(Updated at 6:40 p.m. (ET))
After nearly a month of darkness, Dish Network LLC and Fox News Network LLC have reached a multiyear agreement that will restore the cable news leader and its flanking service, Fox Business Network, to the No. 2 DBS provider's air.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The networks began returning to Dish's air around 6 p.m. (ET), and full restoration was expected to take place over a couple of hours.
The parties disconnected late on Dec. 20. Fox officials said Dish dropped the signals for the two network at 11:50 p.m., 10 minutes ahead of the expiration of their contract, while Dish maintained that Fox pulled the plug and introduced a third unrelated service into the discussions. Reports have suggested that network was either Fox Sports 1, which launched on Aug. 17, 2013, or FX spinoff, FXX, which bowed a couple of weeks later.
Sources familiar with the negotiations, though, maintain the new deal only pertains to the carriage of FNC and FBN. The business channel gained incremental distribution through the pact, advancing to packaging more equivalent to FNC's
For its part, the cable news leader was able to secure a major increase in its monthly license fee, which is among the tops cable in the $1,50 range.
Dish CEO Charlie Ergen in a Christmas Eve video that ran on the Dishstandsforyou.com website said that Fox News had been seeking twice its rate, a hike the executive said was somewhat justified given its industry status. Fox News led the cable news category in total audience and the so-called news demo of adults 25 to 54 by wide margins in 2014. The deliveries marked the13th consecutive year FNC set the pace in the category.
The deal does not open the door for FNC or FBN to become part of Dish's OTT service, Sling TV, according to the sources.
Tim Carry, Fox News and Fox Business executive vice president of distribution, and Warren Schlichting, Dish senior vice president of programming jointly stated: “We thank the viewers of Fox News and Fox Business and Dish customers for their patience throughout this process.”
Carry estimated that the blackout of Fox News had cost Dish about 90,000 subscribers through Jan. 7.
Before the companies issued the announcement on Thursday evening, Ergen in a video message on the company's aforementioned website indicated that the parties had agreed to major terms of a new pact and that they were finalizing contractual details.
"We are pleased to announce that Dish and Fox have agreed to the major terms of a new long term agreement that will restore Fox News and Fox Business to our customers. We are working with Fox on a few contractual details but we are optimistic that these channels will be restored very quickly," Ergen said in the video.
Hear Ergen here.
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