Retrans Battle: Some TV Viewers in NY May Lose Fox if Cablevision Talks Aren’t Resolved

Oct 13, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Some TV viewers in the New York area may lose the ability to watch the Fox television network, as well as the MLB playoffs, if talks between Fox and cable operator Cablevision aren’t resolved this week, reports Claire Atkinson in the New York Post. The current deal between Fox and Cablevision expires on Friday, Oct. 15, 2010.

Fox wants pay-TV companies to pay for carriage of its television stations, the story says.

Cablevision executive vice president of programming Mac Budill sent a letter to Fox asking the network to reconsider what Cablevision calls a "fair offer" and asking it to keep its stations on air while the two companies negotiate, the story says.

The Post and Fox are both owned by News Corp.

According to Multichannel News, "the dispute involves broadcasters WNYW and WWOR in New York, WXTF in Philadelphia and cable channels Fox Business Network, Nat Geo Wild and Fox Deportes."

Also, according to the Multichannel story, "In a statement, Cablevision executive vice president of communications Charles Schueler said that Fox is demanding an increase that more than doubles the rate it already pays: ‘In a difficult economy, it is unfair and wrong for News Corp. to demand huge fee increases from Cablevision customers for Fox’s channel 5 and My9 and then threaten to pull the plug if they don’t get what they want. Cablevision already pays News Corp. $70 million every year for its channels, and now News Corp. wants more than $150 million a year for the exact same programming. We call on the executives of News Corp. to stop threatening to pull the plug and instead negotiate a fair agreement.’ "

The Multichannel News article then notes that Fox, in its statement, "[S]aid that it has been at the negotiating table for months, and that it has submitted two proposals in the past week and several since May. The programmer also criticized the MSO for paying two of its sister company channels (MSG and MSG Plus, now part of a separate company Madison Square Garden Inc.) in 2009 ‘considerably more’ than it pays all 12 Fox channels it carries, even though those Fox channels have higher ratings. ‘It’s obvious that Cablevision is not concerned about their customers and rather is taking cheap shots at Fox,’ Fox said in a statement. ‘We again call on Cablevision to come to the negotiating table and negotiate seriously. We have been there since May and will continue to be there.’

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