If You Have This Popular TV Provider, Prepare to Lose Access to Fox Channels on Friday
A contract dispute could send them off the air by the end of the week.
While television may still provide us with the addictive scripted dramas, up-to-the-minute live news, and guilty pleasure reality shows we all crave, the last decade has transformed how we access our favorite programming. On the one hand, the constantly changing landscape of traditional cable and streaming providers has arguably made it easier to save a little money by only paying for the type of content you're interested in.
But the splintering of services has also made it harder to stay on top of keeping your favorite shows and channels in some ways, especially as new options pop up and programming shuffles from one place to another. And now, customers of one popular TV provider could be about to lose access to Fox channels by the end of the week. Read on to see if you're about to get cut off from some of your must-watch shows.
Contract disputes between TV providers and networks are not new.
For viewers, getting the television programming you want is as easy as turning on your set and hopefully finding what you're looking for as soon as possible. But on the inside, TV operates as a complicated arrangement between the studio and networks that produce the content you crave and the large cable, satellite, and now streaming providers who carry them. And while agreements between the two parties typically carry on unnoticed by the average viewer, hiccups do happen that can leave them in the dark.
Contract disputes between carriers and networks have resulted in numerous channel outages in recent years as the traditional broadcast landscape continues to change. One of the latest examples involves popular provider Verizon, which told its Fios TV customers it was struggling in negotiations with Nexstar Media Group in October. The dispute blacked out 15 different channels—including local CBS, ABC, C.W., NBC, and Fox stations—in twelve major metro markets across the U.S. before the two parties reached an agreement at the end of the month, The Providence Journal reports.
Fox also recently found itself embroiled in a carrier conundrum. Last month, TV provider Altice warned its Optimum cable service customers that it would drop all of the network's channels due to Fox's demand for a fee increase before the companies reached a last-minute deal. But now, the popular network finds itself on the outs with yet another company.
A popular TV provider could lose access to Fox channels by the end of the week.
On Nov. 27, Fox began warning DirecTV customers via a scrawl on its channels that they were at risk of losing their "favorite Fox programming" due to an ongoing contract dispute with the TV provider, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Viewers will lose access when the current contract expires at midnight on Dec. 2.
The move would affect all DirecTV customers, which currently boasts more than 13 million subscribers, Deadline reports. This also includes DirecTV Stream and U-Verse subscriptions.
"Fox remains committed to reaching a fair agreement with DirecTV for the continued distribution of our networks," the company said in a statement released on Nov. 27. "Despite our best efforts for months, we regret that DirecTV continues to demand unprecedented special treatment that represents a wholesale change to our long-standing relationship and is out of step with marketplace terms."
The channel blackout would affect some of the network's popular programming.
Subscribers could soon lose access to some of the network's most sought-after content if negotiations don't move forward. DirecTV customers will lose popular Fox channels FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, Fox Deportes, and pay-per-view service Fox Soccer Plus, as well as all Fox-operated local affiliates, Deadline reports.
The potential move is a major blow to sports fans in particular, as it will deprive customers of access to FIFA World Cup tournament matches, Big Ten College Football Championship games, and NFL coverage on the network, USA Today reports. However, the carrier clarified that any outages would not affect the nationally broadcasted Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network.
DirecTV says it's still negotiating with Fox to avoid any service interruption.
For now, Fox is directing its customers to its dedicated "Keep Fox" website, which encourages subscribers to contact DirecTV and urge the company to accept a deal and save the channels from an outage. But the carrier says it's standing firm in negotiations.
"At this point, any interruption of Fox programming depends solely on Fox alone," Nick Ammazzalorso, a DirecTV spokesperson, said in a statement released to USA Today. "DirecTV has no intention to remove any Fox content. The best way for everyone to 'Keep Fox' is for Fox to keep making it available themselves."
"Unfortunately, the same old, tired programmer scare tactics of putting customers into the middle of contract renewals tend to die hard," the statement continued. "Fox invented this tactic back at the turn of the century, and has a long, long history of aggravating consumers to help try to boost their guaranteed rates, while most renewals are typically resolved without any interruptions. Just last month, Fox alerted Altice USA customers, only to settle without removing signals, while the same is true of other recent Fox renewals with Roku and the National Cable Television Cooperative, among others."