Time Warner Customers In Danger Of Losing Fox Soccer Channel

Fox Soccer Channel logoTime Warner Cable customers are in jeopardy of losing Fox Soccer Channel next month unless a deal can be agreed between the two companies before December 31, 2009.

The standoff between Time Warner Cable and Fox is similar to what happened between DISH Network and GolTV recently where both parties were unable to come to an agreement of how much the sports network should be paid. In that particular case, GolTV refused to back down regarding DISH Network’s demands and GolTV is no longer available via that satellite broadcaster.

If both Fox and Time Warner are unable to agree a fee per subscriber, it’s likely that Fox programming such as Premier League soccer, NFL football and college bowl games will not be seen by TWC subscribers beginning January 1.

Fox has created a website to make its viewers aware of the issue regarding Time Warner Cable. The KeepFoxOn.com website features press stories on the topic, tips on what you can do as a TWC customer, a list of programming that TWC customers would miss, as well as facts about the negotiations between Fox and TWC.

According to the web site, Fox claims that the amount it is asking for all of its networks is in the same ballpark as what Time Warner Cable pays for one network (ESPN at about $4 per subscriber, per month) and that based on its comparable cost of programming, could charge as much as $4 to $5 per month per subscriber.

Fox Sports International was contacted to make a statement regarding the news. Here’s what they said:

“For the past nine months, Fox has attempted to negotiate in good faith with Time Warner Cable. Our position in these negotiations is entirely reasonable – we are simply asking for fair compensation for the impressive value our Fox programming offers.

While negotiations are ongoing, we have a responsibility to prepare our viewers for the very likely possibility that Time Warner Cable may choose to no longer carry Fox Broadcasting, Fox Cable and Fox regional sports programming. Toward that end, today we launched a marketing campaign notifying Time Warner Cable subscribers that they may lose access to American Idol, 24, House and some of the best live event sports programming on TV (including most BCS Bowl games and NFL on Fox). The campaign consists of print advertising, TV spots, a call-in number (1-866-KEEP-FOX), and a website, www.keepfoxon.com.

Going forward, we will continue actively negotiating with Time Warner Cable in hopes of reaching a fair agreement and will attempt to keep our viewers informed of the situation every step of the way.”

Time Warner Cable has been contacted to provide a response, so we’ll publish that if and when they reply. Interestingly, Time Warner launched a website recently where it gives its customers the chance to vote for whether TWC should pay the higher rates from program providers such as Fox or roll-over. That website is at http://rolloverorgettough.com/

Are you a Time Warner Cable customer? If so, what are your thoughts about the likelihood that you may lose Fox Soccer Channel and other Fox networks? Share your feedback below.

34 thoughts on “Time Warner Customers In Danger Of Losing Fox Soccer Channel”

  1. Obviously this whole thing is ridiculous. Now that FSC/FSE carries Champions League programming, it’s obviously important to me on a level that it wasn’t before (being a Barça fan, I watch ESPN Deportes or GolTV for league matches) and I’m generally willing to pay more for programming care about, but I’m assuming that TWC, which just upped my bill, won’t be *lowering* my bill if Fox disappears.

    Both sides are obviously trying to play hardball with each other and, in the end, no matter what happens, the customers will lose out because either I won’t have FSC or I’ll have a higher cable bill for the same programming.

    1. Where I live in Milwaukee, AT&T U Verse isn’t an option. We can only get Time Warner. But I would probably cancel my digital services if FSC is lost.

  2. The FCC needs to mandate that cable be offered a la carte. It’s ridiculous for subscribers to be forced to pay ever higher rates for channels they don’t want. Even if costs for individual channels were higher than as part of a package, I believe I would save money. I have to subscribe to a higher cost package just so I can get FSC. I’d love to get rid of 75% of my channels that I never watch.

    1. The problem with a la carte is that FSC wouldn’t survive with it. Yes, you would be able to just order it, but there is no way enough people would subscribe to it for it to make money in the U.S. Making it part of a package ensures that niche programming like FSC is able to be seen in households AND be a viable revenue stream for Fox.

      1. I’m not so sure about that Brendan. FSC took a chance on soccer in the US when other sports networks wouldn’t. They’ve invested a lot into it, and I think they would absorb losses for a few years if they had to while they continue to grow the audience here in the US.

        As a NYC resident with no other cable option, I would cancel TW the second it pulls the plug on FOX.

  3. Man I feel sorry for those people with Time Warner…FOX is a bigger company than Goltv situation with Dish but I think everything will be fine and they will keep Fox….alot of people will get rid of Time Warner if they take away Fox…they show to much and to many people watch Fox Programs.

  4. Are you mother f*cking kidding me? Time Warner is the only non-satellite provider in my area and satellite has trouble because of lots of trees around my property. I hate Time Warner so gd much….

    1. Matthew, you hit the nail on its head right there. According to an article in Multichannel News, this is what a media analyst says about the sitation:

      “Though Time Warner will probably take a subscriber hit in the dispute, the impact may not be that bad. In New York, which is dominated by apartment buildings, satellite service is not always feasible and FiOS service is not available in every area.”

      The Gaffer

      1. Time Warner presents itself as a defender of your cable bill. They have this ad campaign running telling how they are going to “get tough” on content providers who keep driving up the cost of content by demanding “400% fee increases” on channels. The sad thing is, people will buy this crap hook line and sinker. You can even look on their sham website (I think it is rolloverorgettough.com or something) and see the angry comments thanking Time Warner for trying to keep the bill the same. All they are doing long term is make people hate them. I don’t subscribe to cable because I am frugal and I want the bare minimum. I subscribe to cable to get the best content. Consumers like me are being driven to DIrecTV. I tell you what… I am moving in about 6 months and I will make sure I can get DirecTV in my new apartment and I will never look back. I don’t see how any sports fan doesn’t have DirecTV. I cannot wait until we are reunited :)

        1. I’m with you on DIRECTV! Without satellite, I couldn’t receive Setanta Sports. I was once a Time Warner subscriber, but they never carried Setanta, so…..
          These disputes between content providers and cable and satellite companies only hurt the consumer. Time Warner needs to face facts, without the right content, subscribers will look elsewhere. Although I can’t prove it, I think that the overall picture quality is better via satellite, rather than cable, HD included.

  5. The time has come to treat cable TV the same way as we do the electric and water companies, as publicly regulated entities. If the parties can’t or won’t play fair, it is in the public interest for government to step in. It’s absurd to hold consumers hostage this way.

  6. I’m a TWC customer and got their little diatribe about the situation in an email last week. If this were just about FSC you could kiss it goodbye, but since it’s about ALL Fox programming I’m certain it will get worked out.

    Unfortunately, as Isaiah has already pointed out, it’s us pee-ons who will pay in the end.

  7. Fox Soccer Channel will be broadcasting the third round of the FA Cup on January 2-3nd. TV schedule hasn’t been finalized, but the games may include:

    Saturday, January 2
    Reading v Liverpool

    Sunday, January 3
    Man United v Leeds
    West Ham v Arsenal

    The Gaffer

  8. This might be slightly tangential to the issue, but this topic had me thinking about its relation to arguments about online football content and pirated streaming signals.

    As many of you have pointed out, the likely loser in this will be the consumers themselves. Time Warner isn’t likely to discount your cable bill if it dumps Fox programming, and you’ll have to pay special fees to have those channels delivered in some other way. Now, I am not an advocate of watching free streaming video rather than paying for a service, but it strikes me that, if this comes to pass, it would not be a huge surprise if it drove those searching for football content to increased reliance on illegal streaming sites. It is the one option where, assuming no enforcement costs, the consumer wins and the companies lose, rather than the other way around.

    That’s not an attempted justification mind you (well, possibly a slightly veiled attempt at justification), but I bet there is an increase of illegal streaming use if this happens. It would be another way in which large service and content providers miss the boat when it comes to cost-effective and efficient methods of delivering their product.

    1. I think this scenario would be a given.

      Rather than justifying illegal streaming, though, I think the real lesson is that there exists a massive, untapped market for online soccer viewing.

      I know it’s easier said than done. But imagine a day when we can pay a monthly fee and hop online every weekend to watch virtually any game of our choosing, with feeds that are clear, reliable and authorized — and which financially benefit the leagues and teams we support.

      No more enduring a bunch of shadowy sites, dodgy apps and choppy streams just to catch the latest Fulham match or what have you.

  9. Not the first time, and certainly not the last, am I a very happy camper I have own a house with the right surroundings to have DirecTV. I pay through the nose for the packages I do have though. What I am dying to know is whether DTV is doing to broadcast FSC when it suppossedly goes HD in January (oh please, oh please, oh please).

  10. EPL talk with it’s misleading headlines for viewers, yet again.

    If this was just FSC I’d worry, but since this is FOX it’s impossible anything will happen.

    Nice job creating a panic, I guess you got your views.

    1. It’s not actually impossible. This happened with TW and ABC 10 years ago and customers went without ABC programming for a while. This was at the height of ABCs run as one of the top networks when they had Who Wants to be a Millionaire and whatnot.

      This is very troubling because cable companies are tired of adding new networks to their lineup. They could probably come to a compromise where they’ll keep FOX and FX and FSN, but I can easily see them saying we don’t want FSC and we’d all still be fucked.

      1. Agreed. It’s totally possible.
        A few years ago TWC and YES Network (the NY Yankees Network) had a split and YES was excised from the TWC lineup–in NEW YORK CITY!

    2. In my area, we didn’t have any Fox channels for a good three months when one affiliate went off the air and the new affiliate had trouble negotiating with our local cable operator (Time Warner). Luckily, it was in the summer!

    3. John, the headline is accurate and I’ll stand by it. Readers of this blog don’t care as much about the other Fox networks, so there’s nothing wrong with stating the fact that Time Warner customers are in danger of losing Fox Soccer Channel. If you still disagree, what headline would you suggest?

      The Gaffer

  11. I have have used TW for the last 15 years. for my computer and telephone the last year. FOX is my only news channel if FOX is dropped by Time Warner I will change my service to AT&T.and and have no regrets.

  12. I have been a bright house customer for 10 years fox is the only news channel that is ubiased .If they are dropped I will go to dish network.I work for national retailor our breakroon tv has fox news on most of the time.

  13. if time warner drop the Fox Soccer Channel i would end up getting rid of one of my cable boxes… basically i have a dvr cable box in my basement (mancave) and all i do is record and watch my soccer down there. if there was no Fox Soccer Channel i would not need this cable box and might even change my cable provider to a dish or something

  14. I used to work at NEWS CORP. The salaries, bonuses and parties are outrageous. Rupert Murdoch is a greedy and power hungry Australian. It is not fair that an Australia can have that much RIGHTS and POWER over our media ( newspapers, TV, cable, magazines). Not only does Rupert controls us ( Americans), now he has American bickering amongst ourselves over FOX programming….smart move Rupert!. What an instigator ! I say REMOVE FOX and let Americans gain back access and control of all forms of media. Let us be responsible for the commication to our own people. Rupert doesn’t care about the recession or unemployed people, he is a billionaire…he can afford to keep Americans battling forever.

  15. I agree that I TWC if they drop FSC, but think about what the future holds. The same thing would happen with AT&T U and direct tv. Only choices from different companies help keep cost down. If everyone changed to Direct TV they would raise prices if they have less competition. I have a problem with TWC and FSC. All of them are ripping us off. And last but not least FOX is about as unbiased as MSNBC. Fox is the Repulican network like MSNBC is the Democrat network.

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