Dish TV viewers are cut off from HBO
The business dispute that yanked HBO off the air for millions of Americans on Nov. 1 is entering its second week with no signs of a respite.
As many as 2.5 million customers of HBO have lost access to hit shows such as “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld” through Dish Network, America’s sec- ond-largest satellite TV provider.
The blackout affects another 10.2 million Dish subscribers who aren’t signed up for HBO but who could be potential customers of the premium entertainment channel.
It’s the first time HBO has ever “gone dark,” in the parlance of TV executives.
Viewers are being caught in the middle, with potential consequences on both sides: An extended outage could lead to significant cus- tomer losses.
The standoff between Dish and HBO stems from a seem- ingly run-of-the-mill contract negotiation over whether Dish should pay HBO for a guaranteed number of cus- tomers, whether those subscribers materialize or not.
But the impasse carries enormous stakes that reflect the legacy television busi- ness’ dire condition.
What began as a trickle of consumers toward digital TV alternatives, such as Netflix and Hulu, has turned into a torrent.
W ith both Di s h and AT&T reporting even steeper-than-expected declines in their traditional TV subscriber base in recent months, the pressure to retain customers is intense, analysts say.