At the last minute, News Corp. and DirecTV settled their carriage dispute, preventing any of of the Fox cable networks from being pulled from the satellite provider’s lineup.
In addition, the new deal brings Fox and Fox News Channel into the fold, so the next time the News Corp. deal comes up for renegotiation, all of the News Corp. channels will be part of it. As the Los Angeles Times‘ Joe Flint notes, DirecTV was pushing for a deal for all the channels. The company would pay news Corp. one flat fee, and News Corp. could decide how it got distributed among its channels:
Though the contracts for Fox’s local TV stations were not up until the end of the year, DirecTV did not want to have to keep negotiating new accords with News Corp. and was pushing for an all-encompassing deal, people close to the talks said. Also part of the agreement is the Fox News channel even though that contract was not due to expire until early 2012.
At least in this case, it was crisis averted, but as content companies seek higher carriage fees–including for channels that few people watch–consumers can expect many more squabbles down the line.