If you’re a satellite dish subscriber, don’t expect to watch your favorite news channel this holiday season.
Just days before Christmas, Dish Network Corp. announced Saturday it dropped the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new distribution pact, despite several weeks of negotiation, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dish, which has 14 million U.S. subscribers, accused Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox Inc., of using the negotiations to charge other entertainment and sports channels higher fees. Those contract requests had not expired, nor were they part of the Fox News or Fox Business agreements, the Journal reported.
Dish’s senior vice president of programming, Warren Schlichting, insinuated that Fox used unethical negotiation tactics, according to Inquisitor.com.
“Tonight, 21st Century Fox, Inc. blocked DISH customer access to Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, as the media conglomerate introduced other channels into negotiations despite those channels not being included in the contract up for renewal,” Schlichting told Inquisitor.com. “It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well. Fox blacked out two of its news channels, using them as leverage to triple rates on sports and entertainment channels that are not in this contract. … DISH has had a productive relationship with Fox for many years. We regret the service disruption to our customers, and remain committed to reaching an agreement that promptly returns this content to DISH’s programming lineup.”
Dish also found itself at odds with Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System and CBS Corp., resulting in brief outages of popular cable outlets like CNN and Cartoon Network. CBS was blacked out from Dish broadcasting for several hours earlier this month, but the network returned to the system after the two parties quickly came to terms.
Executive Vice President of Distribution for FOX News,Tim Carry, released the following statement:
“It is disappointing that, after nearly two decades without a blackout, FOX News Channel has been blocked by DISH Network. We care deeply about our viewers and hope that they will regain access to the number one cable news channel soon. We will continue to work around the clock to reach an agreement with DISH, as we have done with every other pay-TV provider for 18 years. This is the third time in as many months that DISH customers have suffered through a blackout due to DISH’s intransigence. DISH’s record speaks for itself, and makes its rhetoric about ‘reasonable’ agreements ring hollow.”
“Fox News Channel did not disconnect Dish, rather, Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations. It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider. Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately.”
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