DirecTV Threatens to Pull Fox Networks Amid Carriage Dispute

7:59 PM PST 10/20/2011 by Kimberly Nordyke

UPDATED: The companies' previous agreement expired Sept. 30, but there has been no progress made in the ongoing negotiations.

DirecTV has told Fox Networks that it will drop the channels Nov. 1 if the two companies don't come to an agreement in the ongoing carriage dispute.

Fox said late Thursday that it has offered an extension during the ongoing negotiations but that DirecTV "has informed us and their customers that unless we agree to their demands, they 'will suspend our networks on Nov. 1.'"

Fox added that DirecTV sent a proposal out Tuesday.

"They have given us no chance to respond before taking an unnecessarily aggressive posture and going public," Fox Networks said in a statement. "It is disappointing that they have chosen bad faith tactics over meaningful negotiation. 

"We have proposed to keep the Fox Networks on DirecTV for the same price, and on the same terms as they are currently carried while we attempt to work out a fair agreement. Unfortunately, DirecTV has decided that unless they get their way, they are going to pull the plug on their customers Nov. 1."

Meanwhile, DirecTV issued its own statement late Thursday.

"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," the company said.

According to DirecTV, Fox Networks is seeing a 40% increase in its carriage fees.

"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," the company said. "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."

Fox's carriage agreement with DirecTV expired Sept. 30. 

Fox Networks includes FX, National Geographic Channel, 19 regional sports networks, Fox Movie Channel, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes. Fox broadcast stations and Fox News Channel are not involved in the negotiations.

Fox's dispute with DirecTV marks the latest in a series of carriage disagreements for the company. Fox and its parent, News Corp., were engaged in a dispute with Cablevision a year ago, and the Fox channels were blacked out on Dish Network in October 2010 amid a dispute with the satellite TV giant.

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