It’s probably a bit confusing to see Disney and DISH in a disagreement for those who don’t closely follow the broadcasting space. Luckily there is no bad news for fans of DISH or Disney, the two companies are involved in a common contract dispute. Does that mean that Disney-owned channels will be leaving DISH? It’s possible, but not likely.
First off, it’s important to be clear that Disney actually owns a lot of big channels out there. In the case, the channels in dispute are not the “Disney Channel” itself, but National Geographic and Fox Regional Sports. Unfortunately for DISH, those are both rather popular channels.
DISH has a history of being a tough contract negotiator. It’s not uncommon for channels to go into a blackout for DISH subscribers while final negotiations are made. Perhaps the best example of this is HBO. The popular channel has been in contract disputes with DISH since November 2018. Both companies have been unable to come to an agreement, which means HBO might never come back.
Luckily, that does not seem to be the case with Disney. Since we first reported about the dispute, the two companies have actually come to an agreement; albeit, a temporary one.
Fox RSN released a statement about the current status of negotiations between DISH and Disney. “The FOX Sports Regional Networks and DISH/Sling have reached a temporary extension while we work together towards an agreement for carriage of these networks. Thank you for your continued support and check back for future updates.”
Prior to the channel blackout going into effect, DISH representatives sent a statement to Cord Cutting News. According to that statement, “DISH and Sling’s goal is to keep the FOX Regional Sports Networks available to our customers at a reasonable cost. We are unsure why the FOX RSN group, currently owned by Disney and in the process of being sold to Sinclair, decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”
It is worth pointing out that Disney recently sold the Fox Regional Sports network channels to Sinclair. However, Sinclair has yet to take control. That means Disney is likely trying to reach a short term deal that will remain in effect until Sinclair takes over. At that time Disney can wash its hands of the situation and Sinclair and DISH can work together to find a mutually beneficial deal.
With a short-term deal in place, DISH customers can still enjoy these channels. However, Disney and DISH will have to make a long-term agreement soon if they want to avoid annoying their customers with another blackout.