Midnight is the witching hour for DirecTV and Fox Networks to hammer out a carriage deal, or nearly 30 channels could go dark for the satellite giant's 19 million customers.
Fox and DirecTV have been at loggerheads for weeks over a carriage deal for FX, Speed, National Geographic Channel, Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes, Fuel TV, Fox Movie Channel and 19 Fox Sports regional sports networks. DirecTV has claimed Fox is demanding a 40% rate increase for the channels, which Fox denies. Both sides of the dispute have launched ad campaigns and web sites to inform consumers of their respective positions. Fox, which says it is only asking for fair value for its networks, has offered to keep the channels on air at the old rate while a deal is being worked out, an offer that DirecTV has declined.
Both DirecTV and Fox said that negotiations continue, but that as of 4:49 p.m. ET no progress had been made.
The Fox dispute is the latest in what could be a contentious period of negotiations on both the cable and broadcast front this year. In addition to the Fox spat, DirecTV is racing against another midnight deadline to reach a retransmission consent agreement with Belo Corp.'s 20 broadcast TV stations in markets like Portland, Seattle, Dallas and Houston.
DirecTV said that negotiations with Belo are ongoing, but there is no progress to report.