Fox Time Warner

Fox Time Warner:

 Time Warner Cable Inc. and News Corp. have extended their contentious negotiations over carriage fees for the Fox Broadcasting network into the early morning hours of New Years Day on the east coast, averting any programming disruptions for cable subscribers for the time being.

The two companies are renegotiating a contract that officially ended at midnight and have been unable to reach an agreement on fees that News Corp. is asking to be paid for carriage of its national broadcast network.

The dispute between Time Warner Cable and Fox has the highest profile of a number of similar year-end negotiations that are taking place in the TV industry as networks pressure pay-TV operators for higher subscription fees as advertising revenue slumps amid the economic slowdown and the rise of digital media.

"We're still negotiating and going to give it a little more time," said Fox spokesman Scott Grogin.

A spokeswoman for Time Warner Cable said the company has reached a brief extension with Fox, as well as Scripps Networks Interactive Corp., which is also negotiating with the cable giant over carriage of its cable networks.

Fox has threatened to pull its signal off Time Warner Cable's systems in major markets around the country in a move that could deprive the cable company's subscribers of some of the most popular programming on TV, including college football bowl games.

The broadcast network has asked for fees of $1 per subscriber per month, a rate that would set a new precedent for the broadcast industry as it seeks to shift its business model to include substantial subscription fees from pay-TV operators like its cable network counterparts.

Time Warner Cable has signaled that its willing to pay Fox for its signal, but it's pushing for a lower price.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski urged the companies on Thursday to reach temporary agreement and prevent subscribers from losing some Fox channels. Time Warner Cable has said it's willing to extend negotiations or submit to binding arbitration from federal regulators to solve the dispute, but News Corp. rejected those overtures, and the two sides have traded barbs publicly over the matter.

Separately, Scripps deauthorized carriage of the Food Network and HGTV from Cablevision Systems Corp. as the two sides were unable to reach an agreement in a similar dispute.

"We wish Scripps well and have no expectation of carrying their programming again, given the dramatic changes in their approach to working with distributors to reach television viewers," said Cablevision in a statement

Scripps said in a statement that Cablevision is not properly compensating it for the networks, and it's launching a publicity campaign aimed at getting consumers to complain to Cablevision for not carrying them.

"The distribution rates Cablevision pays for Food and HGTV are among the lowest in the industry," said Scripps Chief Executive Kenneth Lowe.

Sinclair Broadcasting Group Inc. and Mediacom Communications announced they had agreed to an eight-day extension to their current contract, which also expires at midnight local time.

Lawmakers and the FCC urged the companies to reach at least a temporary agreement so that Mediacom's cable customers in Iowa and elsewhere would still be able to watch college football bowl games, most notably the Jan. 5 Orange Bowl between the University of Iowa and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Comments (0)