Fox, Cablevision to respond to FCC on TV blackout

* Cablevision, Fox to write FCC by end of business day

* Fox blacked out on Cablevision for 10 days

* FCC calls for evidence of “good faith” negotiations

By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK, Oct 25 (Reuters Life!) – Cablevision Systems Corp
and Fox Networks are each expected to provide written details
of their bitter fee negotiations to U.S. regulators by the end
of business on Monday as more than 3 million homes remain
blacked out to some of their favorite Fox shows and sports.

The Federal Communications Commission asked both companies
to provide evidence that the negotiations are being conducted
in “good faith” even as Fox stations remained off the cable
systems of the New York company for the tenth day. The two
companies have not been in negotiating talks since Thursday,
according to people close to the companies.

Both companies have privately confirmed they will be
sending in their responses by the end of the day, though it was
not immediately clear if either side would officially claim the
other is acting in bad faith.

For its part Cablevision has been keen for regulators or
another third party to get involved in helping to resolve the
fight.

Fox has described Cablevision’s call for arbitration as a
negotiating tactic.

The company, which is controlled by the Dolan family, is
fighting against programming fee increases as well as new fees
from program makers.

In particular Cablevision and other cable operators have
been reluctant to pay what they believe are high fees for the
right to carry free-to-air broadcast signals of local stations
such as Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS.

Fox, driven by its owner News Corp, is pushing very hard to
get paid top dollar for its network which features very popular
shows such as “American Idol,” “Glee,” “House” and key sports
programs like the NFL and Major League Baseball’s World Series
championship.

It is a battle which is likely to test the loyalty of
Cablevision subscribers who have been unable to watch some of
their favorite shows for 10 days, with no return in sight. Fox
has advised these subscribers to switch to rivals like DirecTV
Group and Verizon Communications.

Even if these customers switched there is no guarantee the
same issue would not arise with these other pay-TV companies
later down the road. For example, Fox is also in a dispute with
Dish Network Corp over programming fees. Dish customers could
very well lose Fox on Nov. 1, just a month after they lost
Fox’s regional sports networks.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Richard Chang)

Fox, Cablevision to respond to FCC on TV blackout