HBO Goes Dark for First Time Ever Over Dispute With Dish

Premium cable channel is also unavailable on Dish Network’s cord-cutting service Sling

Last Updated: November 1, 2018 @ 6:58 AM

HBO has gone dark for the first time ever, blacking out on both Dish and cord-cutting service Sling after failing to reach a new agreement with the service providers’ parent company, Dish Network Corporation.

HBO service on both platforms ceased at around 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

In a statement issued shortly before the outage, HBO placed blame firmly on Dish Network. “During our 40 plus years of operation, HBO has always been able to reach agreement with our valued distributors and our services have never been taken down or made unavailable to subscribers due to an inability to conclude a deal,” HBO said.

“Unfortunately, DISH is making it extremely difficult, responding to our good faith attempts with unreasonable terms. Past behavior shows that removing services from their customers is becoming all too common a negotiating tactic for them. We hope the situation with DISH changes soon but, in the meantime, our valued customers should take advantage of the other ways to access an HBO subscription so they can continue to enjoy our acclaimed programming.”

Dish, for its part, accused HBO’s new parent company, AT&T, of playing hardball in order to shut out premium cable distributors it doesn’t own.

“Plain and simple, the merger created for AT&T immense power over consumers. It seems AT&T is implementing a new strategy to shut off its recently acquired content from other distributors,” said DISH senior vice president of programming Andy LeCuyer in a statement Wednesday night.

“This may be the first of many HBO blackouts for consumers across the country,” he said. “AT&T no longer has incentive to come to an agreement on behalf of consumer choice; instead, it’s been given the power to grab more money or steal away customers.”

Dish Network, HBO and AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment from TheWrap.