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Fox Exec Talks Fight With Time Warner



sg_timewFox Networks Group CEO Tony Vinciquerra sounded optimistic in recent media interviews regarding the fight between News Corp. and Time Warner: “If we can make significant progress in the next two days, we can get a deal done,” Vinciquerra told Bloomberg News.

In a another interview with Reuters, the exec indicated that negotiations would likely continue down to the wire. “The only way you walk away from the table getting as much as you can is by facing it down at the last moment,” he said. However, Vinciquerra appears not to be budging from his demands that Fox receive $1.00 per subscriber per month from Time Warner Cable, a figure the cable company insists would set a benchmark for the other major networks and eventually boost the monthly bills of cable-TV subscribers.

He added: “If we end up at $1.00, I think that’s a reasonable step on getting to the right value for a broadcast network.
Media conglomerates News Corp. and Time Warner Cable are squabbling over cash and the fight could result in some of Fox’s less channels going dark on Jan. 1. Both News Corp. and Time Warner are still in negotiations. Their contract expires on Dec. 31.

News Corp. has been warning Time Warner customers about the “very likely possibility” that they may lose access to Fox programming. In some markets, News Corp owns local Fox stations and the dispute could affect Fox’s flagship channel, home to such favorites like the Golden Glob nominated Glee, House and the country’s most watched show American Idol. The fight could lead to local cable customers losing channels owned by News Corp., like FX, which houses Nip/Tuck and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Other channels facing darkness includes Fuel, Speed TV, Fox Reality and Fox Sports World Espanol. A favorite among U.S. based soccer fans, Fox Soccer Channel may also be taken off the air.

“We’re hoping Fox will allow us to carry the programming even if negotiations continue past Dec. 31,” Buscher said. “It’s our hope that Fox won’t punish our customers while they try to reach an agreement.”

Time Warner Cable will be looking for replacement programming for those Fox channel pulled from the line-up, says Buscher. The company will also “educate” viewers about other ways to see their favorite shows if they go dark through online streaming on web sites like Hulu.com.

The cable company has also taken their fight to the consumer’s through a marketing campaign where it asked customers to vote whether the cable provider should “roll over or get though” with broadcasters and programmer who demand more money. A cost, says Time Warner, that will be passed on to the consumer.

News Corp. states in a prepared statement that it is only “asking for fair compensation for the impressive value our Fox programming offers.”

If this fight sounds familiar, its because Time Warner had a very public spat with Viacom, which nearly resulted in customers losing access to channels like MTV and Nickelodeon. The deal was resolved before the contract expiration.

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