New York -- Time Warner Cable and News Corp. reached a
long-term retransmission-consent deal that covers carriage of both the analog and digital
signals of 22 owned-and-operated Fox TV stations, officials said last week.
The agreement will guarantee that the Fox stations will
continue to get cable carriage in major markets such as New York; Cleveland; Tampa, Fla.;
Houston; Columbus, Ohio; and Southern California.
Under the agreement, Time Warner will add two News Corp.
channels -- Fox Sports World and FXM: Movies from Fox -- to its digital service, with FXM
becoming part of the digital-movie tier, according to MSO spokesman Mike Luftman.
In turn, the Fox television stations will provide Time
Warner subscribers with all of the high-definition digital programming telecast by Fox
"This new agreement with Fox is an important step that
will help us to make the benefits of HDTV and digital television available to our
customers," Time Warner Cable CEO Joseph Collins said in a statement. "It proves
that cable operators and broadcasters can work productively together to implement this
exciting new technology, and that the marketplace is working. We look forward to striking
similar deals with other major broadcasters, as well."
For example, Time Warner is currently working on a
retransmission-consent agreement with The Walt Disney Co. that would include carriage of
analog and digital signals for ABC TV stations. ABC, part of Disney, has given Time Warner
an extension until Jan. 15 to carry its TV stations.
In September, News Corp. and its Fox Entertainment Group
reached a retransmission-consent pact with AT&T Broadband & Internet Services for
Fox owned-and-operated TV stations.
And it has struck similar agreements with other major MSOs
and direct-broadcast satellite companies -- including Comcast Corp., Charter
Communications Inc., DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp. -- according to
Lindsay Gardner, executive vice president of affiliate sales and distribution for Fox
Referring to the just-closed Time Warner retransmission
deal, Gardner said, "This demonstrates to the Federal Communications Commission and
lawmakers in Washington that they can leave these negotiations to the marketplace, and it
Time Warner now carries FXM in about 300,000 homes, but it
doesn't have any carriage of Fox Sports World, according to Gardner.
This is the second partnering between Time Warner and News
Corp. in recent weeks. News Corp. just did a corporate carriage deal with Time Warner for
FX, which will get carried in 7 million of the MSO's homes, including New York. As
part of that pact, Time Warner got a favorable long-term deal for the Fox regional sports
A year ago, Time Warner forged a digital
retransmission-consent deal with CBS Corp. That agreement, however, didn't cover
retransmission consent for the CBS stations' analog signals, according to Luftman, as
Time Warner already has a long-term analog retransmission-consent deal with CBS that
extends to 2008.
Fox was the first of the major broadcast networks to
provide its owned-and-operated stations and digital-ready affiliates with simultaneous
analog and progressive digital feeds of its entire primetime schedule.