What did you watch this weekend? If you have Dish, it wasn’t Fox News.
After contract negotiations came to a halt between 21st Century Fox and Dish Network, the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network went dark for Dish customers on Saturday and remain dark still.
21st Century Fox is the parent company of FNC and FBN, as well as several sports and entertainment channels. Dish Network is a satellite TV provider with more than 14 million customers and – until recently – a distributor of Fox.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a “senior Fox News executive” told them that “there are currently no talks between the two companies.”
Contract negotiation between Dish Network and 21st Century Fox stalled when Dish refused a fee increase for Fox’s other channels, a price Fox calls standard for the changing news industry.
Warren Schlichting, the senior vice president of programming at Dish, said in a statement that “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 accused Fox of using its news channels as “leverage to triple rates on sports and entertainment channels that are not in this contract.”
Tim Carry, the executive vice president of distribution at Fox News Channel, told the Wall Street Journal that Dish “did not want to accept terms and commitments that have become customary in a Fox News renewal.”
In a statement, Carry added that:
“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.”
This is not the first time Dish customers have lost access to channels because of stalled negotiations. In October, channels such as CNN, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies were blacked out for a month as Dish negotiated with Turner Broadcasting. Earlier this month, customers also temporarily lost access to CBS and its affiliates.
“This is the third time in as many months that Dish customers have suffered through a blackout due to Dish’s intransigence,” Carry told the Wall Street Journal. “Dish’s record speaks for itself and makes its rhetoric about ‘reasonable’ agreements ring hollow.”
Fox launched a website, keepfoxnews.com, where it encourages Fox fans to switch TV providers. Viewers can enter their ZIP codes and discover TV providers that still offer Fox. The website also encourages Fox fans to call and email Dish to register their complaints about losing the networks, and to use the hashtag #DontBlockFOXNews.
Carry told Bloomberg that the website has “generated 22,000 e-mails and 7,000 phone calls requesting that Dish reinstate the channel.”
Dish has also launched its own website dishstandsforyou.com, where it tells customers “We regret that Fox has chosen to remove their programming from DISH customers.”