UPDATE: Fox, DirecTV sign broad distribution deal
UPDATE: Fox and DirecTV said late Monday that they had agreed to a broad carriage deal involving distribution of all of Fox's U.S. cable networks and Fox-owned TV stations. The companies issued a joint statement: "Fox Networks and DirecTV have reached an agreement for DirecTV to continue carrying all Fox Networks. We both know the past ten days have been challenging, but we're pleased that both sides could eventually come together to ensure our viewers continue to enjoy Fox programming."
With a carriage deal DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) has with Fox Networks Group set to expire at midnight, the companies still hadn't agreed to terms of a contract extension by Monday afternoon. While Fox says that it will allow DirecTV to continue to carry FX, National Geographic Channel, Speed and other national and regional networks owned by Fox until the two sides can agree to terms of a new contract, DirecTV has said that it will drop the channels on Nov. 1, unless a deal is signed.
DirecTV's encouraging banner
"Yes we are still negotiating and are hopeful the parties can reach an agreement," Fox senior VP of communications Scott Grogin said in an email to FierceCable. "We plan to leave our signals up and available to DirecTV. If the signals come down, it will be because DTV took them down," he added.
DirecTV, which complained last week that Fox was confusing its subscribers by running ads that warned that they could also lose the feeds from Fox-owned broadcast stations, is attempting to remind customers that they aren't yet in jeopardy of losing the signals from Fox stations and Fox News Channel. "Don't worry--your channels are safe," DirecTV wrote in a banner image containing the logos for Fox News Channel and Fox's broadcast network that it posted on a website it has launched to communicate with subscribers during the dispute.
DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said that the company continues to negotiate with Fox. DirecTV is talking separately to station group owner Belo Corp., which could pull signals from 20 of its stations at midnight unless it reaches a new retransmission-consent agreement with DirecTV.
There's a good chance that Fox and DirecTV could agree to a contract extension before midnight since both companies would find it challenging to handle the consumer backlash that could occur if 19 million subscribers lose the feeds for some of the most popular cable networks.
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