News Corp. launched a marketing blitz today, against Time Warner, as part of a dispute over TV programming fees, The Wall Street Journal reported. The contract between Time Warner and News Corp. networks like Fox and FX is set to run out at the end of the month, but a disagreement over cash fees for broadcast TV is holding up the situation.
News Corp.'s ads feature popular characters, like the Simpsons, warning customers they may lose their favorite shows. Time Warner has also been out with advertising against fees for broadcast TV, though News Corp. was not named. The Journal reports:
Cable companies and TV network owners frequently have bruising negotiations over programming fees. News Corp. and Time Warner Cable view this battle as potentially precedent-setting for the TV business as a whole. That has led to a more public negotiation.
Historically, networks such as News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. have received cash fees for their cable channels and not for broadcast networks. Instead, the cable operators often have agreed to carry new cable networks, such as Disney's ESPN2, or put existing ones in more homes.