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Fox to restore Internet videos to Cablevision customers

Fox plans to restore video delivery to Cablevision Internet subscribers after blocking that content earlier in the day, according to a source familiar with negotiations.

On Saturday afternoon, Cablevision Internet subscribers were blocked from viewing Fox content online, a move that extends the companies' television retransmission fees dispute to the Web.

Fox, owned by News Corp., blocked Cablevision users from viewing Fox shows on (partly owned by News Corp.), according to Cablevision. A Fox spokesman declined to comment.

Earlier in the day, Fox pulled its channel signal from Cablevision cable subscribers as the two sides failed to reached an agreement on carriage fees. It was the sixth time in one year that television disputes between broadcasters and cable/satellite providers ended in television blackouts. But public interest groups said that by blocking users from online Fox content, News Corp. sparked bigger concerns about media consolidation.

"Fox's actions raise important questions about the future of the online video market and the public interest obligation of broadcasters," said Derek Turner, policy director at public interest group Free Press. "Consumers should have the right to watch online content, and this access should not be tied to a dispute over cable television carriage arrangements."

Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, said the incident highlights the need for regulators to heavily scrutinize Comcast's proposed merger with NBC Universal.

"This case shows the dangers of unchecked media consolidation and of a retransmission consent regime badly in need of reform," Sohn said.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said earlier Saturday that he would introduce a bill to prevent broadcasters from pulling their signals during retransmission disputes. His bill would also put the Federal Communications Commission in charge of determining whether a deal should go into arbitration.

By Cecilia Kang  | October 16, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
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Fox's action today in blocking Cablevision internet subscribers has proven that the big corporations cannot be trusted to maintain net neutrality w/o gov't intervention.

Posted by: redskins5926 | October 16, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Propaganda 101: First they came for Acorn, then Sotomayor, Van Jones, New Black Panthers, Sherrod, mosques - and I said nothing...

Over and over again, Media Inc. allows the proven-false Fox News, to wag the dog. Which makes it complicit in misinforming it's public.

Jus stop it.

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | October 16, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Given how much of the media is owned by the owner of Fox, it is good to find that the story still got published.

Posted by: ChicagoKen | October 16, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

just wait until comcast gets its greedy paws on NBC i bet more blackouts to come either online or on TV

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | October 16, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Any time any force of nature or any whim of the ineffable, not to say unspeakable, Murdoch or any of his surrogates saves viewers from unedifying material cast abroad by the partially fair Fox News, it's a good thing. I hope they keep it up, but they won't, now that they know we are on to them. They will now get back to effing the ineffable.

Posted by: morphex | October 16, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I dislike Fox's political content intensely, but it's an entertainment network, and it owes nothing to the public but a clean broadcast signal from its affiliates, which is what the FCC regulates. Anybody who doesn't get Fox on cable can get it by hooking a $7 antenna to his TV set. If Fox and the cable company can't agree over a price for carrying the network, Fox is free to pull its signal and Cablevision is free to stop carrying Fox. Customers who otherwise like what Cablevision offers, and value Fox enough to go out of their way to get it, can buy an antenna. Or, if they don't want to do that, they can switch to satellite TV. There are three other major news networks, plus their cable channels. So this is a matter of economics -- if enough customers complain and threaten to switch to another provider, or demand reduced monthly fees because the company no longer carries the Fox network, Cablevision can decide pay the fee Fox is demanding. Or Cablevision can tough it out and Fox may decide that the higher fees are offset the the lower rates advertisers will be willing to pay after losing Fox viewers. It's strictly economic.

Posted by: HLM501 | October 17, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Very dangerous indeed.

Posted by: AMQ1 | October 17, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

We have Cablevision - and our service was knocked out for both Fox 5 (WNYW) and My9 (WWOR) here in NYC area. We were barely getting fringe area reception over the air from rooftop antenna until it was knocked down by a tree from a storm recently. Our only alternative was streaming video online. We had to put up with the same inconvenience earlier this year with the Food Network and WABC going off the air on Cablevision systems. I'm glad the online content access is back up again since blocking all forms of media communication is not in the best interest for the sports fans who watch Fox - alternatives are needed in short time for MLB NLCS and NFL games!

Posted by: TheNervousCat | October 17, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Also, sports is not usually streamed live over the Internet, so no MLB NLCS and NFL games for us Cablevision subscribers. This better get resolved before the World Series begins!

Posted by: TheNervousCat | October 17, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

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