Watch Fox? What's It Worth to You?

ADverse Business Editor Claire Atkinson goes inside the world of TV advertising.
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Cablevision isn’t taking the retrans wars lying down. According to sources, the MSO has been conducting phone polls to determine what channels their subscribers want to keep and how much they think they’re worth.

Among the questions: “Do you watch broadcast TV?” If customers responded yes, they were asked how much they would pay for Fox or ABC, in particular, with multiplechoice answers: a) nothing; b) 50 cents; or c) $1. Customers were also asked if they’d be upset to lose either channel entirely.

It’s no coincidence, of course, that the owners of those networks are looking to pay-TV distributors for new revenue for their top-rated programming. News Corp. already succeeded in getting Time Warner Cable to agree to pay between 60 cents and $1 per sub to carry Fox.

The survey results could give Cablevision some firepower as it girds for battle with a range of content providers seeking additional fees for their programming. But will it mean that Fox and ABC will cost customers another dollar on their monthly bills?

“As a matter of course, we survey our customers all the time to get their thoughts on our cable TV and other products,” said a Cablevision spokesman. “We ask about cable channels, broadcast networks, VOD and HDTV and other areas of interest that help us succeed in our highly competitive market.”

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