Proving that picking up the phone can indeed be useful, the CBS blackout that resulted as a result of a feud between Dish Network and the network has finally come to an end. On Thanksgiving, Dish announced that it had reached “a multi-year carriage agreement with CBS Corporation for its owned and operated local stations, as well as CBS Sports Network, Pop, and Smithsonian Channel.” As a result, channels were restored to Dish customers, because you can’t really be thankful over the holidays without access to CBS channels, right?
While the terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, Warren Schlichting, Dish executive vice president of Marketing, Programming, and Media Sales noted in a statement, “We are grateful to our customers for their patience this holiday week as months of work has resulted in a deal that delivers CBS for years to come.”
The agreement comes days after customers were told to put the turkey baster down and pick up the phone to call some local businesses. In an effort to end its stalled negotiations over a carriage agreement and end the CBS blackout, Dish Network urged folks to call companies that advertise on local CBS networks.
On Dish Network’s dishpromise.com website, the United States’ No. 2 satellite operator showed customers how their local CBS stations were affected by the dispute, which left CBS blacked out to Dish subscribers in dozens of states. After inputting your ZIP code, you could scrolled down to the Make Your Voice Heard section, where Dish listed all of the local businesses advertising on specific CBS channels.
The CBS blackout affected cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston, Tampa, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.
Besides rallying the TV remote soldiers, the dishpromise.com site offered a glimpse into Dish and CBS’s tense negotiations. On the site, Dish alleges CBS is asking the satellite operator to pay “more than 50 percent higher than what we currently pay to carry this channel.” Dish doesn’t share exactly how much it pays CBS to retransmit its channels, but CBS’s CEO Les Moonves estimated the network charges traditional cable companies $2 per subscriber at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia media conference earlier this year.
Warren Schlicting, Dish’s executive vice president of marketing and programming, recorded a video featured on the site that explains how the company’s carriage dispute with CBS is a microcosm of a larger, fractured relationship between broadcasters and pay-TV providers. “The fees CBS and other broadcasters charge pay-TV providers, like Dish, to carry local channels is up an incredible 1,700 percent. That’s 17 times what it was just a decade ago.”
For now, however, the drama appears to be over.
Update: CBS blackout ends for Dish customers.