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Biting the Hand that Feeds You!

October 18, 2010

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA

Fox and Cablevision are in a nasty battle over the retransmission fees that Cablevision pays to Fox to carry their programming. Negotiations have reached a stalemate and after the contract between Cablevision and Fox expired at midnight Friday, Fox pulled its New York and Philadelphia affiliates from Cablevision's system. This impacts 3.1 million households (including mine!) and likely 10+ million people.
 
Consumers and advertisers are unfairly caught in the middle. The much hyped pitching match-up on Saturday night between Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies and Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants was nowhere to be found in Cablevision households. Nor was football on Sunday afternoon as fans of the New York Giants undoubtedly turned to the radio or visited their local bars-the ones with DirecTV.
 
I just returned from the ANA Masters of Marketing annual conference where many speakers preached - "the consumer is boss." Unfortunately, Cablevision and Fox clearly have ignored that marketing principle.
 
Meanwhile, advertisers also are impacted as 3 million potential households disappeared from media buys. That's just not fair to the many companies that counted on the Fox audiences to move their respective products and services.
 
The PR machines of both companies are now in overdrive. Fox and Cablevision need to remember that they exist because of consumers and advertisers and that they shouldn't bite the many hands that feed them.

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