BETHPAGE, N.Y., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- At midnight on October 16, News Corp. pulled the plug on Cablevision customers, blacking out Fox 5 and My9 in more than 3 million NY-area households. Cablevision is calling on News Corp. to immediately put Fox 5 and My9 back on Cablevision and submit to binding arbitration under a neutral third party to reach a fair agreement.
Charles Schueler, Cablevision's executive vice president of communications, said:
"News Corp.'s decision to remove Fox programming from three million Cablevision households is a black eye for broadcast television in America. News Corp has refused to negotiate in good faith and rejected calls from dozens of political leaders to not pull the plug and join Cablevision in binding arbitration. We demand that News Corp. put the viewers ahead of its own greed and immediately restore these channels to our customers and agree to binding arbitration to reach a fair agreement. What is News Corp. afraid of?"
News Corp.'s pattern of destructive tactics has become clear. First, they threatened Time Warner Cable customers for weeks; then they pulled regional sports and cable channels off Dish Network; and now they have pulled the plug on Fox 5 and My9 for 3 million Cablevision households. Further, they are now threatening to pull their broadcast stations away from Dish Network's 14 million customers in two weeks. It is clear that News Corp. will pull the plug on any viewer, served by any cable, satellite or phone company, to get the money they want.
On Friday, News Corp. even flatly rejected the FCC's call for independent mediation. More than 100 political leaders called upon Cablevision and News Corp. to keep the channels on while they continued to negotiate, and 36 elected officials called upon Cablevision and News Corp. to submit to binding arbitration, to ensure no disruption of programming for customers. Cablevision agreed, but News Corp. rejected this fair approach.
Cablevision already pays News Corp. more than $70 million a year for its channels, and News Corp. is demanding more than $150 million a year for the same exact programming. Cablevision has reached agreements with every other major broadcast station in the market – NBC, ABC, CBS and Univision – and offered News Corp. as much or more for Fox 5 as it pays any of those stations. But News Corp. is continuing to demand more for Fox 5 than Cablevision pays all of the other broadcast stations combined.
Cablevision is employing a variety of direct-to-consumer tactics to alert customers to News Corp.'s decision to pull Fox 5 and My9 off its system. Cablevision customers should urge News Corp. to return the channels immediately by calling 1-877-NO-TV-TAX, visiting www.cablevision.com/fox, joining its Facebook group "Cablevision Viewers Say: No New Fox Fees" or following on Twitter @No_New_Fox_Fees.
Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the nation's leading telecommunications, media and entertainment companies. In addition to its Optimum-branded cable, Internet, and voice offerings, the company owns and operates News 12 Networks, MSG Varsity and Newsday Media Group. Cablevision's assets also include Rainbow Media Holdings LLC and its programming and entertainment businesses, AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and IFC Entertainment, as well as Clearview Cinemas. Additional information about Cablevision is available on the Web at www.cablevision.com.
SOURCE Cablevision Systems Corporation