CBS, Dish standoff hits subscribers

CBS programming could not be accessed by Dish Network subscribers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and a number of other markets last evening after the broadcaster and the satellite television provider failed to resolve a six-month contract negotiation standoff.

Until an agreement is reached between the two companies, professional and college football games, the sitcom The Big Bang Theory and the police procedural NCIS would be among the CBS programming not available to Dish subscribers in 14 markets across the country where CBS owns and operates its broadcast stations. A number of other CBS-owned and independent stations also were affected.

Dish subscribers could however, access other CBS-owned networks, including Showtime and CBS Sports Network, as of Friday evening.

CBS said in a statement that it was seeking ''appropriate compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world, as well as terms that reflect the developing digital marketplace.''

According to a Dish statement, the dispute was because of a deadlock regarding negotiations about the CBS Sports Network.

''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 tonight to finalise an agreement,'' Dish said.

The companies were silent on how long the break might last. According to analysts, an agreement could take anything from a matter of hours to weeks.

According to CBS, the Dish ''was unwilling to work towards an agreement that kept CBS stations available to its subscribers,'' The New York Times reported.

CBS said it wanted ''appropriate compensation'' as also ''terms that reflect the developing digital marketplace,'' indicating that streaming would likely be a part of the negotiations on which Dish and the network could not agree.

The dispute comes after a number of earlier instances where networks pulled the plug on services on Dish over failed negotiations.

In a recent dispute with Turner Broadcasting a resolution was reached on 21 November after it prevented channels like CNN, TBS and Cartoon Network from being viewed by Dish subscribers.