Fox, Time Warner Cable reach deal to avoid blackout

Sat Jan 2, 2010 12:06pm EST
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Cable and Fox have reached a deal to keep carrying Fox Networks programing after the companies negotiated through New Year's Day to avoid a blackout of TV shows like "The Simpsons" and college and NFL football games in 13 million U.S. homes.

The No. 2 U.S. cable carrier and Fox, a News Corp unit, announced the deal late on Friday after an 11th-hour contract extension following months of negotiations that failed to produce a deal ahead of December 31 deadline.

Terms were not disclosed in a joint statement announcing the deal, and neither side would share details.

The dispute had focused on how much Time Warner Cable should pay for the right to deliver the Fox network, which is broadcast for free over public airwaves, to its cable subscribers in big cities like New York and Los Angeles.

News Corp, controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, had been targeting around $1 a month per subscriber, a sum Time Warner Cable had called "unreasonable." Time Warner Cable did not say what it had offered, but privately, executives had pointed to deals with smaller broadcasters for around 20-25 cents a subscriber.

In a short joint statement News Corp deputy chairman Chase Carey described the new agreement as "fair" and said it "recognizes the value of our programing."

Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt described the new contract as a "reasonable deal."

Time Warner Cable was also negotiating on behalf of privately held cable company Bright House Networks, which is covered by the deal.   Continued...