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Fox avoids blackout with DirecTV

The Fox Broadcasting logo appears on a building in Phoenix, Arizona in an undated image posted to Flickr and licensed through Creative Commons
(Photo by Tony Webster via Flickr Creative Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

Fox Corporation and pay TV provider DirecTV inked a last-minute deal that avoided a carriage dispute.

The deal came together after several days of warnings that Fox programming might be pulled from DirecTV while both sides were at odds over specific, but unrevealed, carriage terms.

On Saturday, a spokesperson for Fox confirmed DirecTV customers would not lose access to the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports 1 and around a dozen local Fox-owned broadcast stations in key markets like New York City and Los Angeles. The new deal covers the satellite service as well as DirecTV Stream and fiber-based AT&T U-Verse.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though they rarely are. However, most potential and actual carriage disputes are typically resolved with a distributor like DirecTV agreeing to pay higher fees to programmers like Fox in exchange for the rights to those channels. Those deals typically result in higher fees paid by subscribers, which has accelerated a trend of consumers moving away from cable and satellite packages.

Such was the case in early October, when Dish Network was forced to pull several cable channels owned by the Walt Disney Company, including lucrative sports network ESPN. The outage lasted about two days before the channels were restored under a handshake agreement — one that led Dish to raise prices on its satellite customers and subscribers of its streaming service, Sling TV.

Dish didn’t specifically call out Disney for the price increase, but did tell customers that rising programming costs were to blame.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).