2.5 million HBO subscribers get their “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld” fix via Dish Network, but the channel’s signal went dark on both Dish and Sling TV at midnight. It’s unclear when the dispute will be settled and viewers can continue catching up on this season of “The Deuce,” but one thing is clear: Both sides are blaming the other.
HBO, which is owned by AT&T, had this to say: “During our forty 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,” the company said in a statement.
“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,” it continued.
Dish’s side of the story is rather different. “Plain and simple, the merger created for AT&T immense power over consumers,” Andy LeCuyer, senior vice president of programming, said. “It seems AT&T is implementing a new strategy to shut off its recently acquired content from other distributors. This may be the first of many HBO blackouts for consumers across the country. AT&T no longer has incentive to come to an agreement on behalf of consumer choice; instead, it’s been given the power to grab more money or steal away customers.”