Despite tough retransmission stance, Fox not hurting for affiliates

Reports that network affiliate groups still want to be part of the Fox Television family despite the News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) group's tough stance on retransmission fees can't be good news for cable operators.

News Corp. and Fox are among the tougher retrans negotiators with Fox withholding programming until it gets what it wants. Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) experienced that stance last fall and Fox network affiliates--in particular WTVW in Evansville, Ind. and KTRV, in Boise, Idaho--learned that the tough guy pose extends to them as well after Fox cut ties with the two in an affiliate fees dispute.

Now, amid this hardline stance, TV industry newsletter TVNewsCheck quotes an anonymous station group head saying "there are a number of different affiliate groups calling Fox, saying we'd love to have you."

Fox provides non-negotiable affiliate terms of 25 cents per month per cable or satellite subscriber, climbing to 50 cents in the fourth year of the contract. Since affiliates pull those fees from local cable operators, it's likely that there will be still more rancorous disputes among local stations and their cable/satellite providers.

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