News Corp.’s Chase Carey expects Fox signals to be pulled from Time Warner Cable
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In an internal memo to staff, News Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said he did not think an agreement would be reached with Time Warner Cable regarding carrying Fox’s local TV stations and several cable networks before the deadline of the current deal expired at midnight Thursday.
That means the signals for local Fox TV stations in cities where Time Warner Cable is the distributor will go dark. Other channels that Fox owns that are part of this spat include FX and some regional sports channels including Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West in Los Angeles.
The two sides have been fighting for several months over the fee Fox wants from Time Warner Cable to keep carrying its local TV stations, including KTTV Los Angeles and WNYW New York. Fox has sought $1 per subscriber, per month, and Time Warner Cable so far has countered with about 30 cents per subscriber.
‘At this time, it looks like we will not reach an agreement and our channels may very well go off the air in Time Warner Cable systems at midnight tomorrow, December 31. We deeply regret that millions of Fox customers will be deprived of our programming, but we need to receive fair compensation from Time Warner Cable to go forward with them. Some may ask why Fox isn’t providing an extension while negotiations continue – the fact is that we’ve been trying since the summer to negotiate a fair deal and that further extensions simply extend the period of time that Time Warner profits from our marquee programming without fairly compensating Fox for it.’
Carey went on to say that Fox’s ‘requested compensation is about equal to what Time Warner Cable pays TNT, a network with a fraction of the ratings and original programming of Fox, or about a quarter of what they pay ESPN, a network we again dwarf in ratings. Time Warner Cable will claim they cannot afford the rates we are requesting and try to blame us for rate increases to their customers.’
Of course, Carey is a tough negotiator, and this is just the latest in a series of back-and-forth jabs between the two companies. Late Tuesday, Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt told Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who previously asked both sides to settle their differences so viewers wouldn’t lose their favorite shows, that he was willing to extend the current deal and enter binding arbitration. Neither of those options appeal to Fox.
-- Joe Flint