Charter Sued by Fox News in Dispute Over Programming Fees

  • Charter accused of using Time Warner Cable buy to reduce rates
  • Suit comes weeks after Univision Holdings filed similar case

Fox News Network LLC sued Charter Communications Inc. claiming the cable company tried to use its acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. to impose lower programming rates, just weeks after Univision Holdings Inc. leveled similar accusations.

Cable operators are fighting to stem the tide of customers canceling pay-television services in favor of online options such as Netflix Inc. by reducing the rising costs of programming. Charter’s May purchase of Time Warner Cable gave the combined company millions more subscribers, giving it a leg up in negotiations with programmers.

Charter is trying to use the terms of Time Warner Cable’s agreement with Fox News to set rates, rather than its own deal that was negotiated later, according to the lawsuit which was filed in New York state court Tuesday.

Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S., filed a similar lawsuit in the same court earlier this month, accusing Charter of using the Time Warner Cable purchase to impose fees that are "dramatically below current market prices."

"We have a long-term contract with Fox News and we expect them to honor it," said Justin Venech, a Charter spokesman, echoing the same statement he made in reference to the Univision lawsuit.

The case is Fox News Network LLC v. Charter Communications Holdings Co. LLC, 653777/2016, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan.)

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