Fox Still Off, But DC is Fired Up - Broadcasting & Cable

Fox Still Off, But DC is Fired Up

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At press
time, Fox's stations were still off the air on Cablevision systems in
New York and Philly as the first game of the National League
championship series prepared to get underway.

"It is
shameful for News Corp. to use Major League Baseball and NFL games to
hold viewers hostage in order to extract tens of millions from
Cablevision customers," said Cablevision EVP Charles Schueler.

That came
after talks reportedly broke off without resolution and a network
neutrality angle on the retransmission consent fight caught fire.

Reports that
Fox was blocking Cablevision subs' access to its programming on Fox Web
sites and Hulu drew immediate and strong criticism from network
neutrality fans, including Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Markey's
call for FCC intervention into the dispute was linked in part to those
reports, but a number of groups immediately weighed in as well.

Free Press
Research Director S. Derek Turner called it a "very disturbing,
anti-consumer move by Fox...This discrimination against Cablevision
high-speed Internet customers is particularly egregious
because all other online viewers who do not purchase any cable
television service currently have unfettered access to Hulu and Fox.com
content."

"Fox has
said it is not allowing customers of Cablevision's Internet access
service to connect to Fox Web sites or to Fox content on Hulu.com,"
echoed Public Knowledge. "It's bad enough that millions
of consumers in New York and Philadelphia are being deprived of
programming distributed by cable. Blocking Web sites, however, is
totally out of bounds in a dispute like this."

Fox was not available for comment at press time.

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