Nearly three million Cablevision subscribers in the New York area have been living without Fox programming for almost three weeks now. Just to refresh, Fox has pulled its broadcast from Cablevision in the ongoing dispute in which Fox is demanding Cablevision pay $150 million for the right to broadcast their channel, where in the past it was a mere $70 million. This has been a much bigger deal considering New York subscribers were deprived the ability to watch the National League Championship Series and World Series culminating the Major League Baseball season.
This week the standoff has taken a new twist as subscribers have been scrambling to view the World Series and their favorite Fox shows. Fox is threatening to sue Cablevision, claiming the company’s service representatives are making false claims against Fox as well as directing customers to illegal streams of Fox broadcasts.
It seems a Fox employee, who is also a Cablevision subscriber called into customer service complaining about not being able to watch the baseball games. The recorded conversation is below:
“Is there any place I can get these games?” the Long Island-based customer asks.
The rep first suggests the customer try adjusting his HD set, which would allow him to legally get the Fox signal over the air.
The rep then goes on to give out two websites where the customer might find the events. The sites do not have the right to broadcast games.
“You can watch them online,” the rep says. “You know about that?”
“They pretty much have all the games,” he says, repeating the site URL. “This is one I got in an email from here.
“Thank God for the Internet, right?” the rep says.
In a related story, hours before the World Series started airing on Fox, Cablevision announced that the would reimburse customers for paying to watch the games on MLB.com.
Customers who purchase the package and forward their purchase confirmation to Cablevision will have a $10 credit applied to their monthly bill within two billing cycles.
This move gives Cablevision a little breathing room to get them through the end of the baseball season while pacifying the New York baseball fans. It will be interesting to see what the Cablevision strategy will be when the New York Giants and New York Jets start getting blacked out.
Interestingly enough Ruppert Murdoch is the CEO of NewCorp whom owns both Fox and the satellite TV provider DirecTV. Many experts are insisting this is a move by NewCorp to force Cablevision customers who want Fox programming to switch to DirecTV.