In the midst of a nasty carriage battle between Dish and HBO, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen had harsh words for AT&T.
Variety reports that Ergen “blasted AT&T for demanding unreasonable terms from the pay-TV distributor for HBO, saying the telco is insisting Dish pay for a minimum number of subscribers to the premium cabler whether or not that number of Dish customers actually take HBO.”
As we reported last week, HBO pulled its channels, including Cinemax, from the Dish and Sling TV lineups on Oct. 31, marking the first time HBO had gone dark on a major distributor in its 40-plus-year history.
“Ergen said AT&T is using HBO as an ‘economic weapon’ to try to extract more money from Dish,” Variety reports, quoting Ergen, speaking during Dish’s third-quarter 2018 earnings call today, saying: “This is purely an anti-competitive play that we tried to warn about,” a reference to the Justice Department’s antitrust case seeking to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger.
He added: “We can’t sign a deal [under which] we would actually pay for [AT&T’s] customers — and that’s what it would be.”