Dish reaches deal that brings back Fox news, business channels

By Reuters

Jan 16, 2015 09:40 AM EST

The Fox News and Fox Business channels returned on Thursday to satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp's (DISH.O) lineup after both sides agreed to a multiyear deal.

The channels owned by Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O) had been blacked out for Dish's 14 million customers since Dec. 21 when the companies failed to agree on a new contract.

Pay TV providers and programmers have sparred in recent months over the fees paid to carry networks. Digital rights to provide shows online and on mobile devices also have complicated the negotiations.

In a video also posted online on Thursday, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen thanked customers who were "supportive of our stance for fair rates and terms."

"I know this has been a frustrating several weeks for some of our customers," Ergen said.

A source close to the negotiations said Dish agreed to pay an average monthly fee of $1.50 per subscriber for Fox News, the most-watched cable news network. The fee is "significantly higher" than what Dish paid previously, the source said.

"We thank the viewers of Fox News and Fox Business and Dish customers for their patience throughout this process," Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution for Fox News and Fox Business, and Warren Schlichting, Dish senior vice president of programming, said in a joint statement.

The deal does not include rights for Dish to put the Fox channels on its new Sling TV online service, the source said. Sling TV is a slimmed down $20-a-month package that the company will launch later this month to reach customers who do not want to pay for the more expensive traditional TV service.

Dish has battled recently with other content providers, including CBS Corp (CBS.N) and Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) Turner Broadcasting. Dish customers faced a 12-hour blackout of CBS and went for a month without Turner networks including CNN and Cartoon Network before deals were reached to restore them.

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