Fox Networks Group threatens Charter with blackout

A Fox Networks TV ad warned that FX, Fox Sports, Fox regional sports networks and the National Geographic Channel could all be “gone” without an immediate renewal deal with Charter Communications.(Fox Networks Group)

In keeping with the loud, in-your-face culture of its corporate parent, Fox Networks Group released a loud, in-your-face ad campaign warning Charter Communications customers that they’re about to black out their channels on the MSO if a new carriage deal isn’t made. 

A Fox Networks TV ad warned that FX, Fox Sports, Fox regional sports networks and the National Geographic Channel could all be “gone” without an immediate renewal deal. 

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“Fox and Charter Spectrum have an agreement to carry the Fox networks that Charter has chosen to ignore,” Fox said in a statement. 

“We are disappointed that despite our best efforts over many months to resolve the situation without disruption, Charter’s 16 million subscribers may lose access to a wide variety of programming, including telecasts of the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cincinnati Reds and many other MLB, NBA and NHL teams on Fox Regional Sports Networks, FX’s hit dramas 'The Americans' and 'Feud,' and 'National Geographic,'” Fox added.

Charter responded, “Fox is trying to gouge our customers using the increasingly common tactic of threats and removal of programming. They are attempting to extort Charter for hundreds of millions of dollars. We will continue to work towards a fair agreement.”

According to Variety, the dispute centers around the agreement Fox Networks Group carved out several years ago with Time Warner Cable, and not its legacy contract with Charter. 

That TWC deal, inherited by Charter last year when it closed on TWC, expired at the end of March. Charter has been paying carriage rates based on TWC’s superior contract terms—a strategy that has resulted in lawsuits from Univision and Fox Networks sibling Fox News, among others. 

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