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At 11:50pmET last night, Dish network viewers lost Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network after negotiations on a new carriage agreement failed. Fox says DISH dropped the channel “prematurely.” Dish says “21st Century Fox blocked DISH customer access” to those channels.
“It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on DISH were used as pawns by their provider, says Tim Cary, EVP of distribution for Fox News. “Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately.”
Last Sunday, Fox began running commercials directed at DISH customers. But as the midnight deadline loomed, there was no movement toward an agreement. DISH, which has about 14 million customers, pulled several Turner networks, including CNN and HLN, in October. That blackout lasted a month.
DISH says it offered a short-term contract extension that would “preserve the channels as the two parties continue to negotiate.”
“It is disappointing that, after nearly two decades without a blackout, FOX News Channel has been blocked by DISH Network,” Carry adds. “We care deeply about our viewers and hope that they will regain access to the number one cable news channel soon. We will continue to work around the clock to reach an agreement with DISH, as we have done with every other pay-TV provider for 18 years.”
In addition to the blackout of Turner networks, Dish customers in markets where CBS owns a station lost CBS programming for about 12 hour earlier this month. “This is the third time in as many months that DISH customers have suffered through a blackout due to DISH’s intransigence,” Carry says. “DISH’s record speaks for itself, and makes its rhetoric about ‘reasonable’ agreements ring hollow.”