Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

UPDATE: Dish Network customers might lose NBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo but deadline extended

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Friday, March 18, 2016

Dish Network customers may lose NBCUniversal networks such as NBC, USA Network, Bravo and Syfy Sunday.

UPDATE: Dish filed for arbitration Friday, which triggered a 10-day cooling off period and extends negotiations.

That means shows such as "The Voice," "Chrisley Knows Best," "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" and "The Magicians" could be gone for its 13.4 million customers. (Dish does not reveal local customer breakdowns but based on the metro population, it's likely more than 200,000 households.)

It's yet another carriage dispute between a carrier and a network. Dish, which is known as a low-cost leader in the industry, tends to get into more of them than most. (It just resolved a local dispute over Atlanta Braves weekend games on Fox Sports after three years.)

“NBCUniversal is asking Dish to pay fair market value for the networks, similar to the agreements in place with other distributors,” the company said on a website that urges the No. 2 satellite company’s subscribers to lobby for a deal. “We are disappointed that Dish is about to deny its customers the most-watched network portfolio on TV.”

Dish sued NBC earlier this week for broaching its contract by getting the public involved in a call to action. NBC networks are now using scrolls in its programming to tell Dish customers they are about to lose their shows.

Dish said it will likely file for arbitration, which would prevent NBC from blacking out Dish customers. So this blackout probably won't happen yet.

It's always difficult for customers to figure out who is at fault in these situations. Is NBC being greedy? Or Dish being too cheap? Or both? Dish can champion itself as defenders of (relatively) low prices. NBC says its offerings are so valuable, Dish is hurting its customers by not paying a proper amount for the services.

In the meantime, more and more people are simply not subscribing to any cable or satellite service at all or cutting the cord completely.


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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