DirecTV: We're not the only distributor with record of 'major public disputes'
As DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) faces the potential loss of programming from networks owned by Fox Networks Group, the DBS provider is reminding subscribers that rivals ranging from Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) to Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) have had disputes similar to its battle with Fox parent News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA)
"Take a look at any distributor to see their major public disputes involving new and returning channels," DirecTV posted on a website that it launched to communicate with subscribers about the dispute. It features a graphic that displays every major contractual battle between cable operators and broadcasters in recent years, including Comcast, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), Mediacom, Cox Communications and Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV.
With at least eight disputes each, Charlie Ergen's Dish Network and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) have had more public battles with cable programmers, broadcasters and sports leagues and teams than any other pay TV distributor, according to DirecTV. It points to Dish Network's disputes with News Corp., Viacom (NYSE: VIA), Comcast, LIN TV, the National Football League, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, and smaller broadcasters. DirecTV notes that Time Warner Cable has had public battles with News Corp., Disney (NYSE: DIS), Viacom, Sinclair Broadcasting (Nasdaq: SBGI), Belo Corp., the NFL and smaller broadcasters.
With DirecTV facing the potential loss of FX, National Geographic Channel and national and regional sports networks owned by Fox, its strategy appears to be focused helping retain subscribers. By pointing out that rival cable and satellite distributors have had similar disputes that have also resulted in the temporary loss of programming, the company may hope that its customers will continue to pay their DirecTV bills as it attempts to negotiate a new contract with Fox.