27 Fox Cable Channels May Be Pulled From DirecTV in Carriage Dispute

By Alex Weprin 

27 of News Corp.’s Fox cable channels may be pulled from DirecTV November 1, unless the two sides can come to a new carriage agreement. The channels include FX, National Geographic Channel, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Deportes and the 19 Fox regional sports networks.

Fox broadcasting network, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network are not affected by these negotiations, but the contentious back and forth is representative of recent carriage disputes in which cable and satellite companies are fighting back against increased carriage fees. News Corp. is said to be seeking carriage fee increases for Fox News when its upcoming deals expire, so it may soon find itself in a situation similar to its sports and entertainment focused siblings.

News Corp. COO Chase Carey served as CEO of DirecTV before returning to his current role, so he is likely intimately familiar with that company’s processes.

The news comes the same day that Fox has achieved something of a coup in the sports world. Sports Business Daily‘s John Ourand reports that Fox Sports has won the English-language rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cup. ESPN, which currently holds the rights, was believed to be the favorite. NBC-owned Telemundo won the Spanish-language rights.

Dueling statements from Fox and DirecTV, after the jump.

FOX: Despite Fox Networks’ offer of an extension during our ongoing negotiations, DirecTV has informed us and their customers that unless we agree to their demands, they “will suspend our networks on November 1.”

DirecTV sent us a proposal on Tuesday afternoon. They have given us no chance to respond before taking an unnecessarily aggressive posture and going public. It is disappointing that they have chosen bad faith tactics over meaningful negotiation.

We have proposed to keep the Fox Networks on DirecTV for the same price, and on the same terms as they are currently carried while we attempt to work out a fair agreement. Unfortunately, DirecTV has decided that unless they get their way, they are going to pull the plug on their customers November 1.

DIRECTV: DirecTV’s agreement with News Cor./Fox for some of them national cable networks and regional Fox Sports networks has expired.

News Corp. has demanded that DirecTV customers pay nearly 40% more for the same channels they already receive. If a new deal is not reached, we will be forced to suspend the channels as early as Nov.1.