As Canadians ponder whether to create a system similar to the U.S. for negotiation between cable/satellite carriers and broadcast television stations, the U.S. system is having its own issues: Fox and Time Warner Cable are at an impasse in negotiations, and if they don’t come to an agreement before Jan. 1, the Fox-owned stations (and possibly affiliates as well) could get removed from Time Warner Cable systems.
Naturally, people down there are panicking (at least those who know about the dispute). That’s leading some to ask the obvious question: Why are we being asked to pay for something that’s free? And why are two giant megacorporations pretending that they’re on my side?
Politicians have also gotten involved. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, wrote a letter to both companies urging a negotiated settlement, saying that if Fox was removed from Time Warner Cable, television viewers would be deprived of vital news and information programming, and would lose an important connection with their local communities.
Haha, just kidding. Kerry’s only worried about BCS football games on Jan. 1, which Fox has the exclusive rights to.
UPDATE (Dec. 30): Denis McGrath gives some context on how this compares with the Canadian fee-for-carriage debate.