After a three-day blackout, CBS and Dish Network settled their carriage fee dispute by agreeing to a new distribution deal, restoring CBS and CW signals to millions of Dish customers across the country who went without CBS football on Thanksgiving.
As most knowledgeable industry hands had predicted, the Thanksgiving holiday did not end before Dish Network and CBS announced they had reached a new retransmission consent and program distribution agreement.
The CBS and CW local broadcast stations owned by CBS, as well as the CBS controlled Smithsonian Channel, the CBS Sports Network, and Pop (formerly the TV Guide Channel), returned to the DBS service shortly after.
CBS and Dish Network did not announce the terms of their new agreement, but based on previous deals it is likely for another three years and included a retrans fee price increase close to what CBS was demanding.
CBS owns broadcast stations in most of the nation’s largest TV markets. The network owns eight CW stations.
In a statement announcing the new deal Thanksgiving night, CBS said, “We are pleased we have reached a deal with Dish [Network], who recognizes the value that the number one network brings to viewers in these markets. Dish [Network] customers will continue to get CBS’ must-have content, while we are also able to achieve our short and long-term economic and strategic goals.”
In its statement, Dish Network said, “We are grateful to our customers for their patience this holiday week as months of work has resulted in a deal that delivers CBS [to Dish Network subscribers] for years to come.”
The announcements by both companies did not mention Dish Network’s Sling TV on-line video service.
That offering is the only high-profile, front-line on-line video service with no CBS local stations.
The CBS-Dish Network impasse featured the typical missives from each blaming the other for viewers losing CBS stations.
About 12 hours before the agreement was announced, CBS distributed a statement saying the two sides “remain far apart on terms.”
CBS said it understood viewers are “rarely interested” in the positions of companies, but added, “there is one very salient data point to consider in this case: CBS has not been pulled off the air by a distributor since the last time our deal with Dish [Network] expired in November of 2014.
During this three-year period, CBS has struck dozens of deals while Dish [Network] has pulled signals of 29 other companies off the air, representing nearly 400 television stations.”
CBS admitted Dish Network had requested an extension of the expiring deal, “which is something we have done on other occasions, but only when a resolution is close. Unfortunately, that is not the case now.”
How the two companies reached an agreement less than 12 hours later, given that CBS said there were not even close on terms, was not immediately clear. Thanksgiving will fall on Nov. 26 in 2020, when in all likelihood, CBS and Dish Network will go through the same exercise.