Fox News, Cablevision wrangle over new pact


SatelliteGuys Pro
Original poster
Jan 4, 2006
Stamford, CT,3463042.story?coll=stam-news-local-headlines

Fox News, Cablevision wrangle over new pact
By Donna Porstner
Staff Writer

September 19, 2006

STAMFORD -- Cable news junkies beware: When you click on your TV, Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Susteren might not be there.

Fox News Channel, home to "The O'Reilly Factor" and "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren," purchased a legal notice Sunday in The Advocate and Greenwich Time warning Cablevision customers its programming might disappear in the next 30 days because its 10-year contract with the cable company is expiring.

Fox and Cablevision officials confirmed they are trying to reach an agreement to replace the contract, which expires Oct. 7, but declined to comment on the talks.

"We are currently in negotiations with Fox News Channel and are hopeful of reaching an agreement," Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella said.

John Malkin, vice president of affiliate marketing for Fox News Channel, based in New York, said it is "standard operating procedure" to alert viewers the channel could be interrupted or terminated with the contract expiring.

"It's just a notification and not meant to be anything more than that," he said.

Fox News is Channel 67 for Cablevision customers in Fairfield County.

The Cablevision contract is one of several 10-year contracts expiring as Fox News nears its 10th anniversary.

Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Fox News Channel was seeking to triple the fees it charges cable companies to $1 per month per subscriber to reflect its jump in ratings.

Yesterday, Cablevision and Fox declined to discuss specifics.

In 2002, a contract flap between Cablevision and Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network of Stamford left Cablevision subscribers in the New York metropolitan area unable to watch New York Yankees games.

The cable company, based in Bethpage, N.Y., refused to pay YES a $1.82 fee per subscriber for access to 130 of 162 regular season games. An arbitration panel ruled Cablevision had to carry YES as part of its basic service and charge all of its customers for it whether or not they watch it.

Cablevision averted a similar snafu with New York Mets games earlier this year by reaching an agreement with SportsNet New York, a new network formed by the team, Comcast and Time Warner Inc.

Cablevision has 3 million subscribers in the New York area, including 250,000 in Connecticut.

Besides cable television, telephone and Internet services, Cablevision owns Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers. It also operates Radio City Music Hall. A subsidiary, Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, owns several cable television networks including AMC, We and the Independent Film Channel.

Jim Cameron of Darien, a member of the cable television advisory council, said all unhappy customers can do is call the cable company to complain.

"I guess a consumer, if they are concerned about Fox News Channel or a favorite channel, can call Cablevision and say, 'I want that channel -- I want my MTV' and if I don't get it, say, 'I am going to cancel my subscription,' " Cameron said.

Cable franchises are required to carry certain broadcast and public-access channels, but they cannot be required to carry specific cable channels, said Hal Levy of Westport, who chairs the Area Nine Cable Council.

"There is no regulation over programming other than that," Levy said.
Copyright © 2006, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 0, Members: 0, Guests: 0)

Who Read This Thread (Total Members: 1)

Latest posts