Fox, Time Warner Cable Reach Carriage Agreement


News Corp. and Time Warner Cable on have agreed on a new deal that will keep the Fox broadcast network and a number of cable channels on the operator's menu.

After a pair of extensions allowed both sides to negotiate past the midnight deadline, an agreemnet was finally struck early Friday evening (Jan. 1).

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Heading into the December talks, Fox had been looking to secure a retransmission consent fee of $1 per subscriber per month. Time Warner Cable balked at that amount, offering instead a retrans payment between 25 cents and 30 cents per sub.

In the weeks leading up to New Year's Day, analysts predicted that Fox would likely settle on a retrans fee of around 50 cents to 60 cents, on par with what CBS has been able to command from its cable and satellite distributors.

Should Fox have gone dark, some 13 million Time Warner subs in markets like New York and Los Angeles would have lost the signal to the broadcast  net and cable channels like FX and the Fox Sports RSNs. (News Corp.'s Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network have separate carriage agreements and were not at risk of having thier feeds pulled.)

In a joint statement released Friday evening, the two parties said they have "agreed in principle to a comprehensive distribution agreement," one that also includes carriage for Bright House Networks’ 2 million customers.

"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 Corp.

Time Warner Cable president and CEO Glenn Britt characterized the new deal as "reasonable," but offered no insight into the terms.

The agreement may be seen as a victory for the broadcast networks, which are hoping to replicate the dual-revenue stream model that has kept cable afloat in times when the advertising marketplace is particularly rickity. Operators have resisted paying for retrans consent, arguing that broadcast signals should remain as free as they were in the days of rabbit-ears and rooftop antennae.

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