After a two-week blackout, Fox signal was restored in some 3 million Cablevision homes just before the start of Game 3 of the World Series. Fox just announced that the two sides have reached “an agreement in principal for a new distribution agreement.” The agreement covers Fox O&Os WNYW in New York and WTXF in Philadelphia as well as MyNet’s WWOR in New York and cable channels FOX Deportes, FOX Business Network, and Nat Geo WILD. It will also allow Cablevision customers in the New York area to watch home NFL team, the New York Jets, in tomorrow’s match-up with the Green Bay Packers on Fox. The deal comes a day after Fox reached an agreement in its other carriage dispute with DISH Network. In its statement, Cablevision called the terms of the deal “unfair” and took a swipe at FCC for not intervening in the standoff. It also indicated that the rates in the final agreement were lower than the “unprecedented” fees Fox had initially asked for and that it would pass the rate increases on to its customers. (Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed but Fox had been seeking retransmission fees in the $0.50-$1 range per subscriber for its O&Os from cable and satellite providers.) Earlier this week, Cablevision offered to match the terms of Fox’s carriage agreement with Time Warner Cable for the network’s O&O stations but Fox turned it down as it wanted its MyNet New York station and 3 lower profile cable channel covered under the terms too. Here is Cablevision’s statement:
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.