December 21, 2014. As part of contract negotiations, Dish Network officially removed Fox News Channel from their line up. Dish claims that Fox introduced new channels into the negotiations just as the existing contract was about to expire and they (Dish) are merely refusing to address those as a part and parcel deal with the existing Fox News and Fox Business Channels.
The two channels, FXX and FS1, are new to the Fox brand. Dish claims Fox News is trying to drive up the carriage fees for the new channels. Fox contends that Dish has a history of unreasonable behavior related to new channels.
According to Fox, the deal they are seeking is virtually identical to those they hold with other satellite and cable providers. The two entities are seemingly at an impasse and now Dish customers cannot watch Fox News or Fox Business.
The ratings are in, and it would appear the Fox News Network has suffered from the black out. Comparing week to week, however, it is unclear if the lower numbers are attributable to the normal fall off recorded in years past, or actually the result of these negotiations.
Dish has a 13.4 percent share of the pay-TV market. Fox News’ ratings dropped, in comparison to last year, by just over 12%.
2013: Christmas week, 1.087m total prime-time viewers, 25-54 demographic = 179K
2014: Christmas week, 949K total prime-time viewers, 25-54 demographic = 163K
Fox executives, however, indicate than when comparing the week before Christmas with Christmas week, 2013 and 2014 are not dissimilar in that 2013 showed a 43% drop between the two weeks and 2014’s number is 44%. Likewise, other year to year comparisons of percentages are practically identical.
What does this mean? Fox did experience a drop in viewership during the week after Christmas, as expected. The percentage attributable to the recent dust up with Dish, however, is unclear. Estimates of 2-12% for the total loss for which the black out is responsible are being offered by industry experts.
Read More: Dish Announces Fox News’ Replacement
When or how this dispute will come to an end is anyone’s guess. The impact on Fox, however, has been significant enough that the social media arm of the news giant is waging war on Dish by urging viewers/followers to seek alternate sources for their pay-TV needs.