On Saturday, December 20, the satellite TV provider Dish Network blocked the Fox News and Fox Business channels after failing to reach a compromise in their contract negotiations. A bitter war of words had been exchanged between the two camps who have been trying to iron the kinks for a new contract the past couple of weeks. Dish Network’s Senior Vice President of Programming, Warren Schlichting, issued a statement accusing Fox of attempting to increase fees for sports and entertainment channels that weren’t included in the initial contract negotiation.
“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,” Schlichting explained in the statement. “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.” Fox denied the claims, blaming Dish Network instead for prematurely blocking the two channels.
— Bidness Etc (@Bidnessetc) December 23, 2014
“Fox News Channel did not disconnect Dish, rather, Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations,” Fox New Channel’s Vice President, Tim Carry, said. “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.”
“It is disappointing that, after nearly two decades without a blackout, Fox News Channel has been blocked by Dish,” Carry added. “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.”
Carry was referring to Dish Network’s track record of disputes with other networks in recent months. Earlier this month, CBS pulled its programming from Dish Network after talks broke down between the two. Back in October, Turner also had disputes with the satellite TV provider after their contract expired, which left subscribers without access to Turner-owned channels like CNN, TNT, HLN, and TBS. However, the disputes with CBS and Turner were recently solved when the provider struck new deals with the networks.
Dish Network currently has more than 14 million customers. However, this recent Fox News blocking may prove to be bad for business. According to comments on various consumer websites, some customers are already talking about switching to other providers, which is something that Fox has been pushing the past couple of days.
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