Dish sends subscribers to HBO NOW for Game of Thrones as litigation rages – Variety

Even though "Game of Thrones" returns Sunday night for its last season, the fight between HBO and Dish continues. In order to appease fans of "Thrones" who are also subscribers to Dish, the satellite provider has adopted the unconventional approach of telling customers how to register separately for HBO Now.

Dish's website features a page dedicated to the HBO NOW registration process, Dish's premium streaming service described by Dish "is similar to Netflix."

"Even though HBO is not available on Dish, you can still watch their content with the HBO NOW app," explains a video tutorial on Dish's website. "This will take only few minutes. Click, start your free trial, and then follow the instructions on the screen. You are now ready to watch HBO shows and movies, including 'Game of Thrones', whenever you want, wherever you want. "

This is an unusual call to Dish's action, which does not get a dime if his customers sign up for HBO that way. But it's also an attempt to reassure customers by showing them that they can stay with Dish even if it does not currently offer HBO channels and continues to watch the channel. Dish blames the bulk of the stalemate on AT & T, which owns its rival DirecTV and has taken over HBO after finalizing the acquisition of Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) last June.

Before the showdown, Dish charged monthly subscribers $ 15 for HBO and $ 10 for Cinemax. As Dish notes on its website, "HBO generally offers offers including a 7-day free trial and a cancellation policy at any time; Monthly subscription is charged $ 14.99 per HBO. "

HBO is no longer available for Dish or Sling TV (Dish Dish TV service) since November, when both parties could not agree on a new distribution deal.

The confrontation comes at a difficult time for Dish, as traditional cable / satellite providers continue to get rid of video subscribers. Dish lost 1 million submarines in 2018 – including 334,000 in the fourth quarter, due to litigation between the company and HBO and Univision.

Dish finally signed a new deal with Univision last month, ending a nine-month power outage. But his confrontation with HBO, in his fifth month, shows no sign of resolution at the moment.

The dispute is common in cable because disputes over distribution charges often lead to power outages. But they rarely last that long, and neither side seems to have moved. HBO declined to comment, while Dish sent a general statement: "AT & T withdrew HBO from DISH and refused to accept any offer that, realistically, could be considered fair to DISH's customers. DISH customers are not billed for HBO. Given the wide availability of HBO, DISH is working on a case-by-case basis with our loyal customers regarding their viewing needs. "


But now, winter is coming. Specifically, the last season of "Game of Thrones" is attracting so much attention and buzz that even Dish's president, Charlie Ergen, said in a February call for results: HBO. "

Ergen added that Dish's customers could find other ways to watch "Game of Thrones": "They will spend 10 weeks with their friends during Game of Thrones or become more and more used – each young person knows how to play. To make it there. on the Internet, get a code and watch free HBO. "

The executive has even suggested that hacking could increase due to the fact that some Dish users would not have access to HBO, which we would rather not see.

Despite Dish's willingness to send his "Game of Thrones" amateur customers to HBO NOW, HBO is not expecting a frenzy of listings. An insider said it was because they had not seen historically skyrocketing among HBO NOW subscribers at the return of "Thrones" (perhaps because the series, which is entering its seventh season, is already well established).

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