As you would expect, News Corporation has a very different view from Cablevision on why the parties have been unable to agree to a new contract and the various Fox Networks have been removed from Cablevision’s cable systems.
“The entire process has been very discouraging for us,” wrote Michael C. Hopkins, President, Affiliate Sales & Marketing for Fox Networks. “We actually started the negotiations over a year ago and, while we have been able to reach agreements with other program distributors, large and small, it eventually became apparent Cablevision did not seem to be truly interested in reaching a fair agreement.”
Hopkins said Cablevision first said Fox should negotiate with other cable/satellite companies to determine the fair market value of the Fox O&O TV stations. But once that took place, he said, “They refused to acknowledge the value determined by those other agreements.”
Rather, Hopkins complained, “Cablevision seemed more interested in making points to Congress and the press” when Fox was prepared “to work full tilt” to reach an agreement and avoid the pulling of signals which has taken place.
One interesting revelation in Hopkins’ letter is that at one point in the negotiations Cablevision expressed an interest in buying WWOR-TV, the MyNetworkTV station in New York. That would give Cablevision a unique cable/newspaper/TV combination – assuming that such a combination could clear regulatory hurdles. But the letter seems to indicate that those talks didn’t go far.
Both responses have been posted on the FCC website as pdf files.