Murdoch Versus Dolan: The Two Least Sympathetic Figures In Media Are Fighting

It’s a pissing match. In a pissing match everyone gets wet.

Cablevision and Fox are fighting. It’s tough to take sides. This is like the old commercial where you had to choose between a headache and upset stomach!

Seriously, it’s Rupert Murdoch versus Chuck Dolan. These are the two least sympathetic characters in media!

As of this moment WWOR and WNYW have been removed from Cablevision systems serving millions of viewers. It’s a pissing match. In a pissing match everyone gets wet.

The New York Times reports:

News Corp. quickly issued a release headlined, “Cablevision Drops Fox.” At the same time, Cablevision began posting a message on the screen that accused News Corp. of “pulling Fox 5 and My 9 off air” and declared it was News Corp.’s decision, “not ours.”

I work in TV so I’m not quite an unbiased observer, but I can give you an idea what’s going on.

For the longest time TV stations were thrilled to be on cable. Cable brought our pictures into people’s homes more clearly. It was a marriage of convenience on both sides. Cable served the overwhelming majority of our viewers and we in turn provided the most watched stations.

As cable began to sell local advertising and the cable networks began to pour money into new programming the marriage became a little more strained. We were still cable’s big dog, but the cable systems themselves were becoming our competitors!

Then local TV revenue began to shrink and TV station owners looked at cable and wondered why TV stations weren’t getting the cash they were paying money to CNN, USA, TBS, The Weather Channel, and all the others. TV station owners began to demand money from cable systems to carry our signals. Our marriage of convenience was turning ugly!

Over the past few years there have been a few showdowns like the one between Fox and Cablevision. Stations have been pulled from cable systems taking away popular shows and even more popular sporting events. In New York City this weekend Fox will be carrying the baseball playoffs and the NFL. How unhappy do you suppose Cablevision subscribers will be to lose the Yankees&#185 and football Giants?

At some point one of the parties will cry “Uncle” and a truce will be declared. It could happen tomorrow. It could happen months from now!

In the meantime both Cablevision and Fox are calling each other names and trying to look like the good guy. Like I said earlier, it’s Dolan versus Murdoch. This fight has no good guys!

Here’s the video Cablevision has been running on the channels formerly occupied by WWOR and WNYW.

&#185 – I’ve got an error to correct. The Saturday Yankees game is actually on TBS and not affected. The Phillies game Saturday night is on Fox and will be missing from Cablevision’s New York area systems. In addition the Fox station in Philadelphia is part of this dispute, so Cablevision subscribers near Philadelphia won’t get to see tonight’s game nor the Eagles game tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Murdoch Versus Dolan: The Two Least Sympathetic Figures In Media Are Fighting”

  1. Didn’t another broadcaster pull their programming off of Cablevision a couple of years ago? I seem to recall that this isn’t the first time this has happened in the NYC Metro market.

  2. The truth is this: Rupert and Jimmy Dolan lived a few houses down from each other in Centre Island. They hate each other because Dolan didn’t invite Rupert to his estate for a dinner party when they had Mario Batallis over cooking sauce and making fresh mozzarella. It’s been a bitter hatred ever since. Sounds crazy but it’s true. This is why Cablevision subscribers can’t even watch Fox 5 now. These two guys hate each other and I know from ppl at the source who work at both companies that it’s a battle at the highest executive level – Rupert won’t take a penny less than $150M per year and Dolan won’t pay more than $100M per year for his broadcastings. It’s going to get ugly because I think neither side has anything to lose here – except Rupert who will ultimately need the $100M in revenue or else his board will be very pissed!

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