Fox replaces two affiliates in smaller markets over fee dispute
News Corp.'s Fox Broadcasting Co. has stopped talking tough and started acting tough with its affiliates.
The network, which is pushing an aggressive new plan to be paid for its programming from its broadcast affiliates, dropped two small market stations after new deals couldn't reached. Fox had previously said it was prepared to part ways with any of the local television stations if their terms were not accepted.
The dropped stations are WTVW-TV in Evansville, IN., which is owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group, and KTRV-TV in Boise, Idaho, which is owned by Block Communications. Replacing Nexstar in Evansville is WEVV, owned by Communications Corp. of America, while the new outlet in Boise is owned by Journal Broadcast Group.
Fox is asking stations in the top 125 markets -- which includes Evansville and Boise -- to pay them a portion of money they get from cable and satellite operators who carry their programming. Initially, the network wants 25 cents per subscriber, per month with the fees rising to 50 cents in a few years. Stations in markets smaller than that would have fees starting at 15 cents per subscriber, per month with the fee increasing to 25 cents in the fourth year.
Television stations are still on the hook even if they are not getting paid by the pay-TV distributors in their markets or not getting enough to cover what Fox seeks.
Fox has said it needs the money from its stations for its own rising programming costs as well as to counter the effect of downturns in the advertising.
-- Joe Flint
For the record: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Evansville, Illinois. The station in question is in Evansville, Indiana.