In the latest cable versus broadcaster argument over carriage fees, a dispute between Raycom Media and Cox Communications was seemingly resolved late on January 4th. Raycom operates a series of local stations including the important CBS affiliate in Tucson, Arizona and NBC affiliate in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Raycom’s 8 stations were taken down for 48 hours last week after the parties fell out over carriage fees, with cable giant Cox saying that the increases demanded would lead to higher bills for subscribers. The absence of services (which included a FOX TV affiliate) threatened favourite programming, not least the NFL playoff game on CBS, and the nightly David Letterman chat-show.
Depending on who was talking the dispute ranged from a “few pennies” a day, per subscriber, to a “200 per cent increase”, and at one stage on Friday got very heated with Cox issuing a press release accusing Raycom of lying. “Raycom is telling our customers that Cox is refusing to air its channels.” “FACT,” the statement continued. “Raycom Media threatened Cox in a certified letter on December 27th 2012, that carriage of their stations without their permission” would subject Cox “to significant fines and substantial liability for copyright infringement.”
Raycom told subscribers that if they wanted to carry on viewing their favourite shows they should dump Cox and switch of DirecTV or Dish Network, or AT&T’s U-Verse.