As the standoff between Cablevision and News Corp. over retransmission fees approaches D-day - Oct. 15, this Friday - both companies have issued dueling statements and ads but this is the first instance I've seen of a major political figure stepping into the fray. Rep. Peter King, in this late afternoon statement, urged both sides to binding arbitration before programming is pulled. Statement on the jump.
Yes, you are correct - this is de ja vu all over again, but there are differences; during the ABC dispute, for example, political pressure didn't really kick in until there was a complete rupture in the talks.
King's spokesman tells me via email, "the Congressman has spoken to both sides but does not want to comment beyond that at this time."
Yesterday I called on News Corp. and Cablevision to resolve their differences I am increasingly concerned that this deadline may pass without a resolution,
and reach a contract by October 15th so that broadcast programming --
particularly baseball playoffs and key NFL football games distributed on News
Corp. broadcast channels -- would not be interrupted or "pulled" from customer
homes as part of a negotiating tact once that deadline is reached.
and Long Island consumers will lose their programming. This would be an
unconscionable result and unfair to sports and programming fans who have no part
in this fight.
Accordingly, I urge both Cablevision and News Corp. to agree, now, to submit to
a binding arbitration before a neutral third party to get a contract. Further,
I urge them, even while that arbitration is pending, not to remove programming
from Cablevision customers so long as the parties are engaged in the arbitration
or negotiating. This protects both parties' reasonable positions, ensures a
timely contract resolution, and protects consumers from becoming pawns in a
price battle between two businesses, both of which are important to Long Island
I am increasingly concerned that this deadline may pass without a resolution,