DirecTV may dump Fox channels

DirecTV is threatening to pull the plug on Fox cable networks next week unless a new carriage fee agreement is made.

On the DirecTV site, CEO Mike White says that Fox parent News Corp. “has demanded that DirecTV customers pay nearly 40 per cent more for the same channels they already received. If a new deal is not reached, we will be forced to suspend the channels as early as November 1st.”

Fox said that “DirecTV sent us a proposal …. they have given us no chance to respond before taking an unnecessarily aggressive posture and going public. It is disappointing that they have chosen bad faith tactics over meaningful negotiation.”

Fox says it has proposed to allow DirecTV to continue to carry its networks for the current price and terms while negotiations continue. “Unfortunately, DirecTV has decided that unless they get their way, they are going to pull the plug on their customers.”

DirecTV responded: “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.”

“They are currently asking our customers to pay 40 per cent more for the exact same Fox channels that they already receive and that’s simply unfair and unwarranted. 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.”

The networks affected include FX, National Geographic Channel, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Deportes and the 19 Fox regional sports networks.

Not affected are the Fox broadcast network and Fox News Channel.