With a November 1 deadline looming, News Corp. today purchased a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times sports section warning DirecTV customers that the satcaster was poised to drop nine networks if Fox’s dispute with DirecTV isn’t settled by month’s end. The full-color ad featured the heavy-handed banner ‘GAME OVER’ along with game pictures of USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins football and Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks ice hockey, all of which are threatened should the regional sports networks Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket be dropped. The ad then lists the networks that DirecTV could force to go dark: FS West, Prime Ticket, FX, Speed, National Geographic Channel, Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes, Fuel TV and Fox Movie Channel. “And soon,” the advertisement continues, “you could even lose Fox 11 and My 13,” specifically targeting viewers in Southern California. The Times ad then implores sports fans to “Get direct with DirecTV” by logging onto KeepMyNets.com or calling 866-KEEP-MY-NETS. As reported Thursday by Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, DirecTV claims in its statement that Fox is seeking a 40% increase in its license fees.
Another major carriage dispute threatens to pull Fox’s cable networks from DirecTV systems on November 1. The affected networks include FX (including its hit Sons Of Anarchy and hot newcomer American Horror Story), National Geographic Channel, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Deportes, and the 19 Fox regional sports networks. Fox Networks’ previous carriage agreement with DirecTV expired on September 30. After extending the talks, no progress was made, leading to a standoff between the two sides that may lead to the blackout. Exactly a year ago, the same networks went dark on DirecTV’s rival satcaster Dish Network before the two sides finally reached a new agreement. Like in previous carriage fights, both sides released dueling statements and launched competing websites — KeepMyNets.com (Fox) and OurPromiseToYou.com (DirecTV). In its statement, DirecTV claims that Fox is seeking a 40% license-fee increase. Here are the two statements: