As if there were ever any doubt that this latest kerfuffle would quickly end, CBS and Dish Network have settled their ongoing dispute over programming and pricing. However, it looks as though CBS came out as the big winner in this latest battle, as Dish’s AutoHop functionality has been neutered as a result.
After months of intense negotiations without a deal in sight, CBS channels went dark on Dish Network shortly after 7 PM EST on Friday evening. CBS was quick to point the finger at Dish, stating, “Dish has dragged its feet at our many attempts to negotiate in good faith. Behavior like this is why Dish has a long history of depriving customers of the programing they have paid for.
“CBS has been negotiating a carriage agreement with Dish for six months and has already granted two extensions."
Dish, however, remained optimistic throughout the process, stating, “We are disappointed that CBS has chosen to black out their local channels, but remain optimistic that the channels will return quickly as both sides are continuing to work to finalize an agreement.”
It appears that a breakthrough was reached during the late night negotiations, because earlier this morning, CBS channels came back online for the millions of Dish subscribers in two dozen markets that were affected by the blackout.
The two companies issued a joint press release announcing the new agreement, with Ray Hopkins, CBS’ President of Television Networks Distribution, smarting, “We are very pleased with this deal, which meets all of our economic and strategic objectives. We look forward to having DISH as a valued partner for many years to come.”
Warren Schlichting, Senior VP of Programming for Dish, also touted the agreement, adding, “We are pleased to continue delivering CBS programming to our customers.”
As you can tell from the two statements, it definitely looks as though CBS got the sweeter deal out of this arrangement considering that its “economic and strategic objectives” were met. That means that the company probably got all (or at least extremely close to) the financial compensation that it was looking for with its programming.
As for the “strategic” objective, look no further than to what has become of AutoHop. This agreement between the two companies was only reached because Dish agreed to neuter its AutoHop functionality for customers. As you may recall, AutoHop allows customers to skip commercial breaks when viewing recorded content. Understandably, broadcasters have been livid about AutoHop and have taken Dish to court to kill the feature.
CBS wasn’t able to completely kill AutoHop with this new programming deal, but it was able to have its usefulness reduced significantly. Customers will only be able to watch their newly recorded CBS shows “ad free” one week after the original airdate. Otherwise, they’ll have to resort to the old fashioned method — manually fast-forwarding through commercials.
While the neutered AutoHop is definitely a downer (and the 7-day blackout is even longer than the 3-day agreement reached earlier this year with ABC), it did manage to secure digital rights for its customers to access Showtime Anytime.