Fox, Cablevision End Dispute; Cablevision's Unhappy
Fox TV and Cablevision may have reached an agreement to end their 16-day stalemate over retransmission consent fees on Saturday -- in time to allow the third game of the World Series to be viewed by Cablevision's subscribers who live mostly in the New York area -- but Cablevision executives were clearly unhappy with the outcome. Unlike the statements of mutual satisfaction, which have accompanied the resolution of previous disputes between broadcast and cable companies, Cablevision said that it had been forced "to pay Fox an unfair price" for a package of Fox-owned channels, "many in which our customers have little or no interest." It said that it had given in to Fox's demands because it "does not think its customers should any longer be denied the Fox programs they wish to see." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was known that Fox had been seeking 50 cents per Cablevision subscriber in the first year, rising to $1.00 per subscriber in the second year. Cablevision did acknowledge that it planned to pass the additional cost to its subscribers, saying, "Our customers will pay more than they should for Fox programming." It was particularly critical of the FCC for failing to intervene in the dispute. In its statement, Fox remarked that Cablevision's comments "confirm that this entire dispute was solely about Cablevision's misguided efforts to effect regulatory change to their benefit." On Friday, Cablevision reached a similar agreement with satellite service DISH Network.