HBO Goes Dark on Dish Network in Carriage Dispute

November 1, 2018 Updated: November 1, 2018

Dish Network Corp said on Nov. 1, AT&T Inc had blacked out HBO and Cinemax networks for its Dish and Sling TV subscribers as the companies failed to agree on a new distribution pact.

AT&T, the No.2 U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers, closed its $85-billion acquisition of media company Time Warner in June, and created WarnerMedia to house assets including Turner TV networks and the premium channel HBO.

“It seems AT&T is implementing a new strategy to shut off its recently acquired content from other distributors,” said Andy LeCuyer, Dish’s senior vice president of programming.

A WarnerMedia spokesman said past behavior showed that removing services from customers was becoming a common negotiating tactic for Dish.

Over the last few years, Dish has dropped Fox News, CBS and local TV station owners Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc and Tribune Media Co, the spokesman said.

Dish said AT&T is demanding that the company pay for a guaranteed number of subscribers, regardless of how many consumers actually want to subscribe to HBO.