In what may be a precedent-setting deal, Fox and Time Warner Cable are agreeing in principle to a new retransmission agreement meaning that millions of viewers here in Central Texas and elsewhere will still find football and the Simpsons on their cable line up.
Negotiators talked into the night as a midnight 12-31-09 deadline loomed. The Federal Communications Commission asked for and got an extension so viewers could get their bowl games during the holiday. Both sides continued talking into the new year. The “agreement in principle” was announced Friday night (1-1-2010).
Fox had been asking TW to pay $1 for each of their viewers, a price TW rejected. There is no word on what compensation may be included in the new deal. Fox had said it can no longer give away its stations' signals because the network is facing stiff competition from cable channels, such as the ESPN. ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Company, earns subscriber fees on top of advertising dollars. According to the Huffington Post, CBS is getting 50-cents per subscriber. Reportedly, Time Warner had been offering around 30-cents.
“We’re happy to have reached a reasonable deal with no disruption in programming for our customers,” said Glenn Britt, Chairman, President and CEO, Time Warner Cable in a statement posted on the KTBC TV (Fox 7) web site. KTBC is owned and operated (O&O) by Fox.
"We're pleased that, after months of negotiations, we were able to reach a fair agreement with Time Warner Cable -- one that recognizes the value of our programming,” said Chase Carey, Deputy Chairman, President and COO, News Corporation. Fox is owned by News Corp.
The deal affects some 14-million households across the nation. It was not all about Fox stations like KTBC, but also sports programming on regional sports cable channels like Fox Southwest.
Dual revenue streams ESPN has been able to outbid Fox for big sporting events such as the college football Bowl Championship Series — including the Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl that are now on Fox — from 2011 to 2013, according to the Associated Press.
I just switched over to the Sugar Bowl pitting unbeaten Cincinnati against Florida on Fox. The game is about to begin, but I doubt the Time Warner soap opera is over.
© Jim McNabb, 2010