HUDSON COUNTY AND BEYOND – Frustrated sports fans who missed playoff baseball Saturday and Sunday’s New York Giants game are sitting on the sidelines hoping a ratings duel between Fox TV parent News Corp. and Cablevision will soon be settled, according to the Associated Press.
Cablevision has blacked out Fox’s channels and programming while they discuss how much Cablevision will pay to carry them.
After failing to reach an agreement over the weekend, the two sides are scheduled to resume negotiations on Monday, the report said. Meanwhile, sports bars are losing business and Cablevision’s 3 million subscribers in the New York and Philadelphia media markets have been blacked out for the fourth time this year while the cable TV giant haggles over what it will pay providers.
The FCC has encouraged the two parties to agree to binding arbitration.
Cablevision has called on News Corp. to put Fox5 and My9 back on Cablevision immediately and submit to binding arbitration under a neutral third party. It says Fox is making “outrageous fee demands.’’ Cablevision says it pays $70 million a year for access to 12 Fox channels, including those in dispute, and that News Corp. is now asking for more than $150 million a year for the same programming, according to the AP.
But Fox has blamed Cablevision for the impasse, saying the two remain “far apart.’’ It rejected the call for arbitration, saying the process would “reward Cablevision for refusing to negotiate fairly.’’ Fox has said Cablevision is “hypocritical’’ because it pays more for two of its sister company channels, MSG and MSG Plus, than it does for all 12 Fox channels.
Cablevision’s website leaves no doubt about where the company stands, informing subscribers:
“In an act of corporate greed, News Corp has pulled FOX 5 and My9 from your Cablevision channel lineup. This is an unfortunate attempt to get unreasonable and unfair fee increases from Cablevision and our customers.
“You can make a difference in this dispute. Call 1-877-no-tv-tax or send an e-mail and tell News Corp it is unfair to hold their own viewers hostage to get what they want.”