CBS' Cable Networks Major Issue In Dish Dispute

Blackout for Dish customers means no Thanksgiving NFL on CBS

On Thanksgiving day, CBS will carry the professional NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams, as well as SEC conference football games on Friday and Saturday.

Tuesday morning, local stations owned by CBS went dark on Dish Network's satellite system.

"I make no representations as to the merits of either side's position, but hope for Patriots' fans' sake that a quick resolution can get our team back on Dish customers' screens in time to see this AFC East rivalry game on Sunday", Markey continued.

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The blackout affects Dish subscribers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major markets.

CBS will broadcast the National Football League matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The deal ends a blackout of Hearst stations on Dish services that began in early March, affecting stations in 26 markets, including Boston, Baltimore, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Orlando, Fla. According to the company's press release, "as DISH works to reach an agreement, the company is offering digital over-the-air (OTA) antennas at no cost so that customers in affected markets can watch CBS's local broadcast channels for free". The satellite TV provider also promised to reduce subscribers' bills by $10 per month if they agreed to drop the local TV stations from their lineup.

A key issue over Dish Network reluctance in renewing a retransmission/carriage deal with CBS Corp. comes down to its three cable networks. Such higher broadcast fees are contributing to the steady increases in pay-TV bills.

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"As it stands, Dish customers won't be watching CBS in the days and weeks ahead", CBS says in a statement.

Tuesday, DISH reported that the CBS Corporation is blacking out its content to DISH customers.

"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", Dish executive vice president Warren Schlichting said in a statement.

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The Englewood, Colo. -based satellite TV company noted that CBS has boasted on its earnings calls with Wall Street analysts that it will generate $2.5 billion a year in retransmission fees for its stations by 2020 - up from $250 million a year in 2012. According to Dish, average viewership for CBS is down 20 percent over the last three years. That's a dramatic rise from 2010, when there were just eight blackouts.

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