Retrans critical to growth at Fox


In News Corporation’s quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts, COO Chase Carey emphasized that retransmission consent fees are “critical to driving the Fox Network’s financial success and reflect its real value.” He noted that the company now has agreements in place with the four largest subscription TV providers.

“Over the next couple of years, as we continue to close new agreements, we will be taking this business to a whole new level of profitability,” Carey said.

In the Q&A session with the analysts, Carey was asked about the recent standoff with Cablevision that was only settled after Fox and other News Corporation networks were pulled from the Cablevision systems for half of October.

“The stuff I saw from Cablevision was essentially complaining that the government didn’t get involved. We were pretty clear with what we were trying to get. I’m not going to go through what were private negotiations in public, but we feel good about where we are. They were pretty clear about what they were trying to do, which was drag government into it. We did not think government needed to be into it,” Carey said.

“In reality, I think it would have been helpful if the government had said up front they weren’t – they made a few noises that probably made the process more difficult, or more protracted. I think if the government had made clear up front they were going to stay out of it, that it was a private matter between private parties, we may not have gone off the air at all,” the News Corporation executive said in the conference call.

At one point Cablevision CEO James Dolan had tried to get FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to mediate face-to-face negotiations with Carey in Washington, DC. Carey ignored the call to go to DC and Genachowski told the two companies to work things out at the bargaining table.