Watch Fox? What's It Worth to You?

ADverse Business Editor Claire Atkinson goes inside the world of TV advertising.

Cablevision isn’t taking the retrans
wars lying down. According to
sources, the MSO has been conducting
phone polls to determine what channels
their subscribers want
to keep and how much they
think they’re worth.

Among the questions: “Do you watch
broadcast TV?” If customers responded yes,
they were asked how much they would pay
for Fox or ABC, in particular, with multiplechoice
answers: a) nothing; b) 50 cents; or
c) $1. Customers were also asked if they’d
be upset to lose either channel entirely.

It’s no coincidence, of course, that the
owners of those networks are looking to
pay-TV distributors for new revenue for
their top-rated programming. News Corp.
already succeeded in getting Time Warner
Cable to agree to pay between 60 cents and
$1 per sub to carry Fox.

The survey results could give Cablevision
some firepower as it girds for battle with a
range of content providers seeking additional
fees for their programming. But will it
mean that Fox and ABC will cost customers
another dollar on their monthly bills?

“As a matter of course, we survey our
customers all the time to get their thoughts
on our cable TV and other
products,” said a Cablevision
spokesman. “We ask about
cable channels, broadcast networks, VOD
and HDTV and other areas of interest that
help us succeed in our highly competitive