Both sides resolved differences
BUENOS AIRES — Fox Sports has agreed to slash its rates by almost half, enabling its return Thursday to the lineup of Cablevision, Argentina’s leading multisystem operator.Cablevision, which has 1.5 million subscribers, pulled the channel in January, as the two companies wrangled over carriage fees. Tempers frayed after an aggressive publicity campaign by Fox Sports criticizing the MSO’s decision to dump it. But the two sides finally kissed and made up Wednesday night. MGM, brought in to fill the hole left by Fox Sports, has been allocated space lower down the grid, allowing the sports web to return to its traditional slot. A Cablevision spokesman refused to discuss the terms of the deal other than to say that “it was satisfactory to both sides.” But a market source said Fox was forced to make considerable concessions. As well as cutting the price of Fox Sports by 45%, the programmer has agreed to reduce the tariffs of both Fox Kids and its Fox general entertainment channel by 25%. The contracts were due for renewal in June. The heated negotiations were part of a wider cost-cutting drive by Cablevision execs after shareholders ordered them to trim 10% from the company’s $160 million annual programming budget. Other programmers, including the Discovery Group, have already agreed to similar price cuts, the market source said.