DirecTV, News Corp. Cable Channel Carriage Talks Continue as Midnight Deadline Looms

The satellite TV provider has said that it would stop carrying the networks, which include FX, National Geographic and 19 regional sports networks, if no agreement is reached by midnight PT.

NEW YORK - Talks between satellite TV giant DirecTV and News Corp.'s Fox Cable Networks unit about a new carriage deal for a slew of channels continued Monday with a looming midnight PT deadline.

Spokesmen for both sides declined comment beyond confirming that negotiations were continuing. The cable networks in question include FX, National Geographic and 19 regional sports networks.
In the latest high-profile carriage dispute, DirecTV has said that it would stop carrying the networks if an agreement is not reached by Tuesday. News Corp. has looked to bring together its various carriage deals, including one for its broadcast stations, into one agreement. Last week, DirecTV took the carriage dispute to the FCC.

BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield last week said that News Corp. has the leverage in the showdown. "DirecTV has zero leverage in the current battle with Fox and should not even be trying to fight Fox," he argued in a blog post. "DirecTV would be making a very meaningful mistake losing Fox programming."

Greenfield pointed to recent industry history. "Over the past two years, Fox (News Corp.) has experienced high profile carriage/retrans battles with Dish, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable," he said. "TWC settled just as Fox programming was about to get dropped at the start of 2010, while Dish and Cablevision went several weeks in late 2010 without programming from the Fox family of networks."


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