Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Cablevision For Depriving People Of Fox On TV

from the oh-please dept

It seems the whole retransmission fight in NY between Cablevision and Fox gets sillier by the day. After Fox accused Cablevision of pointing people to websites with unauthorized streams of various sporting events, Cablevision announced that it would reimburse anyone who ordered Major League Baseball’s internet playoff package to watch the World Series (legally) over the internet. Apparently, that’s not enough for some people, who have filed a silly class action lawsuit against Cablevision for not discounting their bills during the Fox fight. They’re claiming this was a breach of contract, because it represents a “material change” to the service. I can understand why people are annoyed, but this certainly feels like yet another class action lawsuit which is just about lawyers trying to squeeze money out of a company, rather than any serious public concern. Adding weight to that claim is the fact that they’re asking for a whopping $450 million — saying that the customers are seriously harmed by missing Fox’s “distinctive viewpoint in the political speech arena… just days before a critical mid-term election.” Oh and, of course, being deprived of The Simpsons, Glee, and football and baseball are seriously damaging to the psyche. Or something like that.

Update: Surprise, surprise. Now it’s coming out that the lawyer behind the lawsuit has long term connections with News Corp. going all the way back to when Murdoch first set up the Fox Network.

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Companies: cablevision, fox, news corp

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Comments on “Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Cablevision For Depriving People Of Fox On TV”

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Mike C. (profile) says:

Whopping... not so much.

While the figure does seem high, it’s not a random number pulled out of the air. They are actually asking for all subscribers to get a free month of service – an award worth roughly $450 million. Additionally, that number could go higher because basically, they’re asking for free service for as long as Fox withholds their channels.

That being said, I think a lawsuit against either side (Fox or Cablevision) is foolish and a waste.

TheStupidOne says:

Re: Whopping... not so much.

It is extremely high … when you take the fact that FOX is one of perhaps 100 channels included in basic cable you should arrive at perhaps $4.5 million or a 1% discount. Maybe you could ask for as much as 25% because of the disruption to service, but not 100%

Cablevision should just put an amplified digital receiver in their cable boxes and have it pickup the broadcast channels from the air. If a customer complains that they aren’t getting the channel Cablevision should put an antenna up somewhere in or on the house (could they use the cable as an antenna?). That will be cheaper than paying the ridiculous fees that the broadcasters’ demand.

imbrucy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Whopping... not so much.

But FOX is not one channel. There are multiple channels that are being dropped. FOX News, FOX Sports (many, many different channels), and FX are all being dropped I believe. It isn’t the entire lineup, but there are quite a few channels being dropped. It’s especially obnoxious for locals where are the local sports teams are on the local FSN affiliate. (I’m from St. Louis and we are having a similar fight between Dish Network/Mediacom and Fox Sports Midwest that is blacking out all Blues games).

nasch (profile) says:

What is so silly?

What’s so silly about demanding that a company actually deliver the services it’s agreed to? And if they refuse to, demanding a partial refund? If they refuse that, it’s not like there’s competition to turn to. The only options are nothing, lawsuit, or bend over. I certainly don’t mind that some people are unwilling to bend over. Yes, I know the parties won’t get much out of it and it will be mostly for the lawyers, but maybe other cable providers will take note.

Michael Whitetail says:

Re: What is so silly?

You seem to not understand the situation here.

Rebroadcast rights are a contractual corcern. Each cable company has a signed contract with each of the channels it carries. These contracts have built-in cost adjustments that allow for the broadcasters to offset tech/marketing/etc costs.

What these companies like FOX and viacom are doing is extorting cable companies to get much higher retransmit rate hikes than the contract allows for. (Example, the TWC: Viacom fight was TWC agreed to 12% increase, viacom wanted 42%) They extort the cable industry by saying “Give us x percentage more, or we will pull our channels” Then to pressure those companies, FOX and others broadcast propaganda that the cable companies are willfully dropping ther content. When those companies cave in, they pass those costs straight on to the consumer.

This is extortion, and the FCC/Government is starting to take a good look at the practice. God I hope they stop this shit in it’s tracks.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: What is so silly?

I’m fully aware of what’s happening.

This is extortion, and the FCC/Government is starting to take a good look at the practice. God I hope they stop this shit in it’s tracks.

In this case, would strong competition in the cable market even solve it? I’m not sure that it would, and if not, what would the FCC be able to do? Setting prices is generally bad. I don’t know, I’m just not seeing a solution really.

Rekrul says:

I’m not exactly in favor of a lawsuit against Cablevision and I’d take their side over Fox’s, however…

Fox is a major network. It makes up 20% of the Network coverage, not to mention all the various other channels that Fox provides. If Cablevision is now providing a reduced service, they should reduce the bill by an appropriate amount.

After all, if they were adding a bunch of channels, they’d expect you to pay more, so with a reduction in channels, shouldn’t you pay less?

frustratedViewer (profile) says:

Cablevision should call for Boycott

Cablevision should call on all cable and dish tv service providers to initiate a nationwide boycott on all Newscorp programming, [specifically ALL FOX stations and programs and MY networks as well].
Then they should notify all the advertisers that paid millions of dollars to Newscorp to have their commercials aired are not reaching the total potential customer market that they contracted for. Perhaps those advertisers will apply pressure on Newscorp, forcing them to reconsider their current action against cablevision,and the cable/dish provider industry in general.

P K (user link) says:

The Real Issue

How about cutting to the chase and just getting down to the real problem. Why does the NFL, MLB, and all of the other fat cats get away with charging so much to broadcast their products, thus causing Fox to raise their prices and Cablevision to balk?

News Flash: Because we’re the idiots who fund it!

If people would ever put their money where their mouths are, they’d stop attending and watching sporting events until these fat cats learn to deal with a smaller pie. The pie is too big. Lower salaries, lower prices…simple.

Mike Angelo says:

There Should Be A Class Action Against News12/Optimum

News12 is denying access to its news reports unless we purchase more services from Optimum. Their sign-on page tells us that Optimum customers can sign in, but not if we only use one service, as I do with Optimum Online. This is not specified on their sign-on page, it only states “Optimum Customers”, which I am. My current Optimum ID and password are useless in signing in, and this whole deal just wreaks of extortion. When I took my FCC License Test, the first paragraph in the book states that “a station’s primary responsibility is to the community”. This is no longer the case with News12, and a complaint to the FCC has fallen upon deaf ears.

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