Fox News inks with cable co-op

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NEW YORK -- Fox News Channel has signed a multiyear carriage agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc.

NCTC is a cooperative of 1,000 small- to medium-size cable operators, primarily in the Midwest. Exact terms of the deal weren't announced, but it's believed that the NCTC deal will involve about 3.5 million subscribers to the Fox News Channel at an average of 75 cents per subscriber over the term of the deal.

Fox News Channel declined comment.

NCTC is the third organization to greenlight big bucks for the privilege to carry Fox News Channel in the start of its second decade. News Corp. subsidiary DirecTV re-upped earlier, but the big news came in mid-October, when Cablevision agreed to almost triple Fox News Channel's fee from 25 cents per subscriber to 75 cents.

That's expected to set the tone for other cable operators when their deals run out for the Fox News Channel. NCTC and Cablevision were among the first to sign 10-year agreements with the then-fledgling cable channel beginning in 1996. Both NCTC and Cablevision are relatively small fish in the cable operator world.

But like the Cablevision deal, the Fox News Channel agreement doesn't include provision for carriage of the Fox Business Channel if the company decides to go ahead with it as is expected sometime in the new year.
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