Dish came up with a strange response to the situation, in an effort to keep subscribers from jumping to one of the other cable or satellite providers to watch the last season of Game of Thrones. The company created a whole website listing clear instructions on how to sign up for HBO NOW, HBO's streaming service.
"Even though HBO is not available on Dish, you can still watch their content with the HBO NOW app," a tutorial explains on the site. "It only takes a few minutes. Click, start your free trial, then just follow the on-screen instructions. Now, you're ready to start watching HBO shows and movies, including Game of Thrones, when you want, where you want."
This is a strange move, since Dish is not going to get a dime out of suggesting users subscribe to the service. The company also pointed out there is a free trial, but it only lasts seven days. So if Dish's dispute with HBO continues through the rest of Game of Thrones' final season, users will have to start paying the $14.99 a month subscription fee.
Dish and Sling TV customers have not had access to HBO since November, when the two could not agree on a new carriage deal, notes Variety. The company puts AT&T at fault, since AT&T now owns its chief rival, DirecTV. AT&T also now owns HBO after it bought Time Warner (now Warner Media) last summer.
Dish is in a difficult position, as it continues to lose subscribers, just like other traditional cable and satellite providers. The company lost 1 million subscribers in 2018. It was also in a similar, nine-month carriage dispute with Univision, which was not solved until last month.
These blackouts are common, but rarely last as long as six months. HBO did not comment, but Dish provided Variety with another statement.
"AT&T removed HBO from DISH and has refused to accept any offer that could realistically be considered fair for DISH customers. DISH customers are not being charged for HBO," the company said. "Given HBO's broad availability, DISH is working on a case-by-case basis with our loyal customers regarding their viewing needs."
Last week, a Dish representative told Multichannel News they met with HBO executives, but there is still no sign of the dispute ending.
"Dish has made it apparent that they have no interest in carrying HBO," HBO said in a statement to Multichannel News. "We have made extremely reasonable offers and received no true level of engagement in return. They harmed their subscribers by removing our services from their platforms, which is an unfortunate and damaging tactic that Dish resorts to time and time again. AT&T has not been involved in these talks and HBO would like nothing more than to restore HBO and Cinemax to our fans on Dish and Sling."
Game of Thrones airs on HBO at 9 p.m. ET Sundays.
Photo credit: HBO