Surprise: Sling TV's content deals don't include rights to all shows

Users of Dish Network's (NASDAQ: DISH) new over-the-top service are receiving surprising restricted access messages while trying to view select programs from A+E Networks channels.

A&E, Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) went live on Sling's basic $20-a-month service last week. However, Sling users are getting the following message when trying to watch the off-network run of CBS' Criminal Minds on A&E and the made-for-TV movie Kept Woman on Lifetime: "Due to rights restrictions, this content cannot be streamed on Sling TV."

The restrictions were first spotted in this Reddit forum.

Sling has confirmed that restrictions do, in fact, relate to program rights issues. FierceCable asked if the issue is broader than just A&E Networks, but a Sling rep has yet to respond to that query.

The issue doesn't seem to relate to one specific production entity. For example, Criminal Minds was produced by ABC's Touchstone Television for CBS TV Distribution, while Kept Woman was produced by Lifetime itself out of Canada.

A+E Networks was one of the first major programming conglomerates to sign on to Sling TV. However, A+E channels weren't available on the service at launch.

Unlike most other programmers on Sling TV, A+E Networks channels do offer some VOD and DVR-like features. 

"They allow content to be made available from the last few days, and I'm sure this goes against some sort of contract with the content providers but it seems limited enough to not be a major issue," speculated one Reddit user.

For more:
- read this Reddit forum
- read this TechHive story
- read this TV Predictions story

Related links:
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