Friday, October 29, 2010

Morning Brief: Fox battles Cablevision, as Fox ratings dive

News Corp. picked a strange time to pick a fight with Cablevision (or was it the other way around?), what with Fox broadcasting the World Series this week. But since the NY Yankees burned out and missed the fall classic the pressure on both the media giant and cable company to reach agreement is far less than it would have been had the Yankees beaten the Rangers.

While the rest of the country enjoys a match-up between two teams and cities eager to win their first baseball championships, New York is blacked out because of the stalemate between the two companies. For now Cablevision customers are being redirected by the company to alternatives to Fox:

"With a simple antenna and Internet streaming capacity, a governmental entity or non-profit organization could do a tremendous public service and extend the reach of this broadcast programming — just as Congress intended when it enacted 11 (a) (5)."

News Corp is not happy about it:

We've been alerted by Cablevision customers that Cablevision is directing their subscribers to illegal sites to view Fox shows, as well as our coverage of NFL games, and Major League Baseball's playoffs - all copyrighted content. We find this absolutely appalling," Fox officials said in a statement.

Much will be made of the huge dropoff in ratings for this World Series, but as a west coast guy I can remember that this is what was said during the 1989 WS -- remembered as the earthquake series. I also can remember that the people of the Bay Area didn't care what the east coast folk said.

I'm sure the fans in Texas feel the same way this time: who cares what the ratings are, if east coast baseball fans aren't interested in the series then you know how the rest of the country feels when they think of a Yankees-Phillies match-up.