AT&T and Dish’s HBO battle is the bleak future of cable and streaming

Yesterday, Dish customers lost access to HBO due to an ongoing licensing dispute between the premium cable channel and the TV distributor. It marks the first time in HBO’s 40-plus-year history that it’s gone dark. This sort of thing seems to happen every once in a while in the cable industry, but it also might be the first indication of the closed-off cable nightmare that could be in our future as companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Disney take control of ever-larger chunks of the media landscape.

HBO is owned by WarnerMedia, which was acquired as part of AT&T’s massive Time Warner acquisition earlier this year. Back when AT&T was arguing that it should be allowed to merge in the first place, one of the Department of Justice’s complaints…

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