Fox And Time Warner Cable Threaten Football, Annoy John Kerry

Say what you will about John Kerry, but the man does not like the thought of missing football games. If that’s what you are looking for in a Senator — he’s your guy. For a while now, TWC and FOX have been embroiled in a dispute over what the TV network can change for its programming. Now FOX is threatening to pull its channels, including NFL games from TWC if it doesn’t get more money.

John Kerry is like, omg you are so not doing that:

“If Fox believes that withdrawing programming from 4 million households is its best negotiating tactic, then I would ask the FCC to intervene and mandate continued carriage and arbitration,” Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, wrote.

TWC has asked FOX to enter arbitration and agree to let programming continue on TWC until an agreement is reached. FOX is like, “Uh, No! Ha!”

If there is no accord by midnight, Fox stations may go black on Time Warner Cable systems in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and Austin, Texas, says Bloomberg.

FOX, of course, remains available over the air.

Below is FOX’s response to Kerry, which says basically: “Mind your own beeswax, binding arbitration sucks.”

Keep Games on TV or FCC May Mediate, Kerry Warns Fox [BusinessWeek]

careykerry.jpg

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. maximus says:

    fox doesn’t deserve the money. They are doing a disservice for their advertisers who have ALREADY paid $$$$$$$$ to get their stuff broadcasted. The cable fee sounds to me like a money grab.

    • Boberto says:

      In order to understand this dispute, you first need to understand cable TV’s historical context, as follows:
      In the 1940′s, a guy selling televisions out of his shop needed to augment his business by demonstrating good antenna reception. Because his market was in a mountainous area of Pennsylvania, reception was a challenge. So he erected a tower on top of a mountain, placed an antenna at the top and ran a cable back to his store. It wasn’t long before he came up with the idea of splitting and sharing the cable to members of his community. And thus Community Access Cable TV or CATV was born.

      It was a great idea that benefitted everyone. Broadcasters loved it because it solved a distribution problem, consumers loved it because it solved a technical issue. The owner of the TV shop was now selling more TV’s than ever. Win, win, win.

      And today, as with all good ideas, greed has gotten the better of the industry, as the party’s have sought to leverage their perceived negotiating advantages against one another.

      If you’re in a position, where your spending ANY money for pay cable/sat services then you have too much money and time.

      An internet connection with a simple antenna will give you more than enough content. If you’re worried that you won’t be thoroughly entertained (as you had been with pay TV), then that’s a sign that you need to be doing something else with your life.

      • PølάrβǽЯ says:

        Yes, anyone whose recreational and entertainment preferences aren’t the same as yours needs to do something else with their life.

        Elitist asshole.

        • Boberto says:

          Sorry if I came off sounding so bad. My viewpoint comes from from personal experience. Having so many channels led me to spending too much time in front of the box. I haven’t eliminated TV entirely from my life, but I watch it way less. And in doing so, I’m more connected, more engaged and more involved with activities that actually pay dividends. I’m tuned in and connected to meaningful things, instead of being diverted and distracted.

          Cutting the cable was a personal choice for me, but I meant no disrespect to those who have chosen otherwise. I guess I sounded like an ex-smoker. Sorry for that.

      • Coles_Law says:

        Really interesting, but you blew it with the preaching in the last paragraph.

      • XTC46 says:

        Thank you for telling me how to spend my money, if it were not for you, I would be lost.

        not all shows are on the internet (legally). I want the shows I watch to continue, so I watch them, with advertisements, so they make money and continue production.

        I do other things aside from tv, but the minimal amount I pay for cable is well worth being able to watch something random at any given time.

      • SnoopyFish says:

        I completely agree with you. I don’t have the Antenna but I do have the PC hooked to the TV. Haven’t paid for cable TV in over 4 years and still watch every movie and TV show want and then some.

  2. ktetch says:

    So a bunch of people can’t watch a heavily watered down, simplified, and baby version of rugby, oh dear. Goodbye, don’t let the door hit your spandex’d backside on your way to the showers.

    When it takes a team of 50 3 hours to play a game where there’s only 11 on the field at once, and 60 minnutes play time – you should know theres serious problems. Call me if they ever decide to get rid of the babyish padding/body armor and all the breaks so they can get their breath back.

    • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

      TROLL MOAR.

      • ktetch says:

        I worked on a tv show a few years back, and we had the Oakland Raiders there. I also knew some of the people at the Bradford Bulls Rugby club in the UK. I proposed an exhibition match in the off-season – two actually, one Rugby one American Football. The bulls were all for it. General reaction of the raiders was something like “hell no man, that game’s dangerous, I’d get hurt!” I also don’t think they’d last the full 80 minutes with only a few substitutions.

        This was back in 2000 though, so maybe a current NFL team feels they might be up for it.

        • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

          The fatties on the line would have no chance. But receivers, backs and safeties have no excuse; they should have been down for those exhibition games.

          Then again, these were the Raiders. Come on.

    • tbax929 says:

      It’s a free country. If you don’t like American football, don’t watch it. Problem solved.

    • red3001 says:

      ha ha ha! As much as I love Rugby, it is more chaotic compared to the gridiron codes of football. American football is much more strategic and planned compared to rugby. Rugby requires faster thinking when compared to the slower rate of gridiron football. Though i do agree with your assessment on padding and helmets, it does allow for more spectacular tackles.

      Besides, come back and talk to me when union or league style rugby is played at the olympics instead of the watered down baby version called sevens. might as well be flag football…

      btw, you just got my follow.

  3. ap0 says:

    Thank God we don’t have any other problems in this country so lawmakers can focus on stuff like this.

    • darklighter says:

      This is a stupid, stupid argument that is repeated every time some bozo thinks an issue is unimportant. Our lawmakers can, in fact, chew gum and walk at the same time. Especially in the senate, things move slowly, and not every senator is required to focus on the same issue at once. And as chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, this kind of thing is actually one of Kerry’s responsibilities. So next time you feel like complaining about the legislature, try to bring something of substance to the table, okay?

      • ap0 says:

        Let me rephrase: I wish the government wouldn’t get involved in things that I personally don’t think they need to be involved in. The FCC doesn’t have the same jurisdiction over cable company content that they do over broadcast airwaves. You can still get FOX on satellite and over the air, and I don’t consider the content FOX provides to be essential for day to day life (like a telephone, for instance). For Kerry to say that the FCC should mandate continued carriage of the broadcast bothers me because it takes FOX’s power as a broadcaster away to not do business with an operator if they aren’t compensated what they feel is fairly (and again, I think that’s something that the two of them can come up with, and shouldn’t be determined by the FCC).

        • Maz says:

          Unfortunately, the FCC is really the only thing standing between cable companies and full on anti-competitive strategies. They have already instituted bandwidth caps to compete against streaming media and are working on blocking these types of content. If you can stream movies from Netflix, why watch PPV / On Demand? If you can watch TV on Hulu, why buy the TV package?

          These services may not be able to completely replace cable TV, but they are getting better at it and Comcast/TWC is attempting to smother those technologies in their crib, if they cannot co-opt them for their own exclusive use.

    • ARP says:

      Two things make this important.

      1) It could directly affect cable/sat./internet prices
      2) It deals with the issue that now a few media companies to control most of what you watch and seem inclined to be even more restrictive.

      I know many of you are worried about Obama taking yur guns and killing your grandparents, but media consolidation and anti-trust issues have a real impact.

    • thebt1 says:

      have you ever heard of multi-tasking? How much time does it take for Kerry to have an assistant send a letter?

  4. SG-Cleve says:

    Fox should be paying the cable companies to carry their channels. The more people that watch their channels the more money they get from advertisers.

  5. dolemite says:

    As long as they take Fox “News” with them, I say good riddance! Also, I’d like my cable bill to go down several dollars.

    • Sunflower1970 says:

      Sadly, Fox News and Fox Business Channel are not affected by this. (Unless something’s changed recently.)

      I’d be more than thrilled if these two channels were gone too.

    • Logan26 says:

      spoken like a die hard liberal

      • zentec says:

        How do you know he’s a liberal? Perhaps he’s lamenting that Fox News isn’t conservative *enough* and thus, wishes them to go away.

    • thebt1 says:

      I second that. I couldn’t care less if o’reilly, beck and the rest of his crew leave forever. I’m tired of essentially paying to have these bozos on my cable.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      You actually think TWC will lower your bill b/c of no Fox? Think again. They would never lower anyone’s bill for any reason. They will probably still find some way to rasie rates.

  6. Leela says:

    Both sides suck. My husband, who usually stays up til midnight anyway, plans to watch FOX go off the air tonight. He seems to be looking forward to it.

    My favorite part of this whole kerfuffle is if you go to Time Warner’s Get Tough/Rollover site and choose Rollover, you are told your answer is wrong and redirected to the Get Tough page.

    • Sunflower1970 says:

      Yep. I was thinking of doing the same thing…Making a big bowl of popcorn, drinking champagne and watching the fun.

    • gsarnold says:

      Do what I did — click “Roll over” and submit a comment telling them they have no idea how close I am to cancelling ALL** of it.

      (** except internet, of course…

  7. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I am in no way saddened by the loss of Fox programming. I am, however, saddened that I do not live in those major metropolitan areas mentioned and will still have to ensure Fox News Programming.

  8. tbax929 says:

    As a lifelong Eagles fan, I get some small joy in knowing that Fox may go off the air in Dallas in time for the Eagles/Cowboys game on Sunday.

    Actually, I don’t. It would suck for people who want to watch the game and can’t. I just like to pick on Cowboys fans.

    I know not everyone is an NFL fan, but this weekend is really important for a lot of teams that are on the bubble or, like my team, trying to sew up a higher playoff seed. I feel for fans who may not be able to see their games. I’ll be watching the Red Zone channel on Sunday since my local Fox station will be showing the Cardinals game Sunday.

    • blogger X says:

      The RedZone channel is the best thing since sliced bread!

    • rpm773 says:

      Isn’t Jerry Jones’ shrine to consumption large enough to hold every single organism in Texas that wants to see the Cowboys play?

      • GearheadGeek says:

        Only the ones willing to pay exorbitant fees and endure massive crowds and lines. And god forbid you should want a beer and don’t have your Gold Card with you…

    • MSchott says:

      I love me some Cowboys, but TCU is who I really want to watch. Alas, it looks like I might be migrating to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the rest of the football season.

    • freelunch says:

      “It would suck for people who want to watch the game and can’t. I just like to pick on Cowboys fans. “
      or… they could just stick an antenna on their TV and watch Fox over broadcast…. hdtv channel 4.1 in Dallas, I believe.

    • pot_roast says:

      This came up on our local news, and they said that Fox/TWC had agreed to at least air the games. No big deal.

      Otherwise, we have DirecTV friends with the Sunday Ticket and big TV sets.

      /near Fort Worth

  9. wgrune says:

    If it means that I never have to look at that stupid FOX Robot play a guitar, dance around, or spike a football I am all for it. Man, do I hate that thing.

  10. m1ek says:

    Any network available over the air for free should be free to cable companies – period. If TNT starts broadcasting over the air, then the comparison becomes relevant.

    • drizzt380 says:

      It is free. AT&T can watch it as much as they want. Now broadcasting it themselves? Thats like bittorrent times a 1000. I mean really. Thats what it is. Maybe I should make that argument in court. Bones comes over the air free so I should be able to share it for free.

      • m1ek says:

        Yes, as a matter of fact, you should. Anything which was broadcast for free over the airwaves should be capable of being rebroadcast for free.

  11. ryan89 says:

    The less people that can watch Fox News, the better off this nation will become.

  12. G.O.B.: Come on! says:

    It was once the case that broadcast networks didn’t charge cable providers anything. Cable providers were reaching people that broadcast signals couldn’t; cable was doing networks like Fox a favor by expanding their reach. I still don’t see a reason why broadcast networks should charge cable providers anything when their programming is freely available over the air. As long as cable isn’t charging for local channels as an extra, networks need to GTFO and stop driving up the cost of cable.

    TWC has my neighborhood and this entire portion of L.A. by the balls. U-Verse is only now being rolled in and FiOS is not far behind. Until Verizon makes its way here, its Dish Network for me.

  13. frank64 says:

    The model that works is that WE pay cable to transmit stations we couldn’t ordinarily get. Of course if it is a station has no commercials, then charging would be fine, if we had a direct choice.

    The stations get the service of having their content distributed free and get to earn revenue from the commercials we watch. So now Fox wants us to pay twice. Once by watching the commercials and then pay again in our cable fee. Fox is double dipping. They are charging the Cable Co’s to do a service they should be thanking them for.

    Cable Co’s are in the middle and will pass on the costs to us, they are restrained however because the cost of cable is already too high. This is probably the only reason they are fighting it. I will continue to get Fox channels for free – I use an antenna! Do you think Fox will send me a bill? The stations also have to pay for the broadcasting to my home, I am actually costing Fox more!

    • gparlett says:

      Your argument falls apart when you realize that cable channels also air commercials.

      • frank64 says:

        No, it is a nuance, but my argument doesn’t fall apart. I don’t think that cable shouldn’t pay for the rights to CNN either. There is a huge amount of commercials on these stations too. That the cable companies DO pay is true, but when I look at the cost of cable and the value, I elect not to pay for it. The more stations start to charge to be carried the faster people look for other alternatives.

        I like the water/pipe analogy someone else used. Up to now we have been for the water separately. As I said before, the symbiotic relationship means we can argue both ways, but however you look at it we will be paying twice for the same thing, where we now pay once. Not good for cable subscribers. That is the bottom line. You can’t argue that!

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          Many cable companies insert their OWN commercials over the ones the network plays. While I can’t recall if this is correct for local affiliates stations(NBC,ABC,CBS,FOX,WPIX,UPN,etc) I know it is the case for cable channels(Fox Reality, USA,TBS,etc…). So the network commercials never get seen by the people watching them on cable. They instead get commercials the cable company is PAID to show.

  14. blogger X says:

    That image made my day!

  15. bravo369 says:

    we keep being told that a la cart programming is expensive to the consumer. Well with these prices increasing…and inevitably passed on to us…maybe it’s time to do it. why do i need to have my bill increased over these disputes for channels i don’t even want.

    • frank64 says:

      If the cable subscriber had an option of paying extra for Fox or not receiving it, do you think Fox would be asking for extra money? Many would save a few bucks and do without. This could be said of many of the channels on today. The content providers fight hard to get the cable companies to put the channels into the general tiers instead of charging extra per channel. It hides the real cost from our decision on the channels we want, and they make much more.

    • Nogard13 says:

      The reason they say A La Carte is more expensive is because the current prices include chanels that are practically free. Where ESPN charges cable companies $4 per subscriber, MTV2 only charges $.02. So, if you bundle a few high-cost channels with several cheap ones, you can charge a reasonable price and claim to offer over 150+ channels.

      As for me, tho, I would never pay for 3/4 of the channels I currently receive (especially SD channels). Come to think of it, I’d probably only pay for about 10 channels, not including the 4 major broadcast networks (ESPN, ESPN2, CNN HN, Discovery, Food Network, TLC, TBS, TNT, and maybe a few others).

  16. rwalford792 says:

    All Im going to say is…

    1. This sucks for the consumer
    2. This sucks for the cable provider
    3. This sucks for News Corp
    4. This sucks for the advertisers
    5. This is how it works when you want to broadcast your networks
    6. Thats what the government ruled in the 90s…Direct negotiations.

  17. ARP says:

    This is what happens when content providers become too consolidated. A few companies (Fox, Viacom, Disney) own most channels and can force cable/sat companies to buy channels they don’t want to get the channels they want. Just wait until Comcast starts flexing its muscle over NBC and its related content.

    Question to the anti-trust lawyer crowd. How are these activities not tying?

    • Esquire99 says:

      To show illegal tying, the FTC/DOJ/Private plaintiff must prove the following:
      2 distinct products
      Conditioned sale
      Seller has market power in the tying product
      Affects a substantial volume of commerce in the tied market

      Here, the paid-for channels are the “tying” product and the broadcast channels TWC would be the tied product. If TWC wants to keep the paid-for channels, it’s going to have to pay for the broadcast channels.

      So, in order to show illegal tying, it has to be shown the Fox has market power in the paid-for channels, which is unlikely given the fairly large number of news and sports channels, as well as other general-type programming (like FX).

  18. adamstew says:

    This doesn’t affect the normal broadcast TV fox channels, atleast not in my area. Only Fox’s cable channels, the ones you’ve never heard of and don’t watch: Fox Reality Channel, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports, World Espanol, Fuel, FX, and Speed Channel.

    • Guppy06 says:

      On the contrary, read the letter. Fox wants to charge cable companies to carry the broadcast affiliates as well as the cable networks. Third-to-last paragraph.

      RTFA, as they say.

  19. Esquire99 says:

    I’m somewhat surprised that everyone seems to think that Fox is in the wrong here. TWC (and all the cable companies, for that matter) have been making a lot of money for a long time by redistributing broadcast channels and haven’t had to pay anything for it. Cable companies have to pay for “Cable” channels, like TBS, TNT, ESPN. As far as the “double-dipping” that Fox is being accused of, all of the “paid” cable channels advertise (save for the premiums, like HBO). The FCC has already created a balance of power here with the must-carry rules. The cable companies, like it or not, would be FORCED to carry Fox if Fox wanted to be on cable. The FCC gives the cable companies no choice if the broadcasters demands carriage. There is also a provision that allows for the Broadcaster to negotiate a fee for carriage, rather than demanding that its programming be carried for free. If Fox doesn’t demand carriage, and TWC won’t negotiate a fee in exchange for consent, TWC can’t re-distribute Fox programming. It seems that Fox has simply decided to go with the second provision and negotiate a fee for carriage and TWC doesn’t like it.

    What I don’t understand is why TWC really cares. It’s $1 per month that WILL be passed on to customers. Most customers won’t notice an extra $1 per month. Lets assume that CBS, ABC and NBC also insisted on $1 per month. That’s a total of $4 per month extra per subscriber. Again, passed on to the consumer, most people won’t really notice the extra charge. Granted, it’s a slippery slope, but this was has been brewing for awhile and I suspect that this trend will continue.

    TWC won’t be able to hold out very long. Fox won’t get the brunt of the consumer backlash; TWC will. Fox knows this and that’s why they don’t want to budge. TWC will be flooded with angry calls, emails, etc. and bad press, and will probably see customers who have other options leave. Fox, on the other hand, stands to lose very little in the interim. Ultimately, I suspect TWC will break. This will set the stage for all future negotiations between cable companies and broadcasters, who will all now demand $$ for carriage and will get it.

    • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

      Making a lot of money by redistributing broadcast channels? The demand for cable isn’t driven by the desire for broadcast channels; if anything it’s to get away from the outright shit programming that you’re left with when you only have over-the-air channels. Cable did and still does broadcast networks a favor by reaching rural areas and other places that otherwise are poorly served by air signals. Now, broadcast networks SHOULD make sure that carriers aren’t factoring in local channels into the cost of cable. I’m in agreement with that. By doing so, carriers aren’t making money off of freely available content. How that would be accomplished could be through independent audits. The consumer doesn’t get charged more for free content and broadcasters don’t have their content produce ill-gotten revenue for carriers.

      Why drive up the cost of carrier service by charging for something that allegedly produces revenue for carriers? You can just take steps to ensure that carriers aren’t making money off of it and keep service costs down at the same time.

    • frank64 says:

      You are saying you are surprised we are not siding with Fox, and then you are saying that we will end up paying the extra costs? So you are saying we should just lay down and ask them to raise our bill an extra $5 a month(when all the other networks do the same)? And for no added value.

      And yes, it is a slippery slope, but more than just all the other channels they will also ask for bigger and bigger fees in the years to come. Who wants a bigger cable bill, I can see it growing pretty quickly by more than just the few dollars in the first year.

    • m1ek says:

      As far as broadcast TV goes, the money you pay your cable company isn’t for the right to get to those signals – it’s for the ability to get to those signals without having to deal with two separate inputs to your TV and a big ugly antenna on top of your house.

      That service (that the cable company provides) has never been provided by the broadcast entities – they’ve never even tried to provide it. Why on earth should they be rewarded for somebody else trying to do it?

      • Esquire99 says:

        I certainly agree that TWC deserves to profit from the service it provides. That said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to be forced to pay for the underlying content that they are delivering to their customers.

        • m1ek says:

          It is eminently unreasonable, because the consumers themselves would not have had to pay for that content if they went to the trouble of putting up an antenna.

          All TWC is selling, really, is another foot of pipe, and maintenance thereof. The water flowing through the pipe was free when you had to go out to the street and fill buckets from it, and it should still be free after you pay TWC to run some pipe up to your faucet inside the house.

          • Esquire99 says:

            But the need for their “pipe” wouldn’t be there if Fox, etc. didn’t provide the content. TWC is still profiting from from Fox’s signal. If TWC doesn’t need for for profit, they’ll let them go.

            • frank64 says:

              What about the service the cable companies provide by the free distribution of the content? A
              case could be made just as strong as your case. Its a symbiotic relationship, so you can spin it both ways.

              I always thought as cable as providing the pipeline, not the content. If the content is part of the product, then why have commercials? I really think cable stations such as CNN are much the same, that cable cos pay for it is some of the problem. Many of those stations have more commercials than broadcast networks.

              I am normally predisposed to be against the cable companies here, in this case though the consumer is much better off not having to pay for something they haven’t had to before(except for the commercials).

              Really FOX seems to do OK by me watching broadcast. If it wasn’t profitable to them they wouldn’t do it, or they would send me a bill and they haven’t.

              That cable channels like CNN should be the same. That it isn’t is one reason why cable is so expensive, that is why I don’t get it.

    • thebt1 says:

      fox is still getting payment for the commercials it airs, making it the same as free-to-air. How is it fair for them to collect on what they normally would through the advertisements as well as fees from the cable companies, which will just increase the cost.

  20. 2 replies says:

    Ohhhhh Football doesn’t like being extorted? *single tear*
    Maybe they’ll now know how their game patrons feel when they’re buying tickets!

  21. DrLumen says:

    There is a good article at the New York Times that outlines all the issues around this. It is at

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/29/business/media/29cable.html?_r=1&ref=television

    While both TWC and Fox may be getting greedy with TWS customers caught in the middle, i would have to side with Fox on this one since TWC produces nothing and, effectively, resells content made by others. Also, from the article, the cable compnanies have been getting a free ride for the last 20 years. It’s time for TWC to pay up. While I’m not sure of the fees Fox wants, I think TWC is being the greediest of the two.

    • m1ek says:

      What TWC is selling is the ability to deliver broadcast TV to your TV set without a separate input and an antenna on top of your house. That’s it; and they do, in fact, deserve to be paid something for that service, as much as I wish TWC would die in a fire.

  22. Stoli says:

    I loathe TWC and aside from their cartoons, I loathe Fox. Is this that big of a deal? Isn’t it a free country where Fox can sell this to whoever they want? Fox can either find someone else or work out a deal with TWC.

  23. fatediesel says:

    Much of Iowa has a similar problem happening tonight. Mediacom, the state’s biggest cable company, is going to lose Fox for most of the state and CBS for the eastern part. This means no NFL playoffs and most importantly no Iowa bowl game if this isn’t resolved this weekend. Mediacom is fighting with Sinclair, who owns the affiliates, and not the actual networks, and lost the channels 3 years ago briefly in a similar fight, although at that time they only owned the western Fox affiliate.

  24. Colonel Jack O'neill says:

    Since FOX is broadcasted over the air, why the hell are they trying to charge it?

    Anything that you can get freely over the air, you shouldn’t have to pay for, not even the cable companies.

    • Esquire99 says:

      Look at it this way. Yes, you can get Fox, etc. free over the air, but it’s generally inconvenient (antenna setup, etc.) and isn’t generally as reliable as getting the signal via cable. Cable companies are making money by providing you with a convenience, which is comprised of better signal, reliability, etc. for OTA stations. The cable company is making a profit off of this convenience. Essentially, TWC is taking Fox’s content and delivering it in a manner that many consumers prefer and profiting from that delivery. Fox feels it’s unfair that TWC is making a profit and isn’t paying anything for the content. Further, since Fox has control over its content, it is telling TWC that it can no longer redistribute its content without sharing part of TWC’s profit.

      • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

        I’m wouldn’t be so sure that it’s a “better” signal. I believe cable signals are further compressed for bandwidth’s sake more so than broadcast. More compression, less fidelity. Reliability is better but, at least in my case, reliability has never been a problem.

        • Esquire99 says:

          I’ll give you that it’s not always better. Depends on the provider, etc. Some cable companies literally grab the over the air signal and repeat it, others have direct fiber connections to the local affiliate and get it from there. Further, different providers do use different compression schemes/methods. Poor choice of words on my part, I suppose.

    • drizzt380 says:

      Look at it this way. I get the TV show Bones free over the air. I can’t legally bittorrent out recordings of that TV show can I?

      • dantsea says:

        Torrenting doesn’t provide Fox or its local stations with value. You’re not eyeballs they can sell for advertising, you’re not a demographic that Procter & Gamble can reach.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I got the notice from TWC, and Fox News and the regular Fox network were not included on the list of channels in my zip code. It was only sports and a couple of other things.

  25. bitsnbytes says:

    Funny. My state’s senator, John “Liveshot” Kerry, loves being in front of the news camera of the Fox affiliate, or any news camera, for that matter. Maybe he wants to make sure we don’t miss a chance to see him. :-)

    Anyway, Fox has the right to negotiate this with Time Warner. It’s an option under the “must-carry” rule: broadcasters can either negotiate a fee or demand free coverage.

    The major network broadcasters have been overcharging on their cable channels in order to subsidize their money-losing over-the-air channels, and it’s about time that they rationalize things. Otherwise, there’s an incentive to take the whole Fox broadcast programming slate and turn it into a cable channel.

    What bugs me is that Disney charges my cable operator (and therefore me) about $4 for ESPN, a channel I don’t even watch.

    • Esquire99 says:

      $4 is actually pretty cheap for ESPN. I know they charge some of the smaller operators (like the one I used to work for) in the $5-6 range.

  26. Red Cat Linux says:

    I only really care about two FOX offerings these days: House and Family Guy. I can get them through the local broadcast via cable provided that doesn’t somehow get affected by this dust up.

    In a way, I’m kinda siding with FOX on this one. If the letter in the article is accurate, they are getting paid less than TNT with higher ratings. I don’t really care about original content – people want to see what they want to see. If I want to veg out to the latest Law and Order marathon (starting every other day it seems!) then by God, get out of the way and let me bask in the glow of TNT syndication.

    But I always understood ratings were where the money was. If FOX pulls the ratings, they have the leverage to negotiate their fees.

    But honestly – I wouldn’t miss FOX News. On a slow news day, they are the equivalent of People of Walmart reading the Star in the checkout lane wearing their animal print Snuggies.

    • nybiker says:

      w/r/t “On a slow news day, they are the equivalent of People of Walmart reading the Star in the checkout lane wearing their animal print Snuggies.” That is one hell of an image. Now I can’t get rid of it.
      PoW FTW!

  27. RChris173 says:

    Not only is this a problem for the NFL, but in Orlando and other parts of Florida where Bright House (TWC) is the cable company, FOX may go out too. This is a problem for many Gator fans as the University of Florida takes on the Cincinnati Bearcats in the BCS Sugar Bowl.

    http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20091231/NEWS01/912310321/1006/Judge+denies+motion+to+force+Fox+to+air+Sugar+Bowl

  28. Woodside Park Bob says:

    The frequencies used by FOX and the other broadcasters belong to the public and are only licensed to the broadcasters. The FCC or Congress should require that any fees charged to cable companies by the broadcasters for re-transmission of their signals should be paid to the U.S. Treasury to compensate for the broadcaster’s use of the public airwaves. That would put an end to this nonsense.

  29. d0x360 says:

    Screw you Fox, you canned FireFly and a number of other high quality shows without ever giving them a decent chance. May you burn!

  30. drdom says:

    The thing is, this is cable. You pay for it. It’s a private business. This is a dispute between 2 companies over which products they provide and at what price. What happened to free enterprise??? It is not the public airwaves. They’re still free. It’s cable, which is a paid commercial product.

    If you don’t like the assortment of offerings from your local Time Warner Cable, buy Dish Network, watch free over the air TV, or find whatever other alternative you would like. But we might want to consider keeping the government from being involved in every single business and personal decision in our lives.

    God forbid, some Fox channels aren’t available on cable.

    Let’s let TWC and Fox sort that out on their own.

    • Esquire99 says:

      Some, including TWC, are tying to shoehorn the FCC into this because they have some jurisdiction over TWC and cable systems generally. The thing is, the FCC has regulations in place that allow this type of situation in the first place. If Fox doesn’t want to impose a must-carry obligation on TWC, it can withhold retransmission consent without a fee. Fox is merely operating within the current FCC regulations, and TWC doesn’t like it because it’s different from what has been done in the past.

  31. BillyShears says:

    Time Warner should call their bluff. Let’s see how Fox likes losing 4m viewers, lower ratings, and lower ad buys as a result. I think, in that situation, TWC will get the upper hand fairly quickly.

    • Esquire99 says:

      I actually think it’s quite the opposite. TWC is going to catch the brunt of this, its customers are going to be the ones directly affected. TWC’s call centers will be getting the furious phone calls, the threats to leave, etc. Fox knows this and that’s why they are standing firm, and why TWC is flailing wildly to find a solution that keeps Fox on its system (writing Kerry, trying to involve the FCC, etc.).

      • dantsea says:

        Are you wearing hipwaders while spreading that nigh-unadulterated bullspew, son?

        This isn’t the first time a cable/satellite operator has had to deal with a network threatening to take its ball and go home. It won’t be the last. TWC won’t see much beyond the usual level of frothing churn, Fox’s weekly ad revenue will plummet like a rock provided they don’t blink first, and they will. They need TWC and they know without them, they’re as relevant as PAX (or is that Ion these days).

  32. Esquire99 says:

    I’m really bothered by the fact that the government is getting involved here so that football fans aren’t inconvenienced. Since when did it become the government’s job to prevent people from being inconvenienced by losing access to a service that is merely a luxury? This line from a current WSJ article is particularly disturbing:

    From Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission,
    “Companies shouldn’t force cable-watching football fans to scramble for other means of TV delivery on New Year’s weekend.”

    and

    “Agency officials are concerned about consumers who would have no option for viewing Fox’s broadcast channels because they don’t have newer TVs that can pick up digital signals. “Given it’s a holiday weekend and many stores might be closed [Friday], we could require carriage for three days or whatever to give consumers the ability to get a converter box or whatever they need” to watch Fox’s local stations, an FCC official said.

  33. Seanumich says:

    Fox would kill itself if it decided to go black for their biggest football games of the year. Imagine you are an advertiser, who paid for X number of available viewers. Your contract with Fox would then have been sold to you by fraud. Now you might fight it in court,but how soon will that advertiser be back? Second, people want to see the game, they will blame the network first and foremost. They made the decision to black it out. Finally, congress has every right to be involved in this since it involves INTERSTATE COMMERCE, and Fox is using the public airwave.

  34. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    TWC is the most expensive television service in my area and they offer fewer channels than other options. They are the greedy ones.

  35. dg says:

    Hey – Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS – all those “over the air” broadcasters got FCC licenses to use the public airwaves in exchange for allowing free viewing of their programming. The way they get to make up the diff is via advertising.

    It wasn’t so long ago that the OTA broadcasters were whining about forcing the cable companies to carry their programming (the MUST CARRY rule) – because they were afraid of getting shut out.

    Now, they’re on the cable networks and they’re whining about not getting paid. Tough shit – they broadcast their “product”, someone picked it up and is reselling it to customers who couldn’t otherwise get it (usually). So in my opinion, the market just got bigger for the OTA broadcaster’s programming, and they should CHARGE MORE for the advertising because of the bigger audience.

    Oh wait, there’s like 500 channels — all with a bunch of useless crap on, maybe 4 of which have anything of interest, so there’s a GLUT of advertising capacity and no one’s going to pay you more for space on your network?

    What to do? What to do? Need a new wing on the house… what to do? Wait! I’ve got it! Start crying, threaten to turn off NFL and everything else and extort the $$$ out of the cable companies! Yeah, they’re pussies… it’ll work.. Right…?! Who’s with me!?

    NOT! Cable companies are just as bad, if not worse, than Rupert Murdoch himself – they’re not pushovers, and there’s no way they’re going for this.

    If anyone in broadcasting had any brains, they’d start CUTTING channels. Cut back on channels, reduce the glut of advertising capacity, and create a shortage of it. Then when there’s a shortage, you can CHARGE MORE!

    In the meantime, all those TWC people are just gonna either put up antennas on the roof – which may be bad for TWC because they might discover that all they really need are the 28 channels of DTV they get OTA (7 real channels, and the sub channels) and then they’re gone from TWC. OR, they might simply reduce their cable subscription, and increase the internet subscription and start streaming everything they can from everywhere they can – which will make TWC go Comcastic on their geek asses…

    But you know the whole reason for the letter from Sen Kerry? I’d guess:

    1) His geek Fu is seriously lacking. Like WHITE BELT lacking… So streaming video is beyond this guy. And he thinks the kids with the geek Fu are out to get him, so he needs his cable…

    2) Cable is free for him because he’s Pwned by TWC.

  36. Flyersfan says:

    This has been going on since September with DirecTV and Versus. Comcast owns Versus and is demanding DirecTV pay more to carry the channel. DirecTV won’t do it. In this case, no one cares because Versus carries the NHL which no one but diehard hockey fans watch anyway.

    What irks me about this is that the NHL has sided with Comcast. They even had a page on the NHL website telling people to contact DirecTV and tell them they want to see Versus. I contacted DirecTV, copied Frank the Comcast Twitter dude, and told them to tell Comcast to f*** off. I never actually heard back from anybody. I wonder if whatever Sen. Kerry comes up with for the TWC/Fox fight can be carried over to the NHL&Comcast/DirecTV battle. I hope he can force binding arbitration on them and it creates a precedent for DirecTV to use to crush Comcast.

  37. frank64 says:

    When I buy something online at Best Buy(just suppose, OK?) I pay BB and UPS. What if BB asked UPS to pay for the privilege of delivering my $80 Monster cable saying they wouldn’t be in business if it weren’t for companies like them. Then UPS raises my rates to pay for the charge, and then I STILL pay the delivery charge. I lose BB wins, and UPS gets people mad at them. Fabulous warped capitalism. I blame BB.

  38. quail says:

    From an email from TWC, they state: ” Our current agreement expires tonight at Midnight, and while our negotiation team is working hard to keep their programming on our system, the following channels may no longer be available as of Jan. 1, 2010: FX, Fuel, Speed Channel, Fox Reality Channel, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol. Other FOX channels NOT impacted by these current negotiations are FOX News, FOX Movies, FOX Business, National Geographic.

    For Time Warner Cable customers in Central New York, Buffalo and the Rochester area, please note that there are agreements in place between Time Warner Cable and your local FOX affiliate. Programming from these stations will NOT be affected by the national FOX Broadcasting negotiation, which means you will still be able to enjoy your favorite FOX programming, such as this weekend’s college football bowl games, “American Idol,” “24″ and more.”

    In essence they’re pulling stations I don’t watch anyway.

  39. atomoverride says:

    not too late you people can go get direct tv.

  40. DragonThermo says:

    The federal government not only has no place in interfering in private contracts, it is a violation of the Constitution. The role of the federal government is to *enforce* contract law, not use their police powers to interfere with private sector contracts.

    What good is having or even negotiating a contract in the private sector if Socialist Democrats (Kerry, et al) will play the role of a Mafia Don and force the private parties to accept their terms for their benefit. Private citizens can’t force a favorable contract for them between the cable company and the networks, why should a too-powerful professional politician using the police power of the federal government (or a Mafia Don using the power of hired goons)?

  41. almightytora says:

    What’s even more funny are the commercials heard on the radio in Los Angeles about this. It makes it sound like Time Warner is getting rid of FOX and to call a number and go online about it. Funny how it’s the other way around according to this article (FOX wanting more money or FOX will pull the plug).