21st Century Fox has become the latest broadcaster to have its programming pulled from the Dish Network lineup, following similar disputes by Turner Broadcasting and CBS Corp., which led to similar blackouts in the past several months.
In a statement, Dish executive Warren Schlichting noted, "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. 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."
Fox, on the other hand, claimed that Dish pulled the plug on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.
"They did not want to accept terms and commitments that have become customary in a Fox News renewal," Tim Carry, the Fox News executive heading up distribution, told The Wall Street Journal. Carry went on to tell CNET, "It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider. Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately."
According to Dish, the problem is that Fox introduced channels into the negotiations that are not up for renewal to get higher rates across the board. Dish also claimed that it offered a short-term contract extension that would have kept the channels on the air while negotiations continued.
Fox, however, countered that Dish was blocking the channels, and is urging subscribers to switch to another provider. Both companies have put up websites aimed at swaying consumer opinion to their side.