Dish Extends CBS Deal Another Week as Yet Another Standoff Looms

Blackouts Can Cost Thousands of Subscribers

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'NCIS: New Orleans.'
'NCIS: New Orleans.' Credit: CBS

CBS Corp. and Dish Network extended a programming agreement into next week, keeping the most-watched TV network on the air for Dish's 14 million satellite-TV subscribers while the parties negotiate.

Last week, the companies agreed to a five-day extension as they work toward a long-term fee arrangement for Dish viewers to continue getting CBS shows such as "The Big Bang Theory" and "NCIS."

Dish is juggling more than just the CBS talks. Last week, the Englewood, Colorado-based company restored channels from Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, including the Cartoon Network and CNN, to its service while seeking a longer-term deal with that programmer too.

Dish also has a contract deadline looming next week with Comcast Corp.'s SportsNet regional sports network. The San Francisco Giants released a statement saying the organization hopes Dish doesn't drop the local channel, which airs the baseball team's games.

CBS aired more than half of the 10 most-watched prime-time shows on broadcast TV the week of Nov. 23, based on Nielsen data, and carries National League Football games on Sundays.

Time Warner Cable lost 300,000 of its TV subscribers a year ago during the month it dropped CBS in a contract dispute. After a public standoff, Time Warner Cable agreed to pay CBS significantly more for its programming.

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Negotiations have become more complicated as discussions go beyond price to include streaming rights to computers and mobile devices, DirecTV CEO Mike White said last week in an interview after his appearance at the Boston College CEO Club.

"Every negotiation has tons of analysis. The debate comes when you add content rights," White said. "Right now, everyone is still defining their distribution strategy."

~ Bloomberg News ~

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