Analysis: News Corp. Threatens to Bring Fox and Fox News Channel Into DirecTV Spat

By Alex Weprin Comment

In case you aren’t caught up, November 1 (that’s tomorrow) DirecTV will drop a slew of News Corp.’s cable channels, including FX, SPEED, National Geographic Channel, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Deportes, FUEL TV, Fox Movie Channel and the Fox Sports Networks unless the two sides come to an agreement on a new carriage deal.

Now, News Corp. is bringing up the threat of losing Fox and Fox News Channel if a deal isn’t reached soon. To be clear, Fox and FNC will not be going off of DirecTV in the immediate future, so NFL and political junkies shouldn’t fret just yet. That having been said, it is possible that by Jan.1, if a deal isn’t reached, DirecTV customers could be without the broadcast networks and cable news channel.

If you want News Corp.’s view on the DirecTV spat, click here. For DirecTV’s take, click here.

Analysis is after the jump.

The disagreement is the latest spat between a big media content company (News Corp.) and a big media distributor (DirecTV). Do you like “The O’Reilly Factor” on FNC? Good, now pay up for SPEED Channel and Fox Soccer Channel. Do you live to “keep them honest” on CNN? Great! Now pay for Cartoon Network. Are you a fan of Rachel Maddow? Terrific, now be sure to pay for Style Network and Cloo.

The content companies want higher fees from their channels, both for popular networks like TBS or Fox News, as well as not-so-popular ones like Fox Movie Channel or Chiller. Distributors meanwhile are expressing serious concerns over the practice, as customers threaten to cancel their cable or satellite subscriptions in favor of alternatives like Netflix.

As Brian Stelter reports in the New York Times, those who have cut the cord so far seem to be mostly low-income households:

Even as Internet video viewing increases, the vast majority of American households are still paying for television subscriptions and watching most video that way. Those who are canceling are doing so, it seems, because of poverty, not improved technology.

So far, customers have not left pay-TV en masse, but as prices continue to rise and alternatives improve, it is an option that will surely be on more families tables.