DirecTV Might Drop Fox Cable Channels

Fox says that DirecTV is threatening to pull the plug on its national and regional cable networks on Nov. 1 unless a new carriage fee agreement can be reached.

In a statement on a site set up by the satellite provider, DirecTV CEO Mike White says that Fox parent News Corp. "has demanded that DirecTV customers pay nearly 40% more for the same channels they already received. If a new deal is not reached, we will be forced to suspend the channels as early as Nov. 1."

White adds that "we respectfully ask for your patience as we work to achieve a fair agreement as quickly as possible."

Fox, in a press release, said that "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."

Fox says it has proposed to allow DirecTV to continue to carry its networks for the current price and terms while negotiations continue. "Unfortunately, DirecTV has decided that unless they get their way, they are going to pull the plug on their customers Nov. 1."

A Fox executive called the 40% increase figure cited by White "ridiculous."

DirecTV responded to Fox's statement with one of its own.

"After months of making little progress in our talks with News Corp. and Fox to renew our agreement to carry their regional sports networks and other national channels we've regrettably reached a point where we will be forced to suspend the channels as soon as Nov. 1 unless News Corp. is willing to move toward a more reasonable price increase," DirecTV said.

"They are currently asking our customers to pay 40% more for the exact same Fox channels that they already receive and that's simply unfair and unwarranted.  We hope to resolve this situation before any action is taken, but we will do what's necessary to protect our customers from excessive and unwarranted fee increases. We already provide News Corp. nearly a billion dollars a year for their channels, and we have no problem continuing to compensate them fairly," the statement concluded.

The networks affected 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.

Not affected are the Fox broadcast network and Fox News Channel.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.