Apollo Cox Stations Blacked Out to Verizon FiOS Viewers

Retransmission fees at center of dispute
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The Cox Media stations acquired by Apollo Global Management have been blacked out to subscribers to Verizon’s FiOS as the result of a retransmission consent fee dispute.

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Verizon’s deal with the stations expired Tuesday at midnight. Verizon said that Cox Media is seeking increases of more than 70%.

“They did not provide an answer to our reasonable offers for prolonged periods of time at critical points of the negotiation. They have refused to let us provide their channels to our customers at fair market rates,” Verizon said in a statement. “We are committed to reaching a fair agreement with them, just as we have done with all other partners. Our focus is on our customers and we’ll continue to negotiate on their behalf.”

The dispute affects stations in Boston, Pittsburgh (WPXI), Syracuse (WSYT) and Providence (WFXT). It also affects a number of digital networks and Pittsburgh Cable News.

Apollo, private-equity firm, agreed to buy a majority interest in Cox Media Group’s TV stations in February for $3 billion. The ability to increase revenue from retransmission consent agreements with distributors was one of the reasons Apollo thought buying into the station business was a good investment.

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