Dish Network and Turner Come to Terms

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After a monthlong blackout of many Turner Broadcasting channels, Dish Network has restored Cartoon Network, CNN, Turner Classic Movies and five other networks to customers line-ups. This is part of a short-term agreement between the two that have been battling over contract negotiations for a while now.

The agreement restores the Turner channels and extends the current contract for TBS and TNT, which were due end December 5. The extension allows for further negotiations between the two in order to sign a more permanent contract. If TBS and TNT would have gone dark on December 5, Dish risked losing a number customers who were already upset over the loss of CNN and the other channels a month ago.

While Turner Broadcasting and Dish Network have come to terms with each other for now, it does not mean that the channels, or others, will not go dark on customers program packages in the future. This extension, along with the extension of CBS’s contract will at least have customers happy for the time being.

The potential loss of TBS and TNT and their NBA and March Madness coverage likely would be a killing move by Dish Network. Combine that loss of sports coverage along with the chance of losing the NCAA basketball tournament and NFL games, Dish Network could have seen the end of customers signing up for service and a flood of current customers to rival DirecTV or cable television providers.

The return of favorite channels like Turner Classic Movies and Cartoon Network to 14 million customers may not save the satellite television provider. If another major blackout because of failed contract negotiations, there is a good chance that there will be a mass exodus of customers tired of the perceived games Dish seems to be playing.

Dish Network has called themselves the most affordable pay-TV option on the market. However, the company has also proved that they are the most willing in the industry to allow channels to their program line-ups to go dark.

The current extension only lasts until early 2015, so there is still a very good chance that an agreement between Turner Broadcasting and Dish will still not be reached and the channels will go dark once more. The statement announcing the restoration of service of Cartoon Network, CNN, TruTV, Boomerang, TCM, HLN, and other Turner channels and the extension for TNT and TBS was released jointly by Dish and Turner Broadcasting on Friday.

Customers should be aware that the return of the channels is not a new contract. It is just an extension of the current contract while negotiations, which have not gone well so far, between the two companies continue. On October 21 the channels from Turner went dark and both companies pointed fingers at each other, neither wanting to admit blame. It remains to be seen if Turner and Dish Network can come to terms on a new contract, or will Dish become a casualty of the television negotiation wars. After the announcement about the return of the Turner channels, CBS announced that there was no update on their current negotiations with the satellite provider.

By Carl Auer

Los Angeles Times
Denver Business Journal
CNN Money
Photo by Ruddington Photos – Flickr License