After a years-long standoff, Dish Network and AT&T have settled their differences and reached a new distribution agreement for HBO.
The Dish social media team first spilled the beans on Twitter this morning and confirmed that both HBO and Cinemax are coming back to Dish Network soon. “Stay tuned as we gather more details available to share with our customers!”
Hello! We are pleased to announce that HBO and Cinemax will be coming back soon. Stay tuned as we gather more details available to share with our customers!— DISH Answers (@dish_answers) July 29, 2021
TV Answer Man’s Phillip Swann pointed out Dish Network now has an HBO Max landing page on its website. The satellite operator has HBO Max listed at $15 per month and shows a package that includes six linear HBO channels including HBO East, HBO West, HBO 2, HBO Latino, HBO Signature and HBO Family. The company is instructing HBO subscribers to log into HBO Max using their Dish account credentials.
Now WarnerMedia has officially announced the news and said that Dish customers can subscribe to the HBO Max ad-free plan for $12 per month for up to 12 months if they sign up before Oct. 27, 2021. Dish TV subscribers who want Cinemax will have to pay an additional $10/month. As part of the launch, Dish TV is offering its customers a 10-day free preview of HBO and Cinemax beginning Aug. 6.
A Dish Network spokesperson said there are currently no plans to add HBO to the Sling TV lineup.
The new agreement between Dish Network and AT&T brings to an end a lengthy and bitter carriage battle with AT&T. Shortly after HBO and Cinemax went dark on Dish Network and Sling TV in 2018, Dish accused AT&T of abusing the market power it accumulated through the Time Warner acquisition.
"Plain and simple, the merger created for AT&T immense power over consumers," said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior vice president of programming, in a statement. "It seems AT&T is implementing a new strategy to shut off its recently acquired content from other distributors. This may be the first of many HBO blackouts for consumers across the country. 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."
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HBO responded by claiming Dish Network was being “extremely difficult” and responding to good faith negotiations 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," HBO said.
But that was then, and more recently Dish and AT&T have appeared much chummier, as evidenced by the companies' newly signed strategic network services agreement.
The new HBO deal with Dish comes as AT&T is working on a deal to spin off WarnerMedia—parent company to HBO, Turner and Warner Bros.—and combine it with Discovery, Inc.
This article has been updated after receiving confirmation from WarnerMedia.