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Dish Network Cuts CBS Programming For Millions In Contract Dispute

A fee dispute has left millions of Dish Network customers in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and many other cities without CBS programming on Friday evening as the two companies failed to renew a distribution agreement.

The blackout means millions of subscribers will go without programming from the number one broadcast network until a new deal is reached.Along with 14 stations that carry CBS programming, Dish Network also lost access to twelve stations owned by CBS that are affiliated with the CW Network, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Not all Dish subscribers will be affected, only those in markets where CBS owns a television station. This includes New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Boston, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Chicago. CBS stations that are owned by independent broadcasting companies will still be available.

If the blackout continues, affected subscribers will no longer be able to watch NFL football games or popular programs like The Big Bang Theory and NCIS.

CBS is seeking payment from Dish for access to programming. The company posted a message on its website to urge Dish subscribers to put pressure on Dish, Fortune reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– CBS Statement”]

CBS has been negotiating a carriage agreement with Dish for six months and has already granted two extensions. During this time, Dish has dragged its feet at our many attempts to negotiate in good faith… Call Dish to demand they give you a rebate and return your favorite programs.


Sales of digital antennas, which allow people to get over-the-air signals such as those from CBS, are predicted to increase if the outage goes on for days. Football fans are likely to be especially angry, and Dish may agree to a deal in time for the kick-off of NFL games on Sunday.

History suggests that a long blackout will hurt Dish Network more than CBS. Last year, Time Warner Cable customers in many markets went a month without local CBS stations, and Time Warner Cable lost nearly 300,000 customers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The two companies have argued over several issues, including the retransmission fees CBS collections when pay-TV providers retransmit its signal stations. Digital rights have also become an issue. Dish is planning to release a low-cost Internet streaming package, and the companies have discussed how CBS would be included. CBS All Access, meanwhile, is an online video version of the network currently available at $5.99 a month. The service is viewed by some pay-TV distributors like Dish as a threat to their business.

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