Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fox News dropped by Dish Network

Fox News dropped by Dish Network
Satellite company pulls No. 1 cable channel in contract dispute
WASHINGTON – No. 1-rated Fox News Channel was unceremoniously dropped by Dish Network Saturday night – surprising viewers who were told Fox had pulled the programming from the satellite TV system.

Fox climbed to the top of the ladder in cable news by offering what it calls “fair and balanced” programing – and what many progressives, including Barack Obama, call biased.

Dish used the pretext of stalled negotiations over a new distribution deal to pull the plug on both Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network – two favorites of conservatives and independent thinkers.

Dish, which has for weeks been negotiating a new carriage contract for the 21st Century Fox channels, said the channels were blocked after Fox introduced fee increases for other sports and information channels not part of the original contract.

“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,” Warren Schlichting, Dish’s senior vice president of programming, said in a statement. “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.”

While officials said they offered a short-term contract extension to keep the channels on the air, Fox claims Dish disconnected the channels “in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations.”

“It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider,” Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution at Fox News Channel, said in a statement. “Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately.”
Molly Line of the Fox News Channel

Carry’s statement pointed out Dish similarly dropped CNN, Turner Classic Movies and other channels in October – restoring them only after an extension was agreed upon in negotiations.

Dish has 14 million subscribers.

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 Carry.

Disagreements over programming fees have become common among pay-TV services. As more consumers opt for other methods of entertainment, including streaming services such as Netflix Inc., pay-TV distributors are pushing back against content companies’ demands for fee increases. Programmers counter that their costs are rising, too, and they need increased subscriber fees to pay for sports and entertainment.

Besides negotiating fees and additional channels, Fox and Dish were also reportedly trying to resolve a legal dispute over Dish’s digital video recorder, which includes a special commercial-skipping feature. Dish is also seeking rights to Fox-owned channels for a new Internet video service it is launching.

Note: Readers can email Dish CEO Joseph Clayton here.

Fox News
Media Matters monitors Fox News.

Note: Foundation to Promote Open Society was a funder for Media Matters, the Center for American Progress, and the Committee for Economic Development.
George Soros was the chairman for the Foundation to Promote Open Society, and a supporter for the Center for American Progress.
DISH Network Corporation was a funder for the Center for American Progress.
Joseph P. Clayton is a director & president & CEO for the DISH Network Corporation, and a trustee at the Committee for Economic Development.
Donna S. Morea was a trustee at the Committee for Economic Development, and the EVP for the CGI Group Inc.
CGI Group Inc. was the Obamacare contractor that developed web site.
Obamacare is Barack Obama’s signature policy initiative.

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