Fox Networks, which pulled its sports programming from Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) in a toxic retransmission fight with that satellite programmer, could be planning something similar if it can't reach agreement with Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) by the end of this week.
In this case, Fox could remove its broadcast channels in the New York and Philadelphia markets just as the Phillies and Yankees advanced further into the postseason. The programmer is already preparing fans with full-page advertisements in local newspapers.
"Our position in these negotiations is entirely reasonable--we are simply asking for fair compensation for the value of (stations) Fox5, My9 and Fox 29 programming offers," the network said in a statement. "We have a responsibility to prepare our viewers for the very likely possibility that as of Friday at midnight, Cablevision may no longer carry Fox5, My9 and Fox 29 programming."
This could get really ugly. Fans in both of those cities are not known for their easy temperament when it comes to their professional sports franchises so whoever is seen to blame for this debacle could be in for a serious whupping.
Charles Schueler, Cablevision's executive vice president of communications, released this statement to FierceCable:
"In a difficult economy, it is unfair and wrong for News Corp. to demand huge fee increases from Cablevision customers for Fox's channel 5 and My9 and then threaten to pull the plug if they don't get what they want. Cablevision already pays News Corp. $70 million every year for its channels, and now News Corp. wants more than $150 million a year for the exact same programming. We call on the executives of News Corp. to stop threatening to pull the plug and instead negotiate a fair agreement."
- see this story
- and Cablevision's full-page ad (via Twitpic)
News Corp., Cablevision spar over carriage fees
Fox-Dish cage match stirs retransmission foes to action