Dish accuses Fox of ‘force bundling’ as channel blackout ensues

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Dish said that it offered a short-term contract extension to Fox that would include a retroactive true-up when new rates were agreed upon and would keep Fox channels on Dish. (Pixabay)

Dish Network and Fox are locked in a carriage dispute that has resulted in Dish and Sling TV subscribers losing access to local broadcast and cable channels.

Dish accused Fox of demanding double-digit percentage rate increases for continued carriage of its local channels and also attempting to “force bundle” its local channels and unrelated cable networks to “get more money and gain negotiating leverage.”

“Taken together, Fox’s actions are profoundly anti-consumer,” said Andy LeCuyer, senior vice president of programming at Dish, in a statement. “Fox is raising prices and turning its back on its public obligation to provide channels to consumers for free. It’s clear that Fox cares more about padding its bottom line than serving its viewers.”

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The blackout affects local channels in 17 markets across 23 states and the District of Columbia along with FS1, FS2, Big 10 Network, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes.

RELATED: How the HBO blackout on Dish might impact the DOJ's appeal of AT&T's Time Warner merger

Fox responded to Dish and accused the satellite operator of negotiating tactics that negatively impact its subscribers.

“Dish/Sling elected to drop Fox networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is Dish/Sling’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement.

Dish said that it offered a short-term contract extension to Fox that would include a retroactive true-up when new rates were agreed upon and would keep Fox channels on Dish.

“Fox had nothing to lose and consumers had everything to gain by leaving its channels up,” said LeCuyer. “Instead, Fox chose to harm its own viewers.”

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