Dish Picks a Fight With Fox

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Source: courtesy of Dish Network Corp.
After settling a dispute with CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) just a week ago, Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) faces a similar situation with Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA). The Fox network has blocked access to two of its channels — Fox News Channel and Fox Business — to Dish subscribers as the network and the satellite TV operator continue to disagree on retransmission fees and carriage.

In a press release Saturday night, Dish outlined its view of the issues:

[Fox] introduced other channels into negotiations despite those channels not being included in the contract up for renewal. … This service disruption comes despite DISH’s offer of a short-term contract extension that would preserve the channels as the two parties continue to negotiate.

A Dish executive said, “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.” For its part, Fox claims that Dish pulled the channels prematurely.

Dish has tried to stem the rise of the retransmission and carriage fees that networks charge for their channels as the TV and video industry undergoes a transformation due to the growth of streaming video companies like Netflix Inc. (NYSE: NFLX). In the flap with CBS, Dish is believed to have objected to the network’s plan to offer a digital stream of its current shows for $5.99 a month.

Dish has its own plan for a streaming service that would launch early in 2015. The satellite company reached a landmark deal earlier this year with Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) to include Disney’s children’s programming and its ESPN sports networks in a streaming package. It is not known if Dish has been trying to include Fox channels in this package, but it is hard to believe that it hasn’t at least been discussed.

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