Cablevision-Fox Dispute Plays On

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The ongoing retransmission-
consent battle
between Cablevision Systems
and Fox Networks
raged on last week, with
both sides echoing past
positions and Cablevision
adding a new twist as the
fi rst games of the World
Series came and went.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based
cable operator continued to
pound home its message for
either binding arbitration,
Federal Communications
Commission intervention
or both to settle the dispute.
Fox continued to insist that
direct face-to-face negotiations
were the best path to a
resolution.

But as the first game of
Major League Baseball’s
World Series (broadcast on
Fox) came closer, Cablevision
appeared to be willing
to compromise.

On Oct. 27, the MSO offered
to pay the same rate
that fellow operator Time
Warner Cable pays for one
Fox station (WNYW) in
New York, a price that Cablevision
claimed is more
than it pays for all other
broadcast stations in its
territory combined. Fox
quickly replied that the
Time Warner Cable rate
was based on a bundling of
several networks and stations
across the U.S. — Cablevision
only carries two
Fox stations in New York,
and a third Philadelphia
station in some of its New
Jersey systems — and thus
would represent a huge
discount for the cable operator.
Predictably, Fox rejected
that offer.

Later, a few hours before
Game 1 of the World Series
was scheduled to air on
Oct. 27, Cablevision offered
to reimburse customers
the $10 cost of purchasing
MLB.com’s online playoff
package, which would allow
customers to stream
the games .

On Friday, Dish Network
signed a new distribution
deal for Fox network and
stations. FX, National Geographic
Channel and 19 regional
sports networks, off
Dish since Oct. 1, were restored.

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