The cable business and news channels are ramping up their coverage today of the looming Midnight deadline between Time Warner Cable and Fox Broadcasting. At issue: the News Corp. network wants $1 per Time Warner subscriber. If an agreement isn’t reached, Fox could go dark in 13 million homes in the cities with FOX owned and operated stations. [This does not affect Fox News Channel, only FOX broadcast.] FNC has not reported on the story today, but Fox Business has been.
Correspondent Adam Shapiro reports with a decidedly News Corp. take: “The reason that FOX is asking for a dollar requested compensation is equal to what Time Warner cable pays TNT, a network with a fraction of the ratings. So, that’s what’s at stake here. News Corp. wants to get paid for programming that it delivers. TNT gets paid about a dollar per subscribers. Time Warner, by the way, has a 40% profit margin and as you know, it’s no secret, advertising revenue in television is declining and television networks like FOX are looking at new ways to generate revenue so that they can continue to bring you programs like The Simpsons and Family Guy and that kind of stuff.”
Shapiro also advised viewers to go to the KeepFoxOn.com Website which was set up by the Fox Networks Group.
HLN is also reporting the story today, with their anchor opining: “This is a lose-lose for all of us. Either those customers lose the channels, or their monthly cable bill goes up and no matter what happens probably FOX and maybe other broadcast networks are going to try this in the future too with more cable companies.” HLN is a CNN network. Time Warner Inc., the parent of CNN, spun off Time Warner Cable earlier this year.
And this could be just the beginning of retransmission battles which will take an even more intriguing twist next year when Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, prepares to close on its controlling stake in NBCUniversal, and its stable of cable networks, a broadcast network and local TV stations.