Cablevision caves in Fox fight, agrees to 'unfair' retransmission fees

Cablevision blinked first in the standoff between it and News Corp., reaching a deal that allowed some 3 million subscribers in the New York metro area to finally see the World Series, catch the Jets game and get their regular Fox programming back after a two-week-long blackout.

But, even though the Bethpage, New York-based MSO has a deal with Fox, don't for a second thing the two media companies are going to be chummy in the future.

In a release sent out Saturday night, Cablevision said, "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."

And, it said, "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 cut its signal to Cablevision Oct. 16 after the two failed to reach an agreement on retransmission fees. Cablevision claimed Fox wanted $150 million--more than double what it had been paying and more than it currently pays for ABC, NBC and CBS combined--and asked the FCC and any politician it could find to step in and mediate the dispute. Fox, meanwhile, said the $150 million figure was bunk, and said Cablevision needed to step up to the table and negotiate on its own behalf.

Cablevision viewers missed a couple of NFL football games, the National League playoffs and a couple of weeks of Fox programming.

Terms of the deal were not released.

For more:
- see this release
- see this article

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