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TMCNet:  Fox channels to drop from Suddenlink

[January 04, 2013]

Fox channels to drop from Suddenlink

Jan 04, 2013 (The Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- If you're a Suddenlink cable customer, you may have fewer channels to peruse today than you did yesterday.

At 12:59 a.m. this morning, a deadline passed to renew the contract between Suddenlink and News Corp for the cable provider to continue transmitting 11 cable networks. The channels affected include: Fox College Sports, Fox Deportes, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Regional Sports channels, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports Plus, Fuel, FX, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild and Speed.

Fox News Channel and Fox Business are on a different contract and not affected.

The issue comes down to News Corp wanting a higher rate per household per channel from Suddenlink. The cable provider doesn't want to pay the increased prices News Corp is asking, so the Fox cable properties and Suddenlink subscribers are caught in the crosshairs.

News Corp extended the deadline for negotiations already, and if there was not an agreement reached by midnight Central Time -- Suddenlink is headquartered in St. Louis -- the deadline may have been extended again.

"Importantly, if we need more time to work out that new agreement, we'll ask News Corp to keep their channels on our lineup," Suddenlink Director of Corporate Communications Gene Regan said in a statement to The Free Press. "Any decision to remove these channels from Suddenlink's lineup will be made by News Corp, not by Suddenlink." In most cases, cable and satellite providers pay networks for the right to retransmit their content. In certain select circumstances, networks will pay the providers. For instance, Fox News Channel paid to be distributed in the New York City market when it debuted in the mid-90s.

If there was no agreement and no extension, Suddenlink will pay local customers $2.88 per month credit, applied retroactively on their bills for each day the News Corp channels did not air.

A representative from News Corp was not available for comment.

Suddenlink serves customers in North Carolina, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

Wes Wolfe can be reached at 252-559-1075 or wes.wolfe@kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at WolfeReports.

___ (c)2013 The Free Press (Kinston, N.C.) Visit The Free Press (Kinston, N.C.) at www.kinston.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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