Cablevision and News Corp reach agreement over Fox programming

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NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — Cablevision on Saturday reached an agreement with News Corp. to return Fox programming to the cable television company, just in time for the third game of the World Series that is being aired by Fox.

Cablevision Systems Corp. and News Corp. had been in disagreement after News Corp. decided to raise the rate it charges other cable companies for Fox broadcasts. As a result, News Corp. cut its Fox signal to Cablevision on October 16.


On Wednesday, however, Cablevision announced that it had offered News Corp. the pay the same rate it charges other cable companies for Fox broadcasts. “We agree to pay the rate Fox charges Time Warner Cable for carriage of WNYW-Fox 5 New York and WTXF-Fox 29 Philadelphia for a period of one year,” Cablevision said, as 3 million households were left without Fox programming.

“This is higher than the rate we pay any other New York broadcast station,” Cablevision added. “This solution is in the best interest of not only baseball fans but of all Cablevision customers and Fox viewers. We look forward to a positive response.”

According to Cablevision, the company used to pay 70 million dollars per year for News Corp’s programming (which includes channels such as FOX 5, My9, FOX Business Network, National Geographic Wild, and FOX Deportes). However, the company said, News Corp. was now asking for more than 150 million dollars per year for the exact same programming. “No new programming, just another 80 million dollars per year for News Corp,” it argued.

On late Saturday afternoon, however, Cablevision announced it had reached an agreement with News Corp. to return Fox programming to Cablevision. Moments later, the News Corp. channels returned to Cablevision, just in time for the third World Series game and Sunday’s NFL match-up between the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers.

However, Cablevision showed it was still unhappy with the new agreement. “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,” the company said in a statement. “Cablevision conceded because it does not think its customers should any longer be denied the Fox programs they wish to see.”

Cablevision had earlier unsuccessfully appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to intervene in the dispute. “[Cablevision] should spend less time writing publicity-seeking letters to the FCC and more time at the negotiating table reaching an agreement,” one FCC official said in response.

In Saturday’s statement, Cablevision thanked its customers ‘for understanding the reasons for the dispute’ and staying with the company, although some customers were angry at Cablevision for how it dealt with the issue. “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 added. “It is clear the retransmission consent system is badly broken and needs to be fixed.”

Cablevision further added that, as a result of the higher price it needs to pay to News Corp., its customers will have to pay more for Fox programming. “But less than they would have if we had accepted the unprecedented rates News Corp. was demanding when they pulled their channels off Cablevision,” the statement said, indicating that Cablevision had managed to get a rate less than 150 million dollars per year.

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