Former Fox RSNs, Dish Network Face Off On Distribution
The Fox-branded RSNs and Dish Network were trying to negotiate a longer extension that would run through the end of the week, after Dish's deal to carry the 21 RSNs ended Sunday and the two sides agreed to a short extension through the beginning of this week. The RSNs and Dish are in the middle of their first big distribution battle, and the satellite provider has earned a reputation for dropping popular channels. Complicating the RSN talks is the fact that Dish's deal to carry FX- and National Geographic-branded channels also ended yesterday. Those channels were part of Disney's $71.3B purchase of 21st Century Fox entertainment assets in March. Disney also worked out a short extension while it continues to negotiate a bigger deal. The official word from Disney is that the two are having "productive conversations." Ordinarily, even short-term extensions are considered good news for a bigger deal. But there are several signs that the RSNs could go dark this week. Dish is said to be pushing back on price, of course. But Dish also wants more flexibility on the tier where it will place these channels. The RSNs want to be on the expanded basic tier; Dish wants to be able to put the channels on a less-populated tier (John Ourand, SBJ Media).