CBS Takes Programming Off Dish Network

Updated: Blackout comes after numerous extensions
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CBS said it has taken its programming off Dish Network effective at 7 p.m. ET.

“CBS has been negotiating a carriage agreement with Dish for six months and has already granted two extensions,” CBS said in a statement. “During this time, Dish has dragged its feet at our many attempts to negotiate in good faith. Behavior like this is why Dish has a long history of depriving customers of the programing they have paid for.”

The dispute affects stations in 18 markets and Dish blamed the impasse on negotiations over the CBS Sports Network. CBS-owned Showtime remains available to Dish subscribers.

In a statement that came more than an hour after CBS went off its system, Dish said: “We are disappointed that CBS has chosen to black out their local channels, but remain optimistic that the channels will return quickly as both sides are continuing to work tonight to finalize an agreement.”

CBS says it is seeking “appropriate compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world, as well as terms that reflect the developing digital marketplace.”

“We hope that we can reach an agreement very soon so we can all get back to the business of providing the best entertainment, news and sports to the Dish customers we both serve,” CBS said.

Over the weekend, Dish Network subscribers will be missing the SEC championship game in college football on Saturday and NFL football on Sunday. For weeks, CBS has been running ads warning Dish subscribers they could be losing CBS programming.

CBS and other broadcasters have been ratcheting up the fees they collect from cable operators and satellite distributors via retransmission consent. CBS recently told analysts that it expected to generate more than $2 billion a year in retrans fees from distributors and affiliates by 2020. It had previously estimated that it would have $1 billion in retrans fees by 2017, but expected to exceed that figure.

Last year CBS was off Time Warner Cable for a month just before the start of the NFL season. After an agreement was reached on terms that favored the broadcaster, Time Warner Cable revealed that it lost more than 306,000 subscribers, resulting in a major financial hit.

Dish Network has been in the middle of several contentious carriage negotiations with programmers.

Last month, Dish and Turner Broadcasting reached an extension of their carriage agreement that restored several Turner networks, including CNN and Cartoon Network to Dish customers. The network had been off the air for about a month.

The extension also included Turner’s biggest channels, TNT and TBS, and is expect to last until just before those networks will air the NBA All Star Game, the NCAA basketball tournament and the NBA playoffs.

Dish Networks deals with several regional sports networks run by Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit also expired. Those networks continue to appear under a short-term extension.

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