TVBizwire

Dish and Walt Disney Work on Averting a Blackout -- Spotlight Is on Pricey ESPN Bloomberg

A short-term extension of a programming agreement between Dish Network and Walt Disney has averted a blackout of Disney channels for Dish subscribers, reports Bloomberg.

Details of the extension weren't disclosed. Dish is the third-largest U.S. pay-television service, based on its roughly 14 million total subscribers.

Charlie Ergen, the chairman and co-founder of Dish, has complained about the rising cost of sports programming for years, the story notes. In a recent conference call, he suggested pay-TV operators might eventually skip offering the top-rated sports network, which would lower subscription costs for consumers.

Disney's ESPN costs $5.54 per month per subscriber, the story says, citing SNL Kagan.

In the call Aug. 6, Ergen said: “Somebody, sometime, may decide that sports isn’t something they have to have. There could be a day when, strategically, companies just can’t get together, where they go opposite directions and they both have strategies that work for them, and we’re prepared to go either way.”

Time Warner Cable customers lost CBS programming for a month this summer after a contract dispute between the two companies.