If election season had to rewatch Veep, you are going to be disappointed if you are a DISH Network or Sling TV customer. The popular broadcasting company has found itself in a programming dispute with AT&T as a result of their merger with Time Warner earlier this year. As a result, content from HBO and Cinemax is unavailable for DISH customers for the moment.
Of course, there are two very different sides to this story. According to DISH, AT&T is looking to guarantee a set number of subscribers, regardless of whether or not those customers actually have a desire for an HBO subscription. To achieve that goal, AT&T pulled its channels from the DISH lineup.
Andy LeCuyer, Dish’s senior vice president of programming released a statement saying that “AT&T is stacking the deck with free-for-life offerings to wireless customers and slashed prices on streaming services, effectively trying to force DISH to subsidize HBO on AT&T’s platforms…This is the exact anticompetitive behavior that critics of the AT&T-Time Warner merger warned us about. Every pay-TV company should be concerned.”.
HBO, however, claims the opposite. According to HBO, DISH actually dropped them. According to USA Today, “Dish is responding to “[HBO’s] good faith attempts with unreasonable terms,” adding that Dish ‘removing services from their customers is becoming all too common a negotiating tactic for them.’”.
It’s difficult to tell which story is true, but either way, DISH customers are out of look if they were hoping to watch HBO or Cinemax. Of course, HBO does have a stand alone streaming service, so if you are willing to pay, you can still get your Game of Thrones fix.
Programming disputes are relatively common for major broadcasting companies like DISH Network. It is unfortunate that the dispute is surrounding such a major network like HBO. The implications this brings if DISH’s story is true is also worth some though. A lot of experts expressed concerns about the AT&T/Time Warner merger when it was happening. This could be the first example of many of those predictions coming true.