Bill O'Reilly Charges Dish Network With Censorship

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Source: courtesy of Dish Network Corp.
The retransmission pricing dispute between satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) and the Fox News division of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOX) has resulted in a three-week blackout (so far) of Fox News programming for Dish subscribers. Fox News turned up the heat over the weekend, accusing Dish of censoring content.

Both Fox News and Fox Business are affected by the blackout, which began in late December when the two companies broke off contract negotiations. Dish had a similar dispute with CNN in November that kept that channel off the network for a month as well.

Fox produced a 30-second commercial that aired during the weekend’s NFL games encouraging viewers to drop Dish Network and switch providers. In the commercial and on its Keep Fox News website, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly accuses Dish of “censoring your news!”

According to report at Multichannel News, a Fox executive claims that as of last Friday, Dish has lost 90,000 subscribers since the blackout began. He also said that a total of 350,000 people have called or visited the Fox website, presumably seeking information on switching pay-TV providers. Dish reported 14 million subscribers in its most recent financial report.

Fox claims that Dish dropped the news channels just ahead of the contract expiration at midnight on December 20. Dish counters that Fox pulled the plug. The two parties have reportedly had no contact since.

Dish has said that a deal was within reach, even though Fox was seeking to double its carriage fees. Then, the satellite provider claims, Fox sought to add a third channel and triple the cost. Some observers believe the third channel was Fox Sports 1 or FXX. Fox claims the blackout is tied only to the two news channels.

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