Satellite-TV provider Dish Network dropped the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network on Saturday night after the companies couldn’t come to terms on a new distribution contract, reports TVNewser.
According to Fox Executive Vice President of Distribution Tim Carry, contract talks have broken off and nothing is happening, depriving Dish's 14 million subscribers of Fox News' "fair and balanced" approach to current event coverage.
"Our phone line is open, we’re willing to talk," Carry said. "Am I negotiating right now? I’m not.”
Executives at Dish say Fox is playing hardball with them by attempting to use the news channel as leverage to increase fees for their sports and entertainment channels normally covered by separate contracts.
“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 Network’s 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.”
Carry disagrees, saying Dish refuses to accept the same deal other major pay-TV distributors have agreed to.
“They did not want to accept terms and commitments that have become customary in a Fox News renewal,” Carry said.
In the meantime, Fox is using Facebook to reach Dish subscribers, directing viewers to a separate Facebook page called "Keep Fox News."
On both Fox Facebook accounts, they posted: "#Attention DISH Customers: DISH has blocked Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. Despite the undeniable demand, you can no longer watch The O’Reilly Factor, The Kelly File, Hannity or Fox & Friends. Don’t let DISH control the news you watch! Make the switch to another TV provider NOW. www.KeepFoxNews.com "
According to Fox, they have received over 12,000 calls about the blackout, with 7,000 asking to be connected to Dish to disconnect their service. The network also states 22,000 viewer emails have been sent to Dish about the blackout, with reports of viewers inundating the Dish Facebook page with complaints.
Said Fox's Carry, “Relative to any other fight they’ve had, they’ve never had a viewer as personally invested as Fox News. Our viewers are invested. They have a personal relationship with us.”