Fox Networks Group has become the latest to challenge the nation’s No. 2 cable company over its carriage fees. The division that includes FX Networks, National Geographic, Fox Sports and 19 regional sports networks fired a shot across the bow today, warning it could cut off access to Charter’s 16 million Spectrum subscribers as early as Saturday.
“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,” the Fox group said in a statement (read it in full below). The dispute does not include the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel or Fox Business.
The Fox unit has put up a site, KeepMyNets.com, and began running an ad in impacted markets (see it above). The networks in a statement pushed the fact a potential blackout would come as the NBA and NHL playoffs get underway and with the arrival of baseball season, and as per usual the site offers links to alternate providers.
“Fox is trying to gouge our customers using the increasingly common tactic of threats and removal of programming,” Charter said in a statement. “They are attempting to extort Charter for hundreds of millions of dollars. We will continue to work towards a fair agreement.”
Last month, Univision pulled down its Univision, Unimás, Galavisión, Univision Deportes and El Rey signals from Charter Spectrum’s service and its more than 2.5 million Hispanic customers. A temporary restraining order restored them the next day.
Univision said in a lawsuit that its 2014 carriage deal with Charter provided that the rates of an acquired company would stay in place until the end of the calendar year. At that point, the rates Charter had negotiated would apply to all of its customers. TWC was larger than Charter before they combined, which apparently enabled it to secure lower rates.
Here’s the Fox Network statement today:
Fox and Charter Spectrum have an agreement to carry the Fox networks that Charter has chosen to ignore. 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.