CBS and Dish Network Finish Negotiations


After months of unresolved negotiations, CBS and Dish Network have finished arguing and finally reached a resolution. Although exact terms were not disclosed, Dish Network and CBS came to an agreement that Dish will carry all networks owned by CBS.

Many Dish subscribers experienced a 12 hour blackout of all CBS programming in 14 markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. The blackout occurred in the evening when the network’s top programming, including number one show NCIS and The Big Bang Theory, was scheduled to air. In some markets, viewers lost programming from the CW, the sister network.  Luckily for Dish subscribers, the blackout ended before the network was scheduled to air a championship SEC (Southeastern Conference) football game between Missouri and Alabama.

Some cable providers have maintained steady revenues with little to no increase, but many have reported a decrease. Internet usage is up, while cable viewing is down. Viewers have been spending less time watching traditional television and more time using other subscription services to view their favorite content.

Tensions have been getting higher between networks and cable providers as viewers having been watching more programming online and on mobile devices. Networks are not oblivious to the changing viewing trends. They are, however, trying to capitalize on the changes and provide value in the content they offer.

Networks are fighting to keep rights to their programming and charging higher licensing fees to the cable and telecom providers, who in turn claim the customer is the one getting hurt by the cost increase. Negotiations were in a holding pattern between the two companies because both sides could not agree on terms and fees.

Dish is also planning to launch an online only option for their subscribers, but their agreement does not give them carte blanche to overuse of the network’s programming in their online offering. They will, however, have the rights to include all Showtime programming in their service.

The network has launched its own subscriber-based online service called CBS All Access. For a monthly fee of $5.99 a subscriber has access to all live CBS programming as well as on-demand content.

There was also controversy with Dish’s famed Hopper DVR-style device that allows users to skip forward in programming. Most networks have been selling time to advertisers based on a seven-day model, wherein a fast forward function would be disabled. CBS and Dish Network finished their negotiations and came to a licensing agreement that would be mutually beneficial.

In Dish’s negotiation, they agreed that Hopper would be disabled for the first seven days of any given program’s initial airing. Walt Disney, Co. recently negotiated made a similar agreement with Dish to disable that feature for three days. They agreed to license their programming to Dish.

After months of uncertainty, a blackout, and long negotiations, CBS and Dish Network reached an agreement and finished negotiations. Although the exact terms have not been disclosed, Dish will pay the carriage fees as requested by CBS and in return will carry all CBS programming in all markets where it is available.

By Kerri Cushna


New York Times

Photo by Jim Ellwanger – Flickr License