There’s more confusion than confirmation trying to figure out what will happen on Tuesday, Nov. 1 – the DirecTV deadline when the satellite dish system says it could drop a group of News Corp channels that include sports-friendly Prime Ticket, Fox Sports West, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer Channel and all the other Fox Sports Net regional cable group.
DirecTV, with 18 million subscribers, has posted warnings on its programming menu that these channels will be “suspended” if a deal is not reached, claiming that News Corp is asking for as much as 40 percent subscriber increase.
“We hope to resolve this situation before any action is taken, but we will do what’s necessary to protect our customers from excessive and unwarranted fee increases,” DirecTV said in firing the first public shot.
Fox’s reply is that DirecTV “has given us no chance to respond before taking an unnecessarily aggressive posture and going public.”
Fox’s over-the-air network (KTTV-Channel 11, which handles NFL coverage) and the Big Ten Network are not supposed to be lumped in here, but depending on who you believe, they could be added later.
DirecTV, which up until 2008 was one-third owned by News Corp, has actually been one of the main advertisers during Fox’s coverage of the World Series, providing the blimp coverage overhead.
If this is just the latest public sniping in the name of consumer protection, where viewers are always caught in the crossfire, we suggest riding it out.
In September, 2009, DirecTV dropped Versus in a dispute with Comcast. By the time the NHL playoffs started in March, 2010, it reappeared.
Taking away Lakers broadcasts on FSW could have been a major L.A. trump card in this blind-man’s bluff, but that’s not even on the table right now in this marketplace.
Maybe we throw up our hands and empty our pockets again. But as rights fees given to sports properties continue to jump, even in this economy, we’ve come to realize that we eventually pay for it.
Then, we share a group shower to wash off other people’s greed.