If you have Dish and you’ve tried to watch HBO or Cinemax at all since November 1, you already know that these channels are suddenly no longer available. Users received no prior warning, and the Dish website has very little information to provide an explanation for the sudden blackout.
Dish TV has 10.6 million subscribers who suddenly can’t get a look at Game of Thrones, Westworld, Last Week Tonight or anything else they may want to see on HBO or Cinemax. It’s the first time in TV history that HBO has vanished from any distribution service, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and don’t forget that HBO was the very first cable network. It was established in 1975.
Basically, the disagreement between AT&T and Dish boils down to one central issue: money. Doesn’t everything?
The two sides have started sniping at each other through the media, and things are starting to get ugly. AT&T, who owns the DirecTV service, recently merged with Time Warner, who owns HBO. On Tuesday, HBO CEO Richard Plepler released a statement about the merger and the current blackout.
“The notion that AT&T had anything to do with our inability to reach a reasonable deal with Dish is simply not true…It seems to be a silly but transparent attempt on Dish’s behalf to muddy the waters for reasons only they can explain.”
Charlie Ergen, the chairperson for Dish, spoke about the merger at Dish’s third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, saying “this is purely an anti-competitive play that we tried to warn about,” according to the Wrap.
“We’ve always been able to reach an agreement with HBO,” he said.
“We can’t sign a deal that we would actually pay for their customers.”
Plepler responded to Ergen’s words, saying “in fact, we offered to extend our current contract while we continued negotiating. An idea that Dish initially agreed to and then oddly changed their mind about at the eleventh hour.”
Ergen said it would be “malpractice” for him to sign the deal put forth by HBO, according to Deadline.
“It’s important to clarify that it was Dish who dropped the HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on October 31, not the other way around,” Plepler said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Dish customers are none too happy with the blackout.
Yo, @dish can you answer this question for me?
Where is my HBO channels/HBOGo account?
A company should not control what we watch.
Give back what we paid for.
— Travis Larson (@larsontrav) November 7, 2018
This is BS, I am a DISH customer who lives in a VERY RURAL AREA and I am LIVID, I went to watch @billmaher and see that my HBO is gone! I have been a very LOYAL CUSTOMER for over 20 yrs (with different tv providers), what you have done is CRAPPY! GIVE ME MY HBO BACK!
— Joanne Wheatcroft (@virtual_joanne) November 3, 2018
How long will Dish customers have to wait before HBO and Cinemax are back? Well, Univision hasn’t been available on Dish since July because of a dispute.
So, in other words, things don’t look too hopeful at present. Both sides are firing back and forth at each other through heated statements, and Dish doesn’t have a great record of reaching reconciliation quickly.