October 1, 2010 / 10:42 AM / 9 years ago

Dish Network says Fox has blocked 19 TV channels

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Dish Network Corp said on Friday that News Corp’s Fox Networks has demanded a higher transmission fee and blocked its access to 19 regional sports networks and other programing.

Dish Network, the No. 2 U.S. satellite operator, said Fox was demanding a new contract with an “unprecedented rate increase of more than 50 percent.”

Fox has refused Dish’s request to let customers watch the channels while negotiations continue, the company said.

“Our customers should not be held hostage in order to finance Fox’s irresponsible acquisition of sports rights,” Dave Shull, senior vice president of programing for Dish Network, said in a statement.

Dish said it has made available some alternative channels to affected customers at no extra charge.

Fox Sports could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

In February, ABC went off the air for several hours on Cablevision Systems Corp only to return 12 minutes into the live Academy Awards ceremony broadcast after an agreement was reached.

Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; editing by David Hulmes

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