Dish, AT&T fire new salvos over HBO blackout

|By:, SA News Editor

Accusations were flying last week between Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and HBO (NYSE:T) following the latter's first-ever network blackout after decades of service, with fingers pointing in every direction over the breakdown in carriage talks.

Now comes another salvo, after Dish Network used today's earnings call to attack the premium channel provider.

"It's not a disagreement over rate for an la carte premium service," CEO Erik Carlson says. "This is about HBO requiring DISH to sign up for a guaranteed number of subscribers, and that's really regardless of whether another DISH customer ever chooses HBO."

"This is purely an anticompetitive play that we tried to warn about," Chairman Charlie Ergen adds. AT&T's giving away HBO to its wireless subs while asking Dish to pay for a guaranteed number of HBO subs, he says: "That would be malpractice. There's no company that would sign up to a deal like that."

HBO chief Richard Plepler has fired back via Medium: "It’s important to clarify that it was DISH who dropped the HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on Oct. 31, not the other way around. In fact, we offered to extend our current contract while we continued negotiating. An idea that DISH initially agreed to and then oddly changed their mind about at the 11th hour."

Dish's comments are a "silly but transparent attempt on DISH’s behalf to muddy the waters for reasons only they can explain," Plepler says.

In today's action: DISH +2% after earnings; T +0.5%.

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