Seriously, it’s Rupert Murdoch versus Chuck Dolan. These are the two least sympathetic characters in media!
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 Yankees¹ 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.
¹ – 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.