DISH, By Law, Cuts CBS Amid Retrans Row


The spin cycle is set to high, but no matter how you look at it, DISH subscribers are in the dark if they want to tune to CBS O&Os, several affiliates of The CW, and three specialty networks.

CBS confirmed at 2am Eastern today that “DISH has dropped CBS and several other local television stations owned by CBS, in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Tampa, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.”

In addition, CBS Sports Network, Pop and the Smithsonian Channel have been “dropped.”

However, DISH notes that it offered to extend CBS’s current retransmission fee deal in order to avert a drop of signals — something that is required by law if a deal is not in place.

DISH then turned the conversation into a “CBS tax” and how it is “losing viewers” — DISH customers are watching less CBS, with average viewership down 20 percent over the past 3 years, the DBS provider claims.

“CBS is attempting to tax DISH customers on programming that’s losing viewers, tax DISH customers on programming available for free over the air, and tax DISH customers for content available directly from CBS,” said Warren Schlichting, DISH EVP/Marketing, Programming and Media Sales. “Our customers are clear: they don’t want to pay a CBS tax. It’s regrettable and unnecessary that CBS is bringing its greed into the homes of millions of families this Thanksgiving.”

For its part, CBS played the role of attacker. It said, “Since 2013, DISH has dropped the signals of 29 different companies, representing nearly 400 television stations, clearly indicating that these tactics are commonplace for them. This particular dispute is yet another example of the company punishing its subscribers instead of negotiating a fair carriage deal that reflects the current marketplace.”

CBS then noted how 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 beginning Thursday, Nov. 23, with the Thanksgiving Day game featuring the Los Angeles Chargers taking on the Dallas Cowboys, as well as Sunday’s NFL Doubleheader; and SEC Football on Friday and Saturday.”

Such language paints a portrait of a long, drawn-out negotiation period, rather than a quick resolution — giving new meaning to Black Friday for DISH customers who will only see black screens on the impacted channels as of now.

The list of broadcast stations impacted is accessible here: