HBO Goes Dark on Dish Network Amid Carriage Dispute

Courtesy of HBO

The premium cable channel goes off air for the first time in its history.

HBO has gone dark on the Dish Network amid a standoff over carriage agreements, the first time it has been off air on one its major distributors in the company's 40-year history. 

As of Wednesday night, HBO, Cinemax and its various other channels were blacked out to Dish subscribers. HBO blamed the blackout on an "inability to conclude a deal" with Dish, which had been responding to the company's "good-faith attempts with unreasonable terms." 

HBO's full statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday night: 

“During our 40-plus years of operation, HBO has always been able to reach agreement with our valued distributors and our services have never been taken down or made unavailable to subscribers due to an inability to conclude a deal. Unfortunately, DISH is making it extremely difficult, responding to our good-faith attempts with unreasonable terms. Past behavior shows that removing services from their customers is becoming all too common a negotiating tactic for them. We hope the situation with DISH changes soon but, in the meantime, our valued customers should take advantage of the other ways to access an HBO subscription so they can continue to enjoy our acclaimed programming.”

Dish has a history of contentious carriage negotiations that lead to networks and stations going dark before a new agreement is reached later. Last Thanksgiving, CBS and its network of local stations went dark over a similar dispute. 

In a statement to THR, Dish hit back, blaming the blackout on AT&T, HBO's new parent company, claiming that the media giant was using its power to exert "influence over competing pay-TV providers and consumers." Dish said they would look for a "baseball-style" arbitration process to restore HBO to its service. 

Dish said that eligible customers of its service and Sling TV that subscribe to HBO and Cinemax would be credited on their bills for the duration of the blackout.