Millions of Fox News fans who subscribe to Dish Network were shocked Sunday morning to find their favorite news channels – Fox News and Fox Business – blocked on their television sets.
Fox is no longer being carried on Dish Network due to a failure to come to terms on a new distribution contract.
This marks the third time in the past couple of months, Dish Network has blocked popular programming from its customers due to a dispute with a channel owner.
CNN and other channels owned by Turner Broadcasting were blocked for one month, this Fall, weakening CNN’s ratings. The Turner Broadcasting channels returned to the Dish lineup on November 21. Earlier this month, some CBS channels briefly went dark on Dish until the companies agreed on a new contract.
Now the most popular cable news channel in the United States has disappeared from Dish’s lineup because their contract with Fox News was allowed to expire.
Early Sunday morning, the two sides traded barbs about the reasons for the blackout, and Fox News urged its fans to switch to another television provider.
Dish replaced Fox News with The Blaze, the relatively new cable channel owned by Glenn Beck. It replaced the much smaller Fox Business Channel, which was also blacked out, with CNBC.
In its 18-year history, Fox News has never been blacked out by any major television distributor. This dispute will be particularly interesting to watch because Fox has an extraordinarily loyal audience — a “base,” so to speak, that might be motivated to drop Dish.
That’s what Fox says it wants.
“Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations,” Fox News executive vice president of distribution Tim Carry said in a statement early Sunday morning.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
“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’s senior vice president of programming.
Fox said the deal it offered Dish has been accepted by other major pay-TV distributors.
“They did not want to accept terms and commitments that have become customary in a Fox News renewal,” said Tim Carry, the Fox News executive in charge of distribution.
I’m sure there’s a bit of hardball being played on both sides, but seeing as this is the third time in the past couple of months Dish has blocked major channels from its viewers, it seems to me that there is a serious deficiency in their negotiating acumen. I don’t know how they could let something like this happen.
What I do know is – if Fox News isn’t back on my television sets by Monday, we’re dropping Dish – and I suspect – millions of other subscribers will be dropping them, too.