Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Pressure mounting for FCC to intervene in Fox-Cablevision battle, but analysts question ability

Pressure is mounting for the Federal Communications Commission to intervene in the fees dispute between Fox and Cablevision. But some analysts say there are legal doubts about the agency's ability to restore television signals for viewers caught in the battle.

On Wednesday, Commissioner Michael Copps, a Democrat, said in a statement that legislation that has so far prevented the FCC from intervening in retransmission fees negotiations is outdated. But, he said, as an agency that is supposed to serve the public interest, the FCC may have the authority to intervene in the negotiations stalemate that has resulted in a five-day outage of Fox's local channels to New Jersey and New York customers.

"if the Fox-Cablevision dispute proves anything, it is that consumers are clearly not being protected," Copps said in a statement. "I believe the Commission should take a very serious look at whether ‘good faith’ negotiations are indeed occurring. What, indeed, does ‘good faith’ mean in the dog-eat-dog world of big media? If such talks are not taking place, we should move promptly to protect consumers."

The comments come after FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's criticism of both parties' lobbying war and inabilty to come to an agreement. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) has also issued a draft of legislation that would grant the FCC clear authority to mediate negotiations and force broadcasters to keep running their channels during contract disputes.

But analysts said direct intervention would face fierce opposition.

"Any attempt by the FCC to require News Corp. to restore signals to Cablevision would face a better-than-even chance of being reversed in court. It would also set a precedent of intervention that the FCC probably wishes to avoid," Paul Gallant, an investment analyst at Concept Capital, said in a research note. "And as we have noted previously, should the FCC pursue a rulemaking to revise the retrans rules on an industry-wide basis, we believe that too would face a tough court fight."

By Cecilia Kang  | October 20, 2010; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  FCC  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Silicon Valley Senate candidates Boxer, Fiorina on net neutrality
Next: FCC to set stage for more broadcast airwaves for mobile devices

Comments

The only tool we have as consumers is to boycott advertisers on News Corps media sites. Let news Corp no that you will no longer buy any products from companies that advertise on their Sites and let the companies know your intentions. It takes a little while to send each company a quick note, but it will have far reaching effects.

Posted by: jefferyf | October 20, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Why not just fine both Fox and Cablevision each day the outage continues? The government is good a imposing penalties (think IRS?).

Posted by: TheNervousCat | October 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

As a Cablevision subscriber, I no longer care when or if the dispute is resolved, so I set a pin # and blocked ALL the Fox channels. Who needs a half-dead American Idol and the Fox News Liars?

Posted by: VernonHell | October 21, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you guys. As far as I am concerned, I don't care if Fox ever comes back on Cable. Within the last few days,
I've realized that there are actually better shows on the other 3 major networks.
I also realized that I missed NCIS, and other shows with some substance instead of
the pap that Fox airs.

Posted by: sammy17 | October 21, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you guys. As far as I am concerned, I don't care if Fox ever comes back on Cable. Within the last few days,
I've realized that there are actually better shows on the other 3 major networks.
I also realized that I missed NCIS, and other shows with some substance instead of
the pap that Fox airs.

Posted by: sammy17 | October 21, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

As a Dish Network subscriber, I've already taken action by locking out ALL of Fox's broadcast and cable channels on my TV sets. And as far as I'm concerned, I am boycotting News Corporation. I know how Cablevision subscribers feel. I urge all Cablevision and all Dish Network subscribers to boycott NewsCorp, at least for the duration of this dispute, which I expect to last until at least late-July or early-August at the soonest.

Posted by: WashingtonPost4TJSinMO | October 21, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

As far as im concerned i can live without Fox and MY9 stations, i dont even watch them. However i believe that the cable and dish providers should band together, and conduct a nationwide boycott of ALL Newscorps Fox and MY network programming. See how fast all the companies that pay Newscorp millions of dollars in advertising fees,start to scream. And ,as far as Cablevision is concerned, they should take the $70 million a year that they were giving Newscorp and give it to their 3 million subscribers, as a thank you for sticking with them through this dispute.

Posted by: timbNY | October 27, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company