The decision is not up to Time Warner, but Chairman Glenn
Britt has told Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that the company is willing to agree
to binding arbitration with Fox in their retransmission consent dispute, which
Kerry suggested in a letter to both Time Warner and Fox.
Britt said Time Warner would "work around the clock" on an agreement
with Fox for carriage so that subscribers don't lose access to TV station
signals--including big-ticket college bowl games--beginning Jan. 1, when Time
Warner's contract to carry Fox stations expires.
"Time Warner wholeheartedly agrees that any impasse should not result in consumers'
loss of access to Fox programming," Britt said.
He gave a big thumbs up to Kerry's arbitration proposal and said Time Warner
would be willing to begin an immediate arbitration at the FCC, and "to
prevent any disruption to consumers" would agree to an interim carriage
Kerry's office announced the commitment as the senator's winning of an
agreement from Time Warner "to protect consumers at risk."
It came in the form of Britt's response to Kerry's
letter to Britt and News Corp. President Chase Carey asking both to resolve
the dispute and, in any case, not have consumers/constituents waking up on New
Year's Day "without college bowl games."
But since the contract is Fox's to extend or not, the ball is now in News
Corp.'s court. The senator's press secretary, Whitney Smith, told B&C that
Kerry was still waiting for a response from Carey. Fox said its response would be coming later