Cablevision Baseball Fans Strike Out [Multichannel News]
New York area sports fans are getting some relief today -- but not the kind they're looking for. The relief comes because there are no major sports events on Fox today. Unfortunately, the pain will resume tomorrow if Cablevision and Fox don't agree on a new carriage deal and the Phillies and Giants resume their championship series in San Francisco.
Viewers have been in the dark regarding five Fox owned channels since the stroke of midnight on October 16. They have now missed two baseball National League Championship Series games and one game of the hometeam New York Giants football.
Over the weekend, the two companies engaged in two days of negotiations that failed to reach a deal. Yesterday at 3:40pm, with no end in sight, Fox and Cablevision negotiators headed home with a pledge to resume talks today with the World Series, exclusively on Fox, looming in the not-so-distant future.
For Fox's other viewers, most of their favorite Fox programs like "Glee" and "House" can be seen on Fox.com or Hulu shortly after their initial airing. But, for many TV viewers, that is not a simple alternative.
Even with the pressure mounting on Cablevision from customers who can switch providers to get the missing programming and on Fox missing out on millions of viewers that will impact their advertising revenues, negotiations have failed to produce an agreement.
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind. This is about how much consumers will pay for over-the-air broadcast signals under the process of retransmission consent created by the 1992 Cable Act. I have written about how this particular dispute highlights how broken retransmission consent is. No matter what the outcome, consumers lose -- either they pay a lot more or they lose channels.
To put this particular dispute in perspective, some reports indicate that Fox is seeking to raise its total fee that Cablevision pays from $70 million per year to $150 million. If you do the the math, that means that Cablevision's 3 million customers will have to pay nealy $2.25 per month more for the same programming they've been receiving previously. Fox resonds that they are asking Cablevision to pay what others have already agreed to pay for their networks. And they are only one of many network owners.
Meanwhile, DC is watching this mess, and policymakers are proposing changes that will prevent customers from being caught in the crossfire.
And not a moment too soon for New York sports fans.