CBS blackout means Dish customers could miss Thanksgiving NFL games
Almost 4 million subscribers to USA’s Dish Network, the satellite television service, risk being unable to watch selected NFL American football matches over the Thanksgiving period as a result of a dispute between Dish and CBS, the national network that owns local stations across the country, plus cable channels CBS Sports Network, Smithsonian Channel and Pop.
The dispute over carriage fees means that Dish customers in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami, San Francisco, Denver and other markets have been hit by a blackout of the CBS channels. A total of 28 local channels in 18 markets across 26 states are affected.
CBS, which is set to broadcast a game between the LA Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day this Thursday, said: “Dish subscribers are in jeopardy of being without CBS over the Thanksgiving holiday, which would mean they would miss CBS Sports' NFL and SEC football coverage.”
Dish blamed the blackouts on a demand by CBS for a 40-per-cent hike in carriage fees, with Warren Schlichting, Dish’s executive vice-president of marketing, programming and media sales, telling the Los Angeles Times: “We thought we were making good progress. But then late [Monday] night, CBS stopped talking and wouldn’t accept our offer for an extension.”
Dish retaliated by offering to install over-the-air antenna for customers and promising to reduce subscribers’ bills by $10 a month if they agreed to drop the local TV stations from their line-up.
In a statement it claimed that Dish customers are “watching less CBS,” with average viewership for the network down 20 per cent over the last three years.
However, in August, Joe Ianniello, CBS’ chief financial officer, told investors: “CBS, as a stand-alone network, generates over 10 per cent of the total ratings across the entire television landscape, including all of cable and broadcast. However, today, we are only getting 2 per cent of the distribution fees. So you can see why we’re so confident in the upside here.”