SBD/Issue 31/Sports Media

FCC Asks News Corp., Cablevision To Detail Efforts To Negotiate

FCC Media Bureau Chief William Lake Friday sent a letter to Cablevision President & CEO James Dolan and News Corp. President & COO Chase Carey "asking them to justify by Monday the moves that each side has made in the long-running retrans wrangle," according to Cynthia Littleton of DAILY VARIETY. Lake asked Dolan and Carey "to explain how the sides have been negotiating in 'good faith,' as called for in the law governing retransmission consent deals between subscription TV providers and broadcasters." Lake wrote, "In particular, we request that you describe with specificity what has transpired since you initially began your negotiations, and detail the efforts your company is making to end the current impasse" (VARIETY.com, 10/22). On Long Island, Verne Gay cited a source as saying that "no talks were held Saturday between Cablevision and News Corp. and none were expected to be held Sunday." Both sides "had been expected to resume limited negotiations during the weekend following pressure by" the FCC. U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) Saturday "praised the FCC's attempt to jump-start the negotiations" (NEWSDAY, 10/24). 

Cablevision Takes Out Full-Page Newspaper
Ad As Part Of News Corp. Carriage Dispute

WAR OF WORDS: In Newark, Julie O'Connor reports News Corp. "has upped the ante in its showdown with Cablevision, taking out a full-page newspaper ad to offer a little piece of advice to rankled television viewers: Get Verizon FiOS." Under the photo of a "pouty blonde TV viewer," the ad reads, "Um, hello, News Corp? I'm still waiting ..." (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/24). Meanwhile, Cablevision runs a full-page ad in this morning's N.Y. Times with the copy, "News Corp's Ugly October Surprise: More than 20 million sports fans could miss the World Series because of News Corp's new policy of widespread sports blackouts." The ad goes on to list 68 pro teams that have had games blacked out in some markets due to disputes (THE DAILY).

DISHING IT OUT: In Dallas, Victor Godinez reported Fox officials are "telling satellite TV subscribers that no end is in sight ... as the stalemate between Dish Network LLC and Fox Sports" entered its fourth weekend. Nineteen RSNs "went dark for Dish subscribers on Oct. 1 after the contract with Dish to carry the channels expired with no new agreement in place." Fox officials in a statement said that Dish subscribers "probably won't be getting their channels back anytime soon" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/23).

MAKING A PLAY: In N.Y., Claire Atkinson reports the NFL "has jumped into the increasingly tangled morass of disputes," as sources said that NFL Network officials have asked Dolan to "accept the same binding arbitration process Dolan is insisting Fox agree to." NFL Network President & CEO Steve Bornstein in a letter to Dolan "calls on Cablevision to bring in mediators to resolve the dispute and get key games to viewers" (N.Y. POST, 10/25).

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