Rupert Murdoch's second-in-command at News Corp. said Tuesday that government officials who want to avoid more blackouts like the one that prevented Cablevision customers from watching Fox Networks for two weeks should stop meddling with companies negotiating carriage rates.
Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey told Bloomberg that the standoff with Cablevision would have been resolved much more quickly if lawmakers hadn't threatened to weigh in, leading the cable provider to hold out in hopes of getting better terms.
“This process would have been resolved more easily, more quickly,” Carey said. “I would actually contend we wouldn’t have gone off the air at all.”
Carey said Fox needs the feeds that it collects from cable companies because even with advertising revenue, the broadcast network loses a "few hundred million dollars" every year. Carey said he came to Washington to explain to lawmakers why Fox needed two streams of revenue and explain why public declarations of support for Cablevision from more than 50 lawmakers only helped to prolong the standoff.
Cablevision and News Corp. ultimately came to an agreement, with the former claiming they were forced to pay an unfair price to carry Fox Networks. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill that would resolve such disputes by requiring binding arbitration in most cases.