Fox News Viewers Wage War on Dish: Thousands Call to Complain, Disconnect

By Mark Joyella 

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FNCdishDish customers lost Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network Saturday night, as talks between the network and satellite provider collapsed.

Since late Saturday night, talks have stopped. Fox News EVP of distribution Tim Carry tells TVNewser “our phone line is open, we’re willing to talk. Am I negotiating right now? I’m not.”

Fox viewers, however, are fully engaged. Since 6 a.m. Sunday, over 12,000 calls have been placed to Fox–and 7,000 of them asked to be connected to Dish to disconnect their service. The network reports 22,000 viewer emails have been sent to Dish to object to the Fox blackout, and viewers have swarmed the Dish Facebook page. Fox’s Carry says Dish has agitated a very powerful audience. “Relative to any other fight they’ve had, they’ve never had a viewer as personally invested as Fox News. Our viewers are invested. They have a personal relationship with us.”

Dish, however, insists it’s Fox that has forced the two sides apart. “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,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish Network’s SVP of programming. “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 argues Dish has simply failed to change with the times–which are changing dramatically.”When you won’t accept that businesses evolve, that relationships and partnerships evolve. And the way we deliver content changes. And we both need to adapt. Dish hasn’t changed its packaging since 1993. That kind of marketing and that kind of packaging is outdated.”

Carry says Fox’s negotiating team knew this would be tough, deciding to do something they’d never done before: warn viewers they might lose their access to Fox News. “That’s why we messaged out seven days ago that this might happen.” Fox fans got the message, and they are clearly in action.

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