Fox Network and Time Warner Reach Agreement in Fee Fight
January 2, 2010
(ChattahBox) – Fox television network and Time Warner Cable have reached a programming deal in principle on Friday, announcing on New Year’s Day that their standoff was over. Both parties continued negotiating throughout New Year’s morning and afternoon in Los Angeles before reaching a settlement. Fox had threatened to force Time Warner Cable and another cable TV provider, Bright House Networks, to drop the Fox broadcast signal from 14 of its TV stations and half a dozen of its cable channels as a contract expired at midnight Thursday.
Fox was pressured to make a stand because the network is facing stiff competition from cable channels, such as the Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, which earn subscriber fees on top of advertising dollars. That dual revenue stream allowed ESPN to outbid Fox for high-priced 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. It’s unclear how close Time Warner came to meeting Fox’s demand for $1 per subscriber each month. “We’re happy to have reached a reasonable deal with no disruption in programming for our customers,” said Time Warner Cable’s CEO in a statement. The fee dispute came to a head in the lead-up to the college football bowl season and the NFL playoffs.