Fox Demand For Higher Cable Transmission Fees Could Affect Viewers

››› ››› JOE STRUPP

Fox Television is demanding that Cablevision of New York increase the fee it pays to broadcast several of Fox's channels, facing an Oct. 15 deadline that could knock Fox's two New York afilliates off the cable system, as well as several Fox cable channels. Fox News Channel is not among those affected.

Multichannel News reports:

Fox's retransmission consent agreement with Cablevision expires on Oct. 15 and involves broadcasters WNYW and WWOR in New York, WXTF in Philadelphia and cable channels Fox Business Network, Nat Geo Wild and Fox Deportes.

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."

In a statement, Fox said 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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