Cablevision issued a press release today in which the company promised to submit to binding arbitration under a neutral third party to guarantee a new agreement with News Corp. If Fox is on board, this would ensure that talks between the two sides would continue without pulling the plug on Fox 5 and My9.
After yesterday’s report of the escalating feud between Fox and Cablevision, Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Steve Israel (D-NY) both issued statements urging an end to the dispute before any New York communities lost access to major sports, news, and primetime programming.
Cablevision’s executive VP of communications, Charles Schueler issued this statement regarding News Corp.:
“We will work around the clock to reach a new agreement and have appealed to News Corp. not to pull the plug on Fox 5 and My9. Cablevision would never take these broadcast stations away from our customers. While we would rather come to terms directly with News Corp., binding arbitration may be the best and fairest way to resolve this matter. Therefore, Cablevision will accept the bipartisan calls from Reps. Steve Israel and Peter King for binding arbitration under the direction of a neutral third party.”
Congressman Israel is appealing to local sports fans in his plea to keep Fox 5 running for local Cablevision customers:
“This is a private dispute, but it should not hurt innocent consumers. In a battle between two corporations, Giants fans shouldn’t be held hostage. I have urged both sides to agree to binding arbitration as negotiations go on and to ensure that Cablevision subscribers do not lose access to Fox programming as the negotiations continue.”
Cablevision currently pays News Corp. $70 million each year for its channels and claims News Corp. is demanding more than $150 million a year for the same programming.
UPDATE: Fox has resisted calls for third party intervention, saying arbitration “would reward Cablevision for refusing to negotiate fairly.”