More than 2 million Dish Network (DISH) subscribers will miss out on Thanksgiving Day NFL football (and SEC football on Friday and Saturday) if a pricing dispute with CBS isn’t solved within the next 24 hours. DISH dropped CBS Corp. (CBS) channels in 18 major markets after the 2 sides were unable to agree on a new carriage deal by Monday evening’s deadline. CBS is reportedly asking for the same terms it receives from its other distributors and believes it deserves a retransmission fee increase as CBS is the most watched DISH channel. DISH has balked at the demands; arguing CBS is asking for an increase on programming with declining viewership or that can be found free over the air.
Howie Long-Short: DISH reported Q3 revenue declined 5% YOY (to $3.58 billion), attributing the loss to a one-time removal of 145,000 subscribers in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (related to Hurricane Maria). The company added 16,000 subs during the quarter, offsetting losses in pay TV subscribers with the addition of an estimated (by Evercore analysts) 224,000-264,000 Sling TV streaming service subscribers. DISH shares are down 14% YTD.
Fan Marino: Cowboys and Chargers fans may want to consider taking DISH up on their proposed solution. Fans can drop their local channels in exchange for a $10 reduction on their monthly bill and have DISH install an antenna, at the company’s expense. It’s a slight inconvenience, but it beats missing the game.
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