Fox Networks Pulled From Cablevision As Contract Ends


The Mod Squad
It's Official. No Fox on Cablevision..
Fox Networks Pulled From Cablevision As Contract Ends
By Nat Worden

Published October 16, 2010
Dow Jones Newswires

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Fox television stations were pulled from subscribers of Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC: 26.68 ,0.00 ,0.00%) after the two companies failed to agree on subscription fees and as the dispute grows increasingly contentious.

Cablevision, in a scrolling announcement on Fox 5 New York, said the decision to pull programming was made by Fox's parent, News Corp. (NWS, NWSA), which also owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of this newswire and The Wall Street Journal.

In an emailed statement, News Corp. said Cablevision declared an impasse at 8 p.m. EDT. A Cablevision spokesman disputed News Corp.'s claim, saying the two sides were negotiating until shortly before midnight. The contract between the two companies ended at midnight Friday into Saturday.

No talks are occurring, and there are no plans to resume negotiations, according to a person familiar with the situation. Both sides have accused the other of not negotiating in good faith.

The blackout leaves millions of mostly New York-area viewers without their local Fox-owned broadcast stations, Fox Business News, Nat Geo Wild and Fox Deportes cable channels, and it threatens the ability of Cablevision subscribers to watch post-season baseball games, National Football League games and popular prime-time shows like "Glee" and "House."

The negotiations follow a pattern found throughout the TV industry, with networks seeking a larger share of revenue generated by monthly pay-TV bills paid by consumers, while cable and satellite companies struggle to control rising programming costs.

Cablevision said in a statement that it already pays News Corp. more than $70 million a year for its channels, and that the company is demanding more than $150 million a year for the same programming. Fox has declined to comment on those figures.

The rhetoric and posturing between News Corp. and Cablevision intensified over the past few days, and included government officials and agencies. The Federal Communications Commission on Friday offered to get involved, while several lawmakers--including Rep. Peter King (R, N.Y.)--advocated binding arbitration.

Cablevision agreed to arbitration, but News Corp. resisted the offer. In past programming disputes, distributors have agreed to arbitration proposals because it would weaken programmers' negotiating position by removing the potential for a blackout.

The programming blackout is likely to provoke outcry from consumers, raising the potential of a public backlash against both companies that could be costly. Cablevision risks losing subscribers, while Fox's ratings and ad revenue could suffer.

The first significant program that could be affected is game one of the National League Championship Series, coverage of which starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday. The next big event would be the New York Giants' football game at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday.

Both Fox and Cablevision have reputations for being hard-nosed negotiators that will take on the risks of a programming blackout in order to further their interests.

Currently, cable networks--including 19 regional sports channels--owned by Fox are blacked out on Dish Network Corp.'s (DISH: 19.23 ,0.00 ,0.00%) satellite system, and the two companies face a more important contract renewal for Fox's broadcast stations at the end of this month.

For its part, Cablevision temporarily lost access earlier this year to programming in similar negotiations with the Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS: 34.90 ,0.00 ,0.00%) ABC network, as well as the Food Network and HGTV channels, which are owned by Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. (SNI: 48.21 ,0.00 ,0.00%).

News Corp. and Cablevision have pinned blame for the stand-off on each other in a blitz of public relations. Cablevision is running a scrolling announcement on the Fox stations, explaining its position and blaming News Corp. for the blackout.

Fox, meanwhile, took out advertisements in local newspapers and launched a website,, advising Cablevision subscribers to switch to pay-TV providers in order to keep watching Fox programming. The company said Cablevision paid itself and charged other pay-TV companies more for its own channels, MSG and MSG Plus, than all 12 of the Fox Channels they carry, even though the Fox channels enjoy higher ratings.

(George Stahl contributed to this report.)

Copyright © 2010 Dow Jones Newswires


The Mod Squad
It is being said that at this time, Fox has no intention of settling this any time soon and here is why..

Fox wants to see what they can pull from both Cablevision and Dish Network. The Dish deal expires on November 1st. Whatever deal one gets in the end, the other will end up with something similar.

Also, Cablevision has seemed to pull a cute trick. It has been reported that in parts of CT, Cablevision has replaced WNYW with the CT affiliate of Fox. I wonder if they can pull that off all over the NYC area. In the WTXF (Philadelphia DMA) area, could Cablevision replace that with a neighboring DMA Fox channel? As long as it's not Fox O&O like WOLF Scranton, PA.

I believe cables systems are allowed to do this but satellite companies cannot by law. Also, how much will the Fox affiliates piss Fox off by allowing this?

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
Annoyed viewers ought to concider FREE OTA. They lost channels--?--To bad, so sad.

If any reader wants to establish FREE HD television reception, we are here to help you make it happen for you.

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