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Why Haven’t HBO & Dish Made a Deal?

Q. Why is HBO still not on Dish? Will they ever make a deal. It’s been a year now and I’m getting crazy about it with Game of Thrones on. What is up?! — Eric, Denver. 

Eric, it’s actually been slightly more than six months since Dish and HBO couldn’t reach a new carriage agreement. And when the old pact expired on November 1, HBO pulled both HBO and Cinemax from Dish and the Dish-owned live streaming service, Sling TV.

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The dispute has driven some Dish and Sling subscribers up the wall, particularly with the final episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones coming up this Sunday.

When the blackout began, I predicted it might take months to resolve. And, Eric, I’m afraid to tell you that if it doesn’t end this week with GOT still on, it may take several more months.

Here’s why:

1. AT&T, which last year took ownership of HBO and Cinemax following its merger with Time Warner, wants to draw a line with its first high-profile carriage battle after the deal.

The company believes that HBO is an elite channel, one that every pay TV provider must have or risk losing subscribers. Consequently, AT&T wants to set a unprecedented benchmark price for HBO (and Cinemax) that it will try to impose later on other pay TV services.

2. Dish has a history of playing tough in carriage negotiations, which has often led to long blackouts. They know what AT&T is up to and they are happy to wait them out if necessary.

While some Dish and Sling subscribers have undoubtedly fled, it’s more likely that they have simply signed up for the standalone version of HBO (HBO Now) which costs the same as the Dish/Sling version. With the easy availability of HBO Now, it’s very easy for Dish to say no to AT&T’s demands at this point.

With Game of Thrones wrapping up this Sunday, it’s possible that the final episode will spark a new round of talks this week. But I wouldn’t bet too much on it.

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— Phillip Swann

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About TV Answer Man (1738 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

5 Comments on Why Haven’t HBO & Dish Made a Deal?

  1. Jeff Glassner // May 14, 2019 at 11:11 am // Reply

    You failed to mention the real reason for the battle – AT&T now owns HBO AND DirecTV, Dish’s main competitor. So they are using HBO as a weapon to make people switch services. This is why anti-trust laws were invented. If only they were actually enforced.

  2. Jeff, You Don’t miss anything, You are Right ON !!

    AT&T is working OVERTIME to destroy DirecTV, They are making good progress.
    always helps to send the Call Centers OVERSEAS to make customers FLEE Faster
    That sale should be REVERSED.

    Just wait till the Net-Neutrality disaster kicks in.

  3. Callie Jo Darcey // September 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm // Reply

    Dish needs to think about their rural customers who have to use satellite internet for streaming…. if its cloudy, it buffers or pixelated like crazy! I used amazon prime to have hbo so I could download GOT on my phone and then use smart view to watch it on my tv.

  4. Dee Blackwell // October 6, 2019 at 12:10 am // Reply

    Just plain greedy and not giving a fig about those who are and want to pay for HBO and Cinamax. How on earth do these decision makers keep their jobs? They should stop being a jerk and do what’s right for those who want these channels.

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