Disney has started warning Dish Network subscribers that there is a looming contract deadline with National Geographic and FX and the networks could go dark on the satellite TV provider, according to Deadline. In a statement from Disney, they warned “Our contract with Dish for the FX and National Geographic networks is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming. However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so.”
- Dish and Disney have previously negotiated past a contract deadline in July, saying there were progress in talks but the channels remained active on the satellite provider’s system. The current deadline is 9PM PDT on Tuesday, August 28th, 2019.
- Disney officially received control of FX and National Geographic after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox, where FX and Nat Geo were assets.
- Dish has been involved in numerous carriage battles recently. Univision has gone dark before an agreement was reached last spring and HBO has remained dark after a 10 month dispute.
- According to Deadline, Dish chairman Charlie Ergen has expressed pessimism in recent remarks, but that fits a pattern where he expresses that programmers would be permanently shut down, only to then reach a deal.
- Carriage disputes have grown increasingly common as the markets for the traditional pay-TV bundle continue to change. CBS and AT&T had a similar battle over various CBS stations in 14 regional markets. AT&T and Nexstar remain at odds after more than 120 local station gave gone dark on the DirecTV satellite and U-verse cable.
What They’re Saying:
Dish/Sling TV Representative, in a statement to Deadline: “Our goal is to keep these channels available to our customers,” Dish and Sling TV said in a statement Tuesday. “Disney, the new owner of these channels, decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”