DirecTV and Fox turn up heat on each other

Judging by the animosity between the two, you’d would never know News Corp. and DirecTV were once sister companies.

On November 1, the satellite-service provider is planning to pull nineteen News Corp. cable networks from its system if they can not come to an agreement on a new deal. And now, Fox is saying all 26 of its owned stations (including Chicago’s Fox duopoly of WFLD and WPWR) – and even Fox News Channel – may be pulled as well.

Both News Corp. and DirecTV have launched dueling websites ( and stating their respective positions.

In addition, Belo’s stations (including ABC affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas, among others), could pull their signals from DirecTV if they too don’t come with to a deal on November 1.

In a complaint with the FCC over deceptive advertising over the issue with Fox, DirecTV said its agreements with Fox-owned stations doesn’t expire until the end of the year. But this dustup could put those negotiations in jeopardy as well.

Among the News Corp.-owned networks affected include FX, Fox Soccer, NatGeo, and Fox’s RSN channels.

Direct TV says it already pays enough compensation to Fox to carry its channels as it does not want to increase its rates for customers. According to DirecTV, Fox wants a 40 percent increase. Fox denies this is the case.

As for the Fox O&Os involvement, it seems the threat to pull the broadcast stations from Direct TV seems nothing more than a negotiating tactic. Meanwhile, Kurt Sutter, whose Sony of Anarchy airs on FX, has jumped into the fray, accusing DirecTV of greed in his own, um… **ahem**, “creative” way….

News Corp. was a part-owner (along with Hughes Electronics and Liberty Media) of DirectTV from  2003 to 2007, when the company divested its share in DirecTV in exchange for the stock Liberty Media owned in News Corp. The exchange also included three FSN regional nets in Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Denver.

So what have we learned today, class? When Big Media have disputes with each other over money, its the consumers who are always caught in the middle. Its a lesson whose message will be driven home for some time to come.

But there is an upside… if Fox does pull its broadcast signals from DirecTV, its subscribers wouldn’t have to be subjected to any of Fox Chicago’s newscasts.