Senator Urges Cablevision, Fox To Keep Channels On During Talks
Source: The Wall Street Journal — U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D, N.J.) urged Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) and Fox Television, a division of News Corp. (NWSA, NWS), to continue contract negotiations and keep the popular Fox programming on the air as the midnight deadline approached late Friday.
“New Jersey consumers do not deserve to be treated as pawns in this dispute,” Lautenberg said.
Cablevision — whose territory also includes New York’s Long Island, Westchester and Rockland counties, the northern Hudson Valley, and the Bronx, Brooklyn and parts of Queens in New York City — on Friday bought commercials on local news radio stations asking subscribers to request that Fox not pull its broadcast stations, which include WNYW (New York’s channel 5), WWOR (New Jersey’s channel 9) and WTXF (Philadelphia’s channel 29), from the cable company’s lineup. Several major sporting events, including baseball playoff games and professional football games, are scheduled on those channels during the weekend.
On Thursday, Cablevision agreed to binding arbitration to settle the dispute, but Fox resisted, saying arbitration “would reward Cablevision for refusing to negotiate fairly.”
Fox is demanding increases in payments from Cablevision in return for its programming, and the cable company is balking.
The negotiations follow a pattern found throughout the TV industry, with networks seeking a larger share of revenue generated by monthly pay-TV bills paid by consumers, while cable and satellite companies struggle to control rising programming costs.
News Corp. is also the publisher of this newswire and The Wall Street Journal.