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Fox plans ad blitz on rival TV stations if there's no deal with Time Warner Cable

Here's another sign that News Corp. is anticipating not having a deal to keep its Fox-owned TV stations and several of its cable networks on Time Warner Cable systems when the old one expires at midnight tonight. The company has been quietly buying commercial time on rival local TV stations in Time Warner Cable markets to advertise its case against the cable giant and to promote rival distribution services that have Fox and the other channels.

BRITT This is both a defensive and offensive measure on Fox's part. Once its channels are off Time Warner Cable systems, it will lose its main vehicle for reaching viewers. Time Warner Cable will likely slap on some sort of notice to viewers about the dispute. When Time Warner Cable took the ABC signals off its systems back in 2000, it put a notice on the screen that said "Disney has taken ABC away from you," much to the consternation of ABC and Disney brass. A Time Warner Cable representative said the company would probably decide what it would put on its screen in place of the Fox channels later today.

With only hours left to reach an accord, the rhetoric between the two has been soaring. News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey issued a memo to his staff saying Time Warner Cable would "claim they cannot afford the rates we are requesting and try to blame us for rate increases to their customers." A Time Warner Cable spokesman accused Carey & Co. of an "extortion attempt necessitated by a poor advertising market and an innate desire to fatten his wallet at our customers' expense."

The two sides are haggling over a price tag for Fox-owned TV stations including KTTV Los Angeles and WNYW New York. Fox has been pressing for $1 per subscriber, per month while Time Warner Cable has countered with an offer between 25 and 30 cents. Besides the Fox stations, other channels that are part of the negotiations include FX and Fuel and Fox Sports West. Fox News is not part of this dispute. Other markets where Time Warner Cable has systems and Fox has stations include Tampa and Dallas. Overall, some 4 million Time Warner Cable subscribers would be effected by the feud. 

Though both sides make the situation seem bleak, a last-minute deal is not a stretch. Often these disputes go right down to the wire, and then an accord is reached. One of the challenges for Time Warner Cable is that it knows whatever deal it cements with Fox could set a precedent for other broadcasters. Time Warner Cable already has a deal with CBS for its stations, and some people familiar with that pact say it contains a most-favored-nations clause that would mean CBS is entitled to the same deal Fox gets if it is a better deal. On Wednesday, ABC issued a statement in support of Fox's efforts as well. Its deal with Time Warner Cable is up next year.

Time Warner Cable Chairman Glenn Britt has been pushing for an extension or arbitration. In a letter in today's Los Angeles Times he wrote, "There's no reason for Fox to punish Time Warner Cable customers by pulling its programming while we work out an agreement that's fair for all consumers."

Washington is watching this one closely. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communication, Technology and the Internet, keeps jumping into the fray. On Wednesday, he said if Fox pulled the signals from Time Warner Cable, he would "ask the FCC to intervene and mandate continued carriage."

The Federal Communications Commission so far has stayed out of this brawl. A spokeswoman for Chairman Julius Genachowski declined to comment on Kerry's statement.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Time Warner Cable Chairman Glenn Britt. Credit: Time Warner Cable

Related posts:

John Kerry says he'll push for FCC to get involved in cable fight

News Corp.'s Carey tells Senator John Kerry thanks, but no thanks on arbitration

Chase Carey tells Fox staff signals likely to be pulled from Time Warner Cable

Disney offers support to Fox in battle with Time Warner Cable

Carmen Electra caught up in cable feud

John Kerry weighs in on Fox-Time Warner Cable spat

Broadcasters' tough talk with cable is not without risks

News Corp.'s Chase Carey ready for battle with Time Warner Cable 

Time Warner Cable takes aim at programmers

Stakes rising for cable TV firms and content providers

Comments () | Archives (12)

Personally, I think Fox's programming is crap. No big loss...we'll move on and I won't miss them a bit.

The issue is the broadcast industry is changing. Fox's business is delivering eyeballs to it's advertisers who they think will be interested in their products. Products such as the DVR that are marketed by companies such as TWC run counter to that business so the content provider needs to search for other forms of revenue. My suggestion for FOX: make all of your schedule available online for a minimal monthly subscription price, $1 dollar a month where there are no options for watching other than with commercials or a premium service for $3 a month where I can watch shows as they are broadcast with all the commercials or any show on demand with limited commercials. In order to sign up for the premium service I would have to answer a detailed questioner that fox could use to determine which commercials would have the most attraction to me. That would be a win win in my opinion: advertisers would get more bang for their buck and I. as a single man, would not be subjected to ads for products for feminine hygene or the like.

The only thing I watch on FOX is NFL games. I don't care for the other FOX programing...dwarf dating competitions, Cops, kitchen dramas, etc, ect...

Now, I understand pulling FX and Fox Sports because these are cable channels but to pull stations that are broadcast over public airwaves is such a slap in the face to the consumer. The consumer is the only one losing out.

If Time Warner buckles, my cable rates go up, if they don't, my wife doesn't get to watch House or Bones...I don't watch them but I do watch Sunny...

I guess Rupert Murdoch has to make up for buying Myspace somehow...

Right now it's just a bunch of name-calling. Cheapskate, Extortionist blah blah blah.

I'll say this though, I'm not at all going to move to alternative delivery methods over Fox programming.

I Fox gets it's way expect to pay an extra $5 a month in cable bill starting in 2010. What do you think NBC, ABC, and the rest of the currect freebie channels are going to demand if TIme Warner Gives in.

SORRY FOX, but I won't miss any of your programming as I can just switch SOURCE on my TV and receive a cystal clear picture using my rabitt ears....why woudl I pay an extra dollar a month for that? Isn't the billions you make from commercial advertising enough.

Folks: JUST SAY NO TO FOX, or we'll all be paying considerably more for cable going forward and that will be just part of the hyper inflation in store for us in 2010.

Disgusting behavior from FOX & TWC, such greedy companies.

They are holding the consumer to ransom and they should both be punished by the FCC with $1BN fines so this would never happen again.

The fact that fox has the money to advertise, and the money to cry about it says a lot.

Fact is FOX owns several dish networks and are squeezing there competition since the blackout of analog in the USA. They never invested in free OTA digital and instead want the consumers to be punished with higher cost.

They are both crying wolf.

What happened to the FCC, Whats happened to Jon Kerry.

We the people made these companies rich and we are seeing the crap end of the stick.

The best thing would be for the FCC to rule that cable companies could transmit over-the-air stations free of charge. Thast way consumers would be paying the same amount that they would have paid if they simply watched the station with an antenna.

Stay strong Time warner my bill is already big enough.

Fox may find out that people don't miss their shows that much and move on.

Except for perennial award darlings like House, and 24, Some of the best new shows likes Glee, Fringe, and Lie to Me. Then there is the reality show wing (to which I admit I am not a fan of) that includes the 5000lbs gorilla that is American Idol, and the rest of its hit Hell's Kitchen, So You Think you can dance. oh lets not forget the sports like The NFL on Fox, the MLB on Fox including World Series, A good amount of the BCS games including the Championship.
But other than that I guess I can see how its crap.

Oh and this deal includes the a couple of cable only Fox networks like Fox Sports (Your Station for Lakers homes games, Dodgers' and Angels' games) and FX which has alot of good programing like Sons of Anarchy, It's always Sunny in Philidelphia.

The crap is on the other stations. Who wants to watch Desperate Housewhores, Survivor, Dancing with Washed-Up Stars, How I Met Yer Mommy (in a bar), Chuck, the CW drivel and such.
If you don't want to watch what's on Fox, then change the channel, stupid! It's that simple. You want to know why sheeple keep tuning into this crap? It's because they want to see what's going to happen next.
There's a line from the movie "Private Parts." It goes like this- "The average Howard Stern fan listens for 7.5 minutes a day. The average HS HATER listens for 20.5 minutes. When asked why they listened so long, the number one answer was, "I wanted to hear what he had to say next.""
Same with TV viewers, they want to see what's next.
Me? I'm a 24 fan, love the NFC over the AFC , watch Nascar, and no I'm not a redneck, I'm an educated person who watches from a statistical POV, and I also watch and support my local sports teams like the Clippers, Angels, Bruins and Ducks. (I don't cheer for teams supported by gangbangers and their ilk).
So TWC can kiss my a$$ over crying about a dollar when they pay $4 to broadcast ESPN.

Disgusting. They have money for that!

But to come to an agreement, NO!

This should not have become so public and FOX should be fined with TWC.

Both companies look greedy as ever.

Worst stations ever!!!!! Can't wait till they drop Fixed News or Faked News or Fox Noise or what ever they call themselves!


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