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Dish, Fox News Impasse Exceeds A Week - Multichannel

Dish, Fox News Impasse Exceeds A Week

No Talks, But Rhetoric Rises as Blackout Continues
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Now more than a week since their disconnect, there doesn’t appear to be any immediate resolution in sight in the Dish Network-Fox News Channel stalemate.

On Sunday afternoon, officials at Fox News said there weren’t any negotiations between the parties, and that viewers of the services were making their displeasure and intent to switch providers known via phone and social media. 

Dish declined to comment on the situation on Sunday.

The cable news category leader and flanking service Fox Business Network have been dark on the No. 2 DBS provider’s air since late on Dec. 20.

Fox officials say Dish dropped the signals for the two networks at 11:50 p.m. that night, 10 minutes ahead of the expiration of their contract. Dish maintains that it is Fox that pulled the plug and introduced a third unrelated service into the discussions. Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution for FNC and FBN, said Dish’s characterization of that scenario to its subscribers on its website is untrue.

On Christmas Eve, Dish chairman Charlie Ergen via a video on Dishstandsforyou.com apologized to the company’s customers for the interruption of the service and noted the parties longstanding relationship.

In the video, Ergen said the parties were nearing a deal, even though Fox News was looking for an increase doubling its rate – a hike he said was somewhat justified given its leadership status in the space.

The talks, though, broke down when Fox introduced a third network into the conversation, for which it was eyeing a “surcharge” that would have trebled the cost for a service that was not scheduled to expire “for some time.” Ergen didn’t identify the service.

He continued by saying: “The result of this tactic is Fox News became hostage to an unrelated channel, where the price increase was not justified by our existing contract, or its viewership. Ironically, Fox News would be first to decry this type of deal making.Imagine if your federal taxes were suddenly increased dramatically, or you were taxed in a state you did not live in. There was nothing about this extortion attempt that was fair – or balanced. Rather, it was greedy, arrogant, and disrespectful to you, their loyal viewer.”

On the day after Christmas, Fox News issued the following retort on its Facebook page:

"Dish customers: Since Dish dropped Fox News, Dish has focused on shifting blame instead of getting Fox News back on the air. But the facts speak for themselves - Dish has blocked more than 10 channels in the last six months alone. We continue to work on resolving this situation, but until Dish is responsive, we are unable to update you on when Fox News will be available. Go to www.KeepFoxNews.com to get the latest and to find alternate providers in your area where you can get Fox News."

On Sunday, Fox News cited a number of digital metrics, where viewers have voiced their support for the networks and are looking to change providers to regain their channels.

Calls to the 800 line since word of the possible disconnect was disseminated have totaled 186,323, with 62,082 coming since the drop. A total of 121,719 calls were transferred to Dish through Sunday morning, 34,857 since the drop.

The number of emails to Dish originating from keepfoxnews.com has reached 147,000, 45,000 of which have occurred since the disconnect.

All told, there have been 901,000 unique users, 1.1 million visits and  1.6 million pageviews. Since the blackout there have been 525,000 unique users, 626,000 total visits and 939,000 pageviews.

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