Monday, November 1, 2010

News Corp., Cablevision Cut Deal, Fox Channels Return

By Alex Weprin - TVNEWSER

Last night, just before the start of game two three of the 2010 World Series, News Corp. and Cablevision cut a deal to return the Fox broadcast channel, along with Fox Business Network, Nat Geo World and Fox Deportes to Cablevision households.

Cablevision was not pleased with the deal, if a statement released by the company is any indication. In particular, it highlighted FBN, Nat Geo Wild and Fox Deportes, as channels “in which our customers have little or no interest.”

Of course, the bundling of small, unrated or scarcely viewed cable channels with larger channels or broadcast networks is nothing new. ESPN, which is about as must-carry a network as there is, will often bundle in its smaller channels, like ESPNU with the main channel.

In any event, Cablevision viewers that want to watch FBN, or the Shepard Smith-anchored election night coverage on Fox, can breathe easy, and tune-in.

The full statements from Cablevision and Fox announcing the deal are after the jump.

Cablevision: “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. Cablevision conceded because it does not think its customers should any longer be denied the Fox programs they wish to see.

Cablevision thanks its customers for understanding the reasons for the dispute and for staying with us. 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 is clear the retransmission consent system is badly broken and needs to be fixed.

In the end, our customers will pay more than they should 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.”

Fox: “Fox Networks and Cablevision announced today that they have reached an agreement in principle for a new distribution agreement to provide more than 3 million households with programming from WNYW FOX 5 and WWOR My 9 in New York, WTXF FOX 29 in Philadelphia, and the cable channels FOX Deportes, FOX Business Network, and Nat Geo WILD. The signals for all stations and cable channels were restored Saturday prior to the first pitch of World Series Game 3 on FOX.”

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