LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Nov 2, (Reuters) - CBS Corp and Dish Network Corp are far apart on talks for a new distribution deal, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations, setting up the possibility that the satellite provider’s subscribers could lose access to the most-watched U.S. TV network next month.
The current agreement, signed on January 5, 2012, is set to expire in late November, according to the person. The two sides continue to talk.
CBS and Dish are at odds over the monthly price per subscriber the satellite operator, which has 14 million subscribers, would pay to carry CBS.
According to media consultant SNL Kagan, CBS’s TV stations were averaging 54 cents per subscriber from TV distributors when the Dish deal was signed in 2012. CBS currently averages 89 cents but recent deals have been richer, according to SNL senior research analyst Justin Nielson.
The standoff comes as cable, satellite and telecom video distributors increasingly are playing hard ball with program providers, resisting demands for steep price increases at a time when viewers are being drawn to Netflix and other forms of entertainment.
Last year, CBS notched a high-profile victory in a fight with another distributor when Time Warner Cable was forced to back down and mostly give in to CBS’s demands after a month-long programming blackout that incensed the cable company’s subscribers.
In that instance, CBS was asking for an agreement in which its fee would escalate to more than $2 per subscriber when the contract ended, according to reports at the time.
CBS has argued in contract talks that the price it is seeking is justified by its status as the most watched TV network in the United States, with highly rated shows like “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory” and sports programming that includes NFL football.
CBS spokeswoman Shannon Jacobs and Dish spokesman Bob Toevs had no comment.
Dish is already locked in a contract standoff with Time Warner Inc’s Turner Broadcasting and has removed several of its channels including CNN and the Cartoon Network. The two sides continue to talk, according to a person with knowledge with the Dish-Turner talks.
The person said both Dish and Turner were making progress on price and hashing out details over Dish’s streaming video service before the blackout on Oct. 21. The sticking point involved Turner’s other two networks, TNT and TBS, which are under separate contracts, the person said.
Negotiations about TNT and TBS are expected to start in a couple of weeks. (Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine and Liana Baker; Editing by Christian Plumb and Frances Kerry)