21st Century Fox has blocked DISH customer access to Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, with the satellite operator accusing the media conglomerate of introducing other channels into negotiations, despite those channels not being included in the contract up for renewal.
“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,” said Warren Schlichting, DISH senior vice president of programming. “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.””
The service disruption – implemented on the evening of Saturday December 20 – comes despite DISH’s offer of a short-term contract extension that would preserve the channels as the two parties continue to negotiate.
“DISH has had a productive relationship with Fox for many years,” added Schlichting. “We regret the service disruption to our customers, and remain committed to reaching an agreement that promptly returns this content to DISH’s programming line-up.”
Tim Carry, EVP Distribution at Fox News Channel told deadline.com that the broadcaster was not asking DISH to do anything it hadn’t already asked for, and received agreement to, in contracts with any of its other providers.
“DISH is operating the company like they’ve always operated the company – they haven’t changed the way they package or price since 1993 and they’re trying to force programmers to continue to operate in an antiquated environment. We just asked them to do what all our other operators at this point have done. They are the only one of the big operators who aren’t providing our services like everybody else is providing them,” he claimed.
Building on Schlichting’s ‘real estate’ analogy, Carry said that he thought it was “pretty brilliant, but pretty inaccurate,” suggesting that was not what Fox was asking for and that what DISH was looking at is “a mansion, and you want to buy it like it’s a double lot”.