Charter, Fox News End Carriage Fee Suit

Fox and cable operator may have long-term agreement
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Charter and Fox News have resolved a lawsuit involving carriage fees, and Fox Networks Group may have reached a long-term agreement with the cable operators to continue carriage of its other networks.

Court documents filed in New York indicate that the suit between Fox News and Charter had been “discontinued with prejudice.” Neither Fox News nor Charter would comment, but it seems likely an agreement has been reached.

The two sides had been arguing because Charter acquired the larger Time Warner Cable and wanted to pay Time Warner Cable’s carriage fee rates, while Fox News contended that because Charter was the surviving company, its higher rates prevailed.

Related: Charter Agrees to Pay $13M Fine to NY PSC

Fox News is $1.55 per month per subscriber from distributors, according to SNL Kagan, one of the biggest fees of any channel other than ESPN.

Meanwhile Fox Networks Group’s distribution agreement with Charter expired in April. Fox ran ads warning that Charter subscribers could lose access to the Fox Broadcast Network, FX, National Geographic and the Fox regional sports networks.

The deadline on those talks was extended several times and Fox stopped running its ads in April.

Related: Charter Expands Broadband Technician Apprenticeship Program

Fox Networks Group president and COO Randy Freer in April said that a new deal was close to being completed and hinted that the Fox News suit could be part of the agreement. "We go to market as one company," Freer said.

Fox News operates separately from the Fox Networks Group, but their distribution operations were combined last year.

Neither Fox nor Charter has said their long-term distribution deal has been completed, though the networks remain on Charter systems and Fox has not been running ads warning that the channels could be pulled.

Univision filed a suit making charges similar to Fox News’ about the way Charter was calculating carriage fees in New York last year.

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