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Fox rejects Cablevision offer; Cablevision offers subs reimbursement

Thu, 10/28/2010 - 8:55am
Mike Robuck

After Fox Networks and parent company News Corp. rejected its last-ditch tender offer yesterday afternoon, Cablevision was left with offering to reimburse its subscribers who chose to watch last night's opening World Series game online through MLB.com.

After asking for mediation from Federal Communications Commissioner Chairman Julius Genachowski on Tuesday, Cablevision made a one-year offer to Fox Networks and News Corp. yesterday that sought to pay the same rate that Time Warner Cable is paying for retransmission of Fox's signals.

Once that offer was rejected, Cablevision announced that its customers could watch the World Series live on the Internet through MLB.com's Web portal.

Cablevision subscribers that bought the MLB.com package can forward their purchase confirmations to Cablevision. Cablevision, the nation's fifth-largest cable operator with more than 3 million subscribers, will issue a $10 credit to those customers on their monthly bills within two billing cycles.

Cablevision's subscribers have been blacked out from Fox Networks' channels since Oct. 16, when the last retransmission agreement expired. Cablevision carries Fox on Fox 5 and MyNetwork 9 in New York and Fox 29 in Philadelphia.

According to a story by Bloomberg, Cablevision is being sued by subscribers who are seeking damages for the cable operator's inability to ink a contract with Fox.

Subscribers in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., Mountain Lakes, N.J., and Stamford, Conn., filed the complaint in federal court in White Plains, N.Y., according to Bloomberg. The complaint seeks at least $450 million in compensation, as well as punitive damages.

One can only imagine the increased furor over the blackout had the Yankees defeated the Rangers to land in the World Series.
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