Glee was a repeat last night, but next week's episode is the Rocky Horror Show tribute—and at this rate, it seems doubtful that Gleeks with Cablevision will be able to see it, since the cable company and Fox parent company News Corp. are still at odds over transmission fees. News Corp. removed its channels, including WNYW 5 and WWOR 9, from Cablevision early Saturday morning; Cablevision claims that News Corp. is demanding more than double its previous fees while News Corp. says that the fees are fair and Cablevision hasn't been attempting to negotiate.
However, Cablevision's statement from yesterday afternoon says, "Both parties have a position, but only Cablevision has joined with more than 50 government leaders with a solution, binding arbitration under the direction of a neutral third party. By now it should be clear even to News Corp. that binding arbitration is the fastest and fairest way to return Fox programming to our customers."
Media Decoder says the standoff "does not appear to be getting less bitter. If anything, it is growing more heated"—the sides only held a short phone call, that's it. The Daily News' Richard Huff notes that while the two sides claim that the viewers matter, "If they really cared about the viewers, they would have found a way to solve this problem long before anyone lost their shows and became pawns in a game in which they have no control. Or even a say." And the LA Times has an editorial calling News Corp. on its shenanigans:
Shortly after the Cablevision blackout began on Saturday, however, News Corp. barred Cablevision's high-speed Internet customers from accessing Fox.com. Instead, they were redirected to a website presenting Fox's side of the dispute.
The ban at Fox.com also stopped Cablevision's Internet customers from watching Fox programs on Hulu.com, a popular online video outlet that News Corp. co-owns. A Fox spokesman said the company lifted the Fox.com ban several hours later after realizing that it also affected people who subscribed only to Cablevision's Internet service, not its cable TV packages.
The problem isn't just that News Corp. harmed some innocent bystanders. It's that it discriminated against Internet users based on the identity of their broadband provider. The company's actions added a troubling element to the debate over Net neutrality.