FCC Chair Tells News Corp., Cablevision to End 'Petty Gamesmanship' in Dispute

1:15 PM PST 10/19/2010 by Georg Szalai

Genachowski calls Chase Carey, James Dolan to push for carriage agreement

NEW YORK - FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has called News Corp. president and COO Chase Carey and Cablevision Systems president and CEO James Dolan to urge them to reach an agreement in their carriage and retransmission consent dispute.

The news came as Fox said the two parties once again failed to make progress during a brief telephone conversation Tuesday, but agreed to continue talks on Wednesday.
 
“I am deeply troubled that Cablevision and Fox are spending more time attacking each other through ads and lobbyists than sitting down at the negotiating table," Genachowski said in a statement. "The time for petty gamesmanship is over."

He said in his call to top company executives, identified by a spokeswoman as Carey and Dolan, he "reiterated the importance of reaching a deal, as many companies have done before." And, Genachowski added, "I reminded the companies that they share responsibility for consumer disruption, and that they shouldn’t punish consumers because of their unwillingness to reach a deal."

A Cablevision spokesman on Tuesday once again called for binding arbitration as "the fastest and fairest way to return Fox programming to our customers."

The comment came after Senator John Kerry outlined a draft bill that would reform current rules for retransmission consent disputes.

Fox once again rejected the idea and attacked Cablevision in more detail than before for calling for outside intervention." Not only is this demand totally without merit, it is also the height of hypocrisy since just three weeks ago the Cablevision family submitted a filing with the FCC arguing against using arbitration or stand stills to resolve disputes," Fox said. "The filing was submitted as part of the Cablevision family’s ongoing dispute with Dish Network regarding the MSG and MSG Plus channels. In that circumstance, Cablevision is very much against any sort of government intervention."

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