Fox Stations, Cable Nets Blacked Out on Dish

Fox’s stations and cable networks were blacked out Thursday on Dish Network in a dispute over retransmission consent and carriage fees.

The blackout affects stations in 17 markets across 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Subscribers to Dish and its Sling streaming services are also unable to receive Fox cable networks including FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes. Fox News is under a separate distribution agreement.

Fox and Dish had been operating under an extension of their previous deal. Both sides pointed the finger at the other in terms of who pulled the plug.

Dish claimed that Fox is demanding a double-digit percentage rate increase. Fox is also attempting to force Dish to “bundle” its cable networks with its stations, the satellite company said.

"Taken together, Fox's actions are profoundly anti-consumer," said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior VP of programming. "Fox is raising prices and turning its back on its public obligation to provide channels to consumers for free. It's clear that Fox cares more about padding its bottom line than serving its viewers."

Fox pointed to Dish's history of carriage fee disputes and blackouts. The satellite company now is not carrying HBO and had a long-running dispute with Univision.

“Dish/Sling is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers," a Fox spokesperson said. Dish/Sling elected to drop Fox networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is Dish/Sling’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider.”

The dispute comes in the middle of football season, putting maximum pressure on Dish.

"To add insult to injury, Fox pulled its channels right as viewers head into the heart of the NFL and college football season," continued LeCuyer. "We ask Fox to stop punishing its own viewers so we can focus on reaching a fair deal."

Dish is also operating on an extension with FX and National Geographic Channel, network acquired by The Walt Disney Co. when it bought 21st Century Fox.

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.