TWC, Fox reach a settlement


The showdown between News Corp.’s Fox Television Group and Time Warner Cable is over. The two companies have agreed terms on retransmission fees, avoiding disruption of service for subscribers anxious to watch college and professional football and other popular Fox programming. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Fox also agreed to terms with Bright House cable systems. TWC has a stake in Bright House and handled its negotiations. In all, about 13M TWC and 2M Bright House cable households were impacted.

Despite threats by Fox to pull programming if an agreement had not been reached by the end of 2009, there was no disruption of service during the last hours of negotiation. According to the New York Times, Fox had been seeking about a dollar per subscriber; TWC was believed to be offering something much closer to 30 cents.

“We’re pleased that, after months of negotiations, we were able to reach a fair agreement with Time Warner Cable — one that recognizes the value of our programming,” said News Corp.’s Chase Carey.

TWC’s Glenn Britt added, “We’re happy to have reached a reasonable deal with no disruption in programming for our customers.”

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also weighed in, saying, “Fox and Time Warner have granted a New Year’s resolution of millions of viewers, and I congratulate them. Now it is the turn of Sinclair and Mediacom to respect the wishes of their audience, and resolve their differences before the expiration of their extended agreement on January 8th.  The governing statute contemplates that retransmission terms should be and will be resolved by agreement between private companies, and broadcast and cable companies must accept shared responsibility for any failure to reach a timely deal. I commend the FCC’s Media Bureau for its yeoman, pragmatic, and consumer-focused work in encouraging yesterday’s extension of the Sinclair/Mediacom retransmission agreement as well as today’s Fox/Time Warner agreement.”