Dish Faces More Blackout Troubles

Less than a week after 17 stations owned and operated by Meredith Corp. went dark to its customers, Dish Network is facing another potential blackout, this time from five networks recently acquired by content behemoth The Walt Disney Co.

FX original series 'Atlanta'

FX original series 'Atlanta'

Disney networks National Geographic, FX, FXX, FXM and NatGeo Wild are warning customers that they could go dark at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on Sunday July 21 if they don’t reach a deal with Dish.

“Our contract with Dish for the FX and National Geographic networks is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming,” NatGeo and FX said in a statement. “However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so.”

Disney purchased the channels as part of its $71.3 billion purchase of certain 21st Century Fox assets in March. 

For Dish, this is the second warning its customers have received of potential blackouts in less than a week. On July 15, Meredith Corp. gave Dish a one-day extension to try to hammer out a retransmission consent deal, but when that deal failed to materialize, the stations went dark on July 16. 

The month of July has been an active one for retrans disputes -- Nexstar Media Group pulled the signals for 126 stations in 97 markets from DirecTV, DirecTV Now and AT&T U-Verse customers on July 3, less than a week after 17 stations in 14 markets pulled the plug. On July 19, about 19 CBS stations went dark to AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV Now customers.  In addition, DirecTV Now customers lost access to CBS network programming and the Smithsonian Channel, while DirecTV customers also lost access to CBS Sports Network.