar issue in 2014.

Dish has had similar issues with Lilly Broadcasting, which left due to the stoppage of services across Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and markets in Pennsylvania, New York, and Hawaii. The service blackouts have hurt the company’s subscriber growth and increased subscriber-related expenses.

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Dish settles carriage dispute with CBS

Dish Network, which is one of the leading satellite pay-TV operators in the United States, wasn’t willing to pay a higher price for CBS’s highly-rated flagship network and cable outlets Pop, Smithsonian Channel, and CBS Sports Network. As a result of the disagreement, Dish subscribers were denied access to CBS’s 28 local channels in 18 markets across 26 states. The dispute also brought disappointment to football fans who couldn’t watch the NFL (National Football League) game on Thanksgiving Day.

CBS channels are the most viewed

CBS claims it is asking for the same retransmission fees from Dish as it seeks from other distributors. CBS believes it should get a better price for its programming since CBS is the highest viewed network of any other offered by Dish. It’s worth noting that Dish regularly pays higher fees for Walt Disney’s (DIS) ESPN.

CBS’s chief financial officer Joe Ianniello stated in an August call that “CBS, as a stand-alone network, generates over 10% of the total ratings across the entire television landscape, including all of cable and broadcast.”


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