Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) has taken CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and half a dozen other Turner Networks channels off its program guide after reaching an impasse in program licensing renewal talks.
According to sources close to the negotiations interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, the sticking points primarily relate to struggling CNN, with the two sides haggling over the amount of fee increase, length of contract and digital rights. WSJ alludes to the possibility that Dish might be trying to lock up CNN for its upcoming over-the-top service.
Notably, the impasse does not include TNT and TBS, which are not part of the renewal being discussed.
Reads a Turner statement, released Tuesday morning, shortly after its channels went dark on the satellite service: "Despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an agreement with Dish Network, and they have unilaterally decided to pull CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, TCM, HLN, CNN en Espanol and Boomerang off the air upon the expiration of our current deal. Turner has worked diligently for months to come to a fair agreement including multiple extensions and compromises, and it's unfortunate that Dish is once again operating in a disruptive manner that takes away networks and programming from their customers. We are hopeful our counterparts will return to the negotiating table, and we'll get a deal completed."
The kerfuffle comes at a difficult time for Turner, which is facing a tough ad market and is in the process of cutting 10 percent of its staff worldwide.
"In the past year, Dish has successfully renewed agreements with many large content providers," said Warren Schlichting, Dish senior VP of programming, in a statement. "As a result, we are confident that we have offered a deal to Turner that reflects an appropriate value for our customers. Dish has had a productive relationship with Turner Networks for many years. We regret the service disruption to our customers, and remain committed to reaching an agreement that promptly returns this content to Dish's programming lineup."
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