3 Milllion DISH Network Customers Face CBS Blackout


On Monday night at 11pm roughly 3 million Dish Network subscribers in have lost access to their local CBS television station. That’s when the DISH’s previous carriage contract with CBS expired. The end of the contract left DISH without authorization to retransmit CBS stations. CBS is blocking consumers because they want to raise rates to carry CBS local channels. CBS wants to raise carriage rates even though viewership is declining.

Who Is Affected?

This outage has affected subscribers in 18 markets across 26 states. Cities in the blackout area include but not limited to:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Philadelphia
  • San Francisco
  • Denver

In addition to the local stations DISH subscribers will lose three CBS cable channels:

  • CBS Sports Network
  • Smithsonian Channel and
  • Pop

Why Is There A Blackout In Service?

On a recent earnings conference call, CBS said that it will be able to produce $2.5 billion a year in retransmission fees for its stations by 2020. The rate increases were a part of a promise made to shareholders, going from $250 million in 2012 to a forecasted $2.5 billion by 2020. The retransmission fees continue to go up as CBS viewership goes down. Average CBS viewership has declined 20% over the past 3 years.

Additionally, CBS is asking for significant price increases for local channels, CBS is attempting to force carriers to pay for unrelated channels (mentioned above) at a premium.

What Is DISH Doing About It?

DISH is currently offering a free digital over-the-air (OTA) antenna to customers affected by the blackout. This way they can watch local broadcast CBS channels for free. DISH is also offering the option to completely drop local channels from their plan which saves the customer $10 a month on their bill.


This blackout came at a time when people are ready to celebrate a holiday that involves a lot of food and a lot of Football. For many household’s football goes hand-in-hand with Thanksgiving. There are other things to watch but football has become a tradition.

The L.A. Chargers are playing the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium at 3:30 PM Central Time and this game is being broadcast on CBS.

If you are in one of the blackout areas here are some ways for you to catch the Thanksgiving Day game.


As mentioned above, a digital OTA antenna gives you access to network channels for free. They can be paired with a DVR to record shows and they can be paired with certain streaming devices so that it is easier to transition between streaming services and live television.

For DISH customers, utilizing an OTA antenna to watch local network channels can save you $120 annually. You can still get show information using the channel guide on the Hopper DVR.


There are many companies who offer live streaming TV. CBS is included in most of these companies. Most, if not all, of them offer a free trial period. If you should decide to try out any of these services be sure to make yourself aware of the trial period and the cancellation policy.

DISH customers can visit DISHPromise.com for more information. You can also ask the FCC and Congress to end TV blackouts.