Fox Corporation and Dish ended a programming blackout Sunday that had kept thousands of the satellite-provider’s subscribers from watching “Thursday Night Football” and other Fox network favorites for the past week or so.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Dish and Sling, and they are immediately restoring their subscribers’ access to the Fox networks and television stations,” Fox said in a statement. ” We are grateful to our viewers for their patience during this disruption.” In a statement, Dish added: “We appreciate our customers’ patience as we worked to reach a long-term agreement that restores the Fox networks and local broadcast stations.”
The blackout, which started September 26, had affected Fox’s owned-and-operated local stations, as well as FS1, FS2, BTN, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes. Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network are presently governed under a separate agreement. The new deal was described as a “multi-year” agreement but financial terms were not disclosed.
The fight between Dish and Fox grew so heated it even involved the National Football League. Fox’s “Thursday Night Football” is usually simulcast on the NFL Network as part of a broader agreement between the league and Fox Broadcasting, but the NFL last week declined to make its cable broadcast available to subscribers of Dish or Sling, a means of protecting Fox’s flagship telecast.
The now-resolved communication contretemps is just the latest to erupt in recent months between a programmer and a distributor, and is another sign of the increasing reliance both have on contracts for content at at time when consumers are migrating to other ways of watching video. As more TV viewers adopt streaming video and watch programs on-demand, Fox has had to contend with ebbs in ratings, while Dish, like other distributors, must fight against subscribers opting for other means of accessing video favorites.
AT&T and CBS recently solved a contract dispute involving the popular broadcast network and the DirecTV satellite service, while Dish is currently enmeshed in a blackout with the former Fox regional sports networks, a group of cable networks that is now controlled by Sinclair Broadcast Group through an investment entity that includes other partners. Dish and AT&T’s HBO have been at loggerheads for months, a move that rendered the recent final season of “Game of Thrones” unwatchable for subscribers to the satellite service.
In other cases, the two sides have been able to settle differences without resorting to public feuds. On Friday, Fox Corp. and Cox Communications unveiled a new deal for carriage of Fox TV stations as well as Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, BTN, and Fox Deportes.