Cablevision Monday told the FCC that it was
documenting "clear" evidence of bad faith negotiations by Fox
parent News Corp., and wants the FCC to step in ASAP.
That came in a response to the FCC's request for both
sides to document their dealings, which so far have failed to result in a
retransmission consent agreement.
"Cablevision's conduct throughout the
negotiations with News Corp. has been in complete compliance with the
FCC's good faith rules," said Cablevision President James Dolan.
"Regrettably, the same cannot be said of News Corp."
Cablevision says News Corp. has demanded a "take
it or leave it" rate, that it timed the deadline to deny access to baseball
playoffs, and that it has benefitted from FCC waivers to allow it to own
multiple outlets in the New York market, power it is attempting to leverage
Fox says it has bargained in good faith and that
Cablevision is just seeking a regulatory advantage in a marketplace
Cablevision also argues that Fox is
"hiding behind" a most favored nation clause and has refused
arbitration that would determine the true value of its TV station signals.
Cablevision asked the FCC to require Fox to
reinstate its TV station signals and submit to outside arbitration.
Fox had not weighed in at press time with its own
filing, but had a response to Cablevision: "From the genesis of our talks
with Cablevision, Fox has negotiated in good faith," said the company.
"We have never made any "take it or leave it" demands, nor are we asking
for $150 million in fees (another Cablevision claim). For Cablevision to still
be making those claims is yet another example of their ploy to secure an
advantage through government intervention."
It is unclear what the FCC can do even if it finds
either side has not bargained in good faith. Asked what actions the FCC could
take, a spokesperson would only say: "The Commission will review the
filings and continue to monitor the situation."
For its part, said Cablevision, its negotiations
have been in good faith, including increasing the offer
"significantly," it argues, in four new proposals between now and Oct.
16--when the old contract expired and Fox stations in New York, New Jersey and
Philadelphia were pulled. It also pointed out it has reached deals with all of the
other major affiliates in the New York market, while offering Fox more
than any of those others. It says Fox continues to ask for more than all those
FCC Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake, in asking both
for their side of the story, echoed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
that the commission was "troubled that Cablevision and Fox are spending
more time attacking each other through ads and lobbyists than sitting down at
the negotiating table."
But the FCC's request was also another opportunity
for them to take aim at each other via their FCC letters, which Cablevision
certainly took the opportunity to do.
posted a link to the letter, which outlines in some detail
the series of negotiations that led to the impasse: