Satellite provider Dish has reached a new distribution deal with Turner Broadcasting, which will keep networks like TBS, TNT, CNN, and Cartoon Network available for its customers. But there's bigger news. This latest agreement also includes rights to offer HBO in new ways. Dish's Sling TV service will offer HBO — the proper channel — for $15 per month. Sling confirmed the news directly with The Verge. Both HBO's linear channel and video-on-demand content will be included for the fee, which is added on top of Sling's $20 monthly base price. The Wall Street Journal first reported the new agreement between Dish and Turner. Sling isn't saying exactly when HBO will become available; it's promised to switch on the channel before the Game of Thrones season premiere, however.
Dish has also secured itself the option of selling HBO's standalone subscription video service, HBO Now, according to the Journal. If Dish opts to become a distributor for Now (which apparently isn't on the table for launch), it would join existing HBO partners Apple and Cablevision. The long-awaited service is scheduled to launch sometime this month in time for the Game of Thrones season premiere. Apple is HBO's exclusive "non-pay TV," so you won't find it on Roku, Amazon's Fire TV, or game consoles for at least three months.
Dish is unlikely to offer HBO Now at launch
But traditional pay TV providers apparently have the option of getting in sooner; Cablevision hasn't yet specified when it will start selling HBO Now service, nor has it outlined pricing. Consumers will be able to subscribe through Apple devices for $14.99 per month. HBO has told The Verge that it currently has no plans to sell subscriptions directly, offloading the responsibility to its list of partners, which could eventually include Dish. We've reached out to both Dish and Sling representatives for more details.
The new agreement extends a short-term pact that Dish and Turner struck last fall after some of the broadcaster's channels were temporarily blacked out. It would've been a bad time for another disruption, with millions of college basketball fans looking forward to the coming NCAA Final Four games on April 4th. Those will air on TBS; TNT and truTV, another Turner network, will air broadcasts of the games catered to each school.