Ivi Promotes Itself As Online Harbor In Retrans Storm

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Ivi TV, the online streaming service that has drawn the ire of broadcasters, pitched its online lineup of TV station signals as a chance for Cablevision subs to watch baseball, football and other programming regardless of whether or not Fox and Cablevision come to a retransmission-consent deal.

In a release issued late Friday and calculated to capitalize on the retrans deadline the parties faced at midnight on Oct. 16, ivi TV said it would continue to stream Fox's WWOR and WNYW, two stations involved in the negotiations, regardless of whether or not it is pulled from Cablevision Systems.

"New York consumers can remain unaffected and watch their favorite NY football team on ivi TV. That's a battle consumers are actually interested in watching," said ivi chairman Ron Erickson, "not this spectacle over millions of dollars being fought over between cable companies and TV networks."

Ivi, which launched its service in early September, says that it pays broadcasters "in the same fashion as prescribed by law for cable companies," but broadcasters strongly disagree with that assessment.

In fact, broadcasters including Fox have sued ivi for copyright infringement.

Ivi, which has not negotiated any retrans payments individually with stations, argues that for the purposes of copyright law, it is an online cable provider that is allowed to retransmit the signals, but that it does not fall under the definition of a cable system when it comes to the requirement of negotiating retransmission-consent.

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