NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- CBS (CBS) left little doubt on Tuesday that its contract talks with the Dish Network (DISH) aren't going well, and that customers of the satellite-TV service could lose the channel by Thursday at 7pm New York time.
Here's the CBS statement:
"For six months, CBS has been vigorously attempting to secure fair carriage deals with Dish. During that time, Dish has clearly not been operating with the same sense of urgency. In the last few weeks, we have granted two extensions, in the hopes that this would give both parties sufficient time to come to a resolution.
The second extension, which protected Dish subscribers' programming over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, was the final one. We would very much like to avoid going dark, thereby joining the more than 120 stations Dish has dropped since 2013 alone. Unless agreements are reached, however, our viewers should be prepared to lose CBS from their Dish systems on Thursday evening at 7:00 PM/ET."
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At issue, of course, is how much money Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen is prepared to pay CBS to to carry the network that remains the most watched on television.
CBS's carriage deal with Dish was due to expire on Nov. 25, but has twice been extended. If the two sides can't agree on a new contract, Ergen has threatened to take CBS off his satellite-TV network in 14 markets, including Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Denver, cities where the network owns its local TV station.
In past years, CBS sought higher fees to cover higher production costs. But this year is different. Advertisers are gradually redirecting some marketing expenditures to digital platforms, and away from television. Though TV remains a $70 billion advertising market, recent trends show that growth is shrinking instead of getting larger.
MoffettNathanson last month lowered its forecast for ad spending on network TV in 2014 to 3.9% from a 5% estimate made in May.
Of course, lower advertising is simply a response to lower TV ratings. Marketers are only doing what they're expected to do: Go where the eyeballs are going. Primetime viewing on the largest television networks was 5% lower in October among 18- to 49-year-olds than during the same month a year ago, according to data compiled by Morgan Stanley.
Total television viewing for the month ended Oct. 27 was 7% lower among 18 to 49-year-olds compared to the same period a year ago, according to Nielsen. People are simply watching less television programming on television.
Dish was falling 1.8% to $75.78 on Tuesday while CBS was dropping 0.2% to $54.38.
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