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NYC Gets Down to Business

July 15, 2007 9:00 PM

What a difference 11 years makes. When Fox News Channel launched Oct. 7, 1996, New Yorkers couldn’t see it because Time Warner Cable and Fox News were locked in ferocious talks about carriage of the channel. It took an 11-month battle royale that included a threat by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani to air Fox News commercial-free on a city-run access channel to break the logjam. Last week, when Fox announced that the long-awaited Fox Business Network will launch Oct. 15, it noted prominently that it will be available on expanded basic cable in the Big Apple, financial capital of the world. An industry insider told Blink not only does Time Warner Cable NYC wants Fox Business Network, it wants the new network so badly it will convert the FBN signal from digital to the quaint and all-but-obsolete analog format in order to lodge it on the expanded platform. Fox News made carriage of FBN a must as it negotiated new distribution deals—which already add up to 30 million subscribers for FBN—mdash;with cable operators, who also are anteing up subscriber fees that will rise by as much as a third over the course of the new contracts. But as FBN begins its assault on CNBC and Bloomberg Television for eyeballs on Wall Street and Main Street, it is critical that the so-called "influentials" in the advertising and financial worlds be able to see the channel. A TWCNYC spokeswoman said she was unable to confirm the analog conversion plans.

--Michele Greppi

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