Fox Broadcasting-owned networks Fox5 and My9 have been pulled from cabsat platform Cablevision in the latest row over US carriage prices, although talks to resolve the dispute resume today.
The bust-up centres on how much Cablevision should pay to carry Fox's networks, and follows a spate of similar clashes between cable operators and networks this year in the US.
Last week, Fox pulled the regional channels, which carry major sports such as the National Football League and Major League Baseball, after talks over fees broke down. The blackout temporarily extended to Cablevision's internet customers' access to Fox programming via streaming service Hulu, though this has now been lifted.
Fox claims Cablevision is offer "less than a penny a day" for the channels. Cablevision, meanwhile, claimed Fox had doubled its fee demands to US$150m.
The cabsat operator called Fox Broadcasting's parent News Corp's actions "a black eye for broadcast television in America" and demanded it restore the channels while a new deal is worked out.
However, nothing was resolved over the weekend and Cablevision has now called for politicians to step in to settle the matter, although talks between the pair will resume today.
In its latest statement, Cablevision's executive VP of communications Charles Schueler said: "The longer this shameful News Corp blackout of the NFL and Major League Baseball continues, the more obvious it becomes to everyone including political leaders of both parties, that binding arbitration is the fastest and fairest way to return Fox programming to Cablevision customers."
Fox5 and My5 VP and general manager Lew Leone responded in an open letter to customers, claiming Cablevision was refusing to pay a standard cable carriage charge. He claimed the Fox offer is up to 70% lower than some other cablenets, and criticised the call for arbitration.
"Instead of negotiating like a responsible business, Cablevision decided to make this your problem in the hope that if they caused you, the viewer, enough inconvenience, then politicians would intervene.
"That is what Cablevision's call for 'arbitration' is all about. But ask yourself, do you think Cablevision would be okay with someone else stepping in to decide the price you pay them for cable and broadband service?"
Cablevision, which has about three million customers in the New York region, earlier this year clashed with Scripps Networks Interactive over Food Network and HGTV; Rainbow Media over AMC, IFC and WE TV; and Disney over ABC, a dispute that saw viewers miss the first 15 minutes of the Oscars ceremony.
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