As the deadline for its carriage deal with News Corp.'s Fox networks looms closer, Suddenlink Communications has floated two separate proposals to the programming giant, including one where it would offer Fox channels ala carte and remit 100% of the proceeds back to the respective networks.
Suddenlink's agreement to carry six Fox stations in nine markets as well as cable channels FX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Deportes, Fox College Sports and several regional sports networks are set to go dark tonight at 11:59 p.m. Central Time unless the two sides can reach an agreement. While initially the sides appeared to be far apart on price - Suddenlink complained the networks were demanding increases of as much as 25% for the networks -- it appeared that negotiations were progressing. That was even more evident Wednesday when News Corp. granted an extension of the original agreement -- it was first set to expire at 5 p.m. on Jan. 2 - to 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 3.
But those talks apparently have reached an impasse with several hours still left to negotiate. At 8:14 p.m. Eastern Time (roughly five hours before the deal was set to expire) Suddenlink issued statements mapping out its two-pronged approach to a deal. On retransmission consent, Suddenlink said the vast majority of its customers watch a Fox station that is not owned by News Corp., and for the rest, it agreed to pay fair-market value. Suddenlink also asked News Corp. if it could keep those stations available for its customers.