Ergen says streaming makes CBS 'less interesting to MVPDs' as network readies OTT news service

Drawing clear battle lines of what CBS should expect as it looks to aggressively grow its broadcast retransmission fees amid its launch of OTT platforms, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen confirmed that the newly launched CBS All Access is a major factor in his company's ongoing retrans renewal talks with the network.

Charlie Ergen, Dish Network

Ergen (Source: Dish)

"It's interesting because one of the dynamics there is, CBS channels are now available over-the-top," Ergen told investors during Dish's third-quarter earnings call Tuesday. "So there's an alternative for customers. So on the one hand, that's an interesting business plan. On the other hand, it makes that product less interesting for MVPDs because customers have a choice to get it somewhere else, and not everybody watches that channel, right?"

Dish's current retrans deal expires at the end of November, and there is fear and speculation that CBS could be blacked out on the satellite service, given how far apart the two parties reportedly are in the talks.

"Having said that, I think CBS, from a network perspective, has the highest ratings," Ergen added, reassuring investors. "I think that they've done a marvelous job with content creation. I think they're the best at that, and they certainly are a valued partner, so I would certainly think that you'll see them on Dish."

None of this is redirecting CBS from charging ahead with its deployment of OTT services. On Wednesday, Jim Lanzone, president and CEO of CBS Interactive, confirmed speculation that the company is readying the launch of a new streaming platform through its news division. He did not confirm the name of the service, however, or when it will launch.

For more:
- read this Variety story
- read this Dish Network earnings call transcript

Related links:
Ergen: OTT service on track for this year, Turner channels may not come back to Dish
CBS, Moonves lose nerve on tough OTT position with launch of All Access
Aereo crusher CBS launches $5.99-a-month online service


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