Turner says it's disappointed, bewildered by Dish assault

Responding somewhat rationally and unemotionally to a rather vicious earnings-call assault rendered upon it Tuesday by Charlie Ergen, Turner Networks released a statement saying it's "disappointed" and bewildered with the Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) chairman's comments.

"We were supportive of the Dish OTT effort and had found common ground on the major issues there," Turner's statement reads. "While there were clearly deal points to get done, they were not the type you would usually go dark over. So it is still unclear to us exactly what this dispute is about. We've been told our networks were taken down because we would not move an expiration date later in the year."

Dish removed Turner Networks channels CNN, Adult Swim and several others from its program guides in mid-October. Speaking to investors Tuesday, Dish said TNT and Turner will likely come down soon, as well.

Included in Ergen's barrage of Turner-targeted insults: CNN has half the audience it used to and the cable news model is obsolete; you can find the kind of kids' shows Cartoon Network has on any SVOD service; and TNT doesn't have the hits that AMC does.

"Obviously, when we take something down, we're prepared as a company to leave it down forever," Ergen said. "And fortunately or unfortunately, things like CNN are not quite the product that they used to be."

Responded Turner: "Other top five distributors have signed up for what Dish has walked away from. The value of the Turner news, entertainment, kids and young adult brands and content are reflected in the leadership positions they hold across the media landscape. That includes five of the top 30 cable networks. So we honestly have no idea what Dish was talking about yesterday.

"We've had a long-term relationship with Dish that has been good for both of us. That's one of the reasons we agreed to multiple extensions during this negotiation process and have worked diligently to address their issues. We stayed at the table even after Dish removed our networks from their service and we're hopeful we can get a deal done in the near future."

Related links:
Ergen: OTT service on track for this year, Turner channels may not come to Dish
Ergen says streaming makes CBS 'less interesting to MVPDs' as network readies OTT news service
Ergen 'digging his heels' in on 'now expendable' CNN, report says
Dish pulls CNN, Cartoon Network, other Turner channels

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