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Cablevision, Fox Settle Retransmission Dispute

1 Nov, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Cablevision Systems Corp. and News Corp.’s Fox Networks Group have agreed to a new three-year distribution deal, ending a protracted dispute that had blacked out the World Series, select NFL games and Fox TV programming to more than 3 million subscribers in the New York area.

Fox also signed a new distribution deal with satellite operator Dish Networks. The signals for all stations and cable channels were restored Oct. 30 prior to the first pitch of World Series Game 3. Financial terms of the separate deals were not disclosed.

The dispute had largely revolved around retransmission fees, which national broadcasters, including CBS, NBC and ABC, levy on cable and satellite operators as a means of generating incremental revenue on original programming. With an ongoing weak advertising market, broadcasters have been upping the fees — much to the annoyance of multichannel operators.

Unable to air the World Series, Cablevision Oct. 28 took the unusual step by offering to pay subscribers to stream the games over the Internet. MLB.tv, which is streaming the entire series for $9.95, is available on Roku media players and other devices.

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