Cable customers could be without some of their favorite shows when the ball drops for the New Year.
Fox is threatening to pull several networks from Time Warner Cable if the two companies don’t reach an agreement by midnight on Friday. For Time Warner customers, the dispute means choosing between paying more or losing their shows.
Time Warner asked it’s customers to choose – get tough and fight Fox’s increased demands, or roll over and pass on the costs.
“Hundreds of thousands of customers have spoken out and asked us to get tough,” said Andi Curtis of Time Warner Cable.
That means Time Warner won’t pay the increase Fox asked for. If the companies don’t reach an agreement by Friday, FX, Fuel, Speed TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Sports World Espanol, and Fox Reality are the stations that could be pulled.
“What we hope is that they will continue to let us carry those networks so that it doesn’t affect our customers, it doesn’t inconvenience them,” said Curtis. “However, if we aren’t able to negotiate they could pull those channels.”
Time Warner says networks are asking for big price increases now because the lagging advertising market has hurt network revenue. Most Wilmington customers support the effort, but some don’t want to miss out on their favorite shows.
“I think we should pay more, because I’d rather have my shows and it doesn’t matter, a few more dollars doesn’t matter,” said cable customer Dorothy Hargrove.
Carol Pendergrast disagrees.
“After they went digital I had to get Time Warner in order to get the channels,” she said. “But if they’re going to raise their rates I’m getting rid of them.”
Time Warner Cable says Fox isn’t the only network asking for price increases, and holding the line could prevent other networks from asking for drastic increases in the future.
While this contract is only between Fox and Time Warner, experts expect other networks to ask for fee increases from all providers. Satellite and other cable customers could face the same issues in the future.
Local Fox stations won’t be affected by the blackout.