Dish customers are in the midst of another channel blackout — hardly an unusual occurrence for the feisty satellite TV provider. This time it's Fox News Channel and Fox Business that are missing from your lineup. The two channels went dark last night as both sides, Dish and 21st Century Fox, failed to come to terms and renew their contract.
As usual for these sorts of negotiations, both were quick to blame each other for causing the channels to go off air. Dish, in a press release, said that Fox "blocked customer access ... as the media conglomerate introduced other channels into negotiations despite those channels not being included in the contract up for renewal." It's not clear which channels, if any, Fox sought to bundle with the negotiations, but Fox Sports 1 and FXX are likely candidates. Dish was also quick to note that the company offered "a short-term contract extension that would preserve the channels as the two parties continue to negotiate," but Fox apparently rejected that offer.
Fox and Dish can't agree on basic facts
Fox counters that narrative. In a statement, Tim Carry, a Fox News Channel vice president, said, "It is disappointing that, after nearly two decades without a blackout, Fox News Channel has been blocked by Dish." He continued, "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."
The two sides can't seem to agree on the facts of what's transpired, so it's become a veritable he said, she said. Fox's Carry explains that "Fox News Channel did not disconnect Dish, rather, Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations." He added, "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."
In the past year, CBS and Turner (CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT) have both gone through spats with Dish over contract negotiations. Both times the channels were briefly dropped as a negotiations failed.