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Fox on Sunday began airing a crawl across some of its channels, warning viewers that come midnight Dec. 2 they could lose access to some of their “favorite Fox programming” if the company can’t reach a “fair agreement” with DirecTV. Ahead of the expiration of a Fox/DirecTV carriage deal, the two companies are continuing active talks.
“Fox remains committed to reaching a fair agreement with DirecTV for the continued distribution of our networks,” the company said in a statement Sunday. “Despite our best efforts for months, we regret that DirecTV continues to demand unprecedented special treatment that represents a wholesale change to our long-standing relationship and is out of step with marketplace terms.”
Fox said in the statement that the network felt compelled to alert viewers because, if negotiations were to fall through, they would no longer be able to see the likes of NFL and the Big Ten College Football Championship on Fox, the FIFA World Cup on Fox and FS1, Fox local news and more.
“While Fox continues to seek an agreement benefiting all parties, our priority is ensuring viewers’ ability to access all Fox Sports, Fox Entertainment and local Fox station programming,” continued the statement. The company concluded by encouraging DirecTV subscribers to visit KeepFox.com, a website that tells subscribers how they can contact the cable network in order to keep their channels.
The potential expiration would apply to FS1, FS1, Big Ten Network, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer Plus (PPV) and the Fox owned-and-operated local stations. Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network would remain available.
In October, Fox faced a similar situation with Altice cable network, where the companies were deadlocked over fees. That dispute, which was settled, came shortly after significant carriage fights between Dish Network and Disney-owned channels like ABC, ESPN and FX, and Roku and the National Cable Television Cooperative. The last time Fox pulled signals was with Dish Network in 2019 when stations were down for 10 days.
In a statement on Monday, DirecTV pushed back in a statement that criticized Fox’s “tired programmer scare tactics of putting customers into the middle of contract renewals,” and echoed they are working hard to reach an agreement.
“At this point, any interruption of Fox programming depends solely on Fox alone,” said DirecTV in the statement. “DirecTV has no intention to remove any Fox content. The best way for everyone to ‘Keep Fox’ is for Fox to keep making it available themselves.”
Adding, “Based on our excellent track record with Fox, we’re confident we’ll come to terms ahead of any potential disruption. In fact, we’ve renewed nearly 200 local FOX stations much like these over the last few years.”
The statement continued, “Unfortunately, the same old, tired programmer scare tactics of putting customers into the middle of contract renewals tend to die hard. Fox invented this tactic back at the turn of the century, and has a long, long history of aggravating consumers to help try to boost their guaranteed rates, while most renewals are typically resolved without any interruptions. Just last month, Fox alerted Altice USA customers, only to settle without removing signals, while the same is true of other recent Fox renewals with Roku and the National Cable Television Cooperative, among others.”
Nov. 28, 8:15 a.m. Updated to include DirecTV statement.
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