A Pissed Cablevision Settles Dispute With Fox. Usually Once the Programmer and Distributor Agree to Terms, Everyone Makes Nice. Not This Time

Oct 30, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Cablevision and Fox have ended their retransmission dispute that had kept three million Cablevision subscribers in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia areas from seeing the World Series among other programming.

When most programmers and and distributors settle these disputes, they refrain from further criticism of each other. This time Cablevision decided not to play that game.

According to Entertainment Weekly, here’s the statement Cablevision released: “In the absence of any meaningful action from the FCC, Cablevision has agreed to pay Fox an unfair price for multiple channels of its programming including many in which our customers have little or no interest. Cablevision conceded because it does not think its customers should any longer be denied the Fox programs they wish to see. Cablevision thanks its customers for understanding the reasons for the dispute and for staying with us. We are also grateful to the 175 government leaders who raised their voices to urge government intervention and binding arbitration to prevent this blackout. It is clear the retransmission consent system is badly broken and needs to be fixed.”

According  to  the  New  York Times’ Media  Decoder,   "Fox responded to Cablevision on Saturday night by saying that ‘from Day One, Cablevision has been complaining about the fair market price.’ The cable company’s most recent comments ‘should not surprise anyone,’ Fox said, ‘and they  further  confirm  that  this  entire  dispute  was  solely  about  Cablevision’s  misguided  efforts  to  effect regulatory change to their benefit.’ "

Said  EW, "The dispute involved the distribution of programming on WNYW FOX5 and WWOR My9 in New York, WTXF FOX29 in Philadelphia, and the cable channels FOX Deportes, FOX Business Network, and Nat Geo WILD."


  1. Boo hoo, Cablevision. You’re so used to being a monopoly in your service area, you forgot that your most popular content source is also a single-supplier. Cable vision is not upset for the sake of its customers. They realize they can only pass along some of the extra cost without risking more cord-cutting.

  2. Cablevision can use the money they are extorting from their customers by forcing us to “rent” a cable box for every TV to pay FOX.
    MLB and NFL should put protection for consumers in future contracts with FOX allowing other networks to broadcast events if FOX attempts to do this again.

  3. totally agree, i think it’s time for cablevision to give up exclusivity -for too long we have been shafted for something that was decided a long time ago.

  4. I don’t live in Cablevision’s service area anymore, but if my recollection is correct, other options include Verizon’s FIOS, DirecTV, and Dish. Doesn’t sound like a monopoly to me. Don’t you think arbitration is the best option for the customers regardless of where you get your TV service? If (and I say if because I really don’t know) that’s what Cablevision was trying to do, I say Bravo to them.

  5. Individual communities and property managers are to blame for this, Dean. They’ve had to endure the construction of all the overhead and underground cabling that delivers CVC’s products to users, and probably don’t want the hassle of having to endure it all over again with some other company. If it were possible to use a common system to deliver video / phone / internet from multiple companies to their users, compareably to what many states are now doing with electric power, you’d see governments jumping on that idea in the proverbial New York Minute.
    And for AJ, those other companies never offer the convenience of just connecting a line easily to a TV set without a box. There are still loads of people, how-be-it that most of them are over 60, who have TVs that will still tune a decent list of channels if the cable company can still deliver them. Sadly, even CVC is getting away from doing that.

  6. It is evident that all cable companies have overpaid for crap channels like Hallmark and Lifetime that no one watches and way overpaid for the ESPN franchises. They need to start beating up on content providers who have been getting overpaid for years at the customers expense.

  7. Cable Televison Franchises Are Non-Exclusive…they have always been non-exclusive….. Retrans rules are outdated and broken.

  8. I must have missed the story where Cablevision was forced to settle with Fox. Did someone hold a gun to their head? They voluntarily agreed to the terms. Then they bitch and moan about what they voluntarily agreed to. If they really felt the terms were so onerous, they could have continued to refuse to pay? Once you voluntarily do something, you have lost the right to complain what you did voluntarily is unfair. Cablevision looks like complete jerks (or whatever term you care to ascribe to them).

  9. Cablevision settled because they were losing subscribers and for no other reason. I happen to be a Cablevision subscriber, but I didn’t lose Fox5 or My9; I just switched to the other input on the TV (it’s labeled “Antenna”) for the one or two shows I watch on Fox. Except for the occasional Yankee game, I never bother with My9, so no loss there anyway.
    It continues to amaze me that people will bitch endlessly about loss of local channels but won’t invest 12 bucks for a pair of rabbit ears. Gen 5 and 6 ATSC tuners will pull in pictures where NTSC receivers brought in only ghost-filled, unwatchable pictures.

  10. When Time Warner got into disputes they sent all their subscribers a set of rabbit ears. I still have mine from a dispute they had years ago with a local TV station. Plus, since cable is not broadcasting in 1080p very often at this point, the local over the air signals are better if you can appropriately tune your antenna.
    I agree with most others here that it appears that Cablevision is crying all the way to the bank. Local stations are receiving less revenue form their network providers (and in some cases are now having to pay), receiving less commercial time during network programming, and continue get nothing from cable companies.
    This is not a sustainable relationship, and something has to give. Either the individual stations start broadcasting multiple signals (which they are now able to do) to pick up additional revenue and go back to pre-cable days when most people watched broadcast over the air, or the cable companies need to start paying them retrans fees.
    If each station in a market carried 4 signals at least during part of the day, there would be 20-30 over the air outlets. To a large number of cash-strapped consumers, this could be enough of a choice to drop the cable subscription altogether. For that reason, Cablevision, Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, et al need the local broadcast stations more than they think they do. So pay up.

  11. If it were an “unfair” deal then Cablevision would not agree to it. So obviously they see more benefit in making a deal than not. I can see how that might not be your preference, but I don’t see how that can be “unfair.”

  12. TV Week, do you really have to stoop to street language in what used to be a respectable trade pub? Gimme a break– and gimme any one of a dozen other TV trades that have some standards. Clean up your act, and take me off your list.

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