After weeks of quiet but intense negotiations, Time Warner Cable and Fox News have struck a new long-term affiliation agreement.
The talks between the two giants remained mostly under the radar, unusual in today's media environment where loud and often nasty battles between programmers and distributors have become commonplace. Last month, Viacom pulled its cable channels from satellite broadcaster DirecTV for almost two weeks and the two ran public campaigns criticizing each other until a new accord could be reached.
While terms of the Fox-TWC deal were not disclosed, people familiar with the talks said Fox News was able to extract a major increase in the fee Time Warner Cable will pay to carry the popular channel. According to industry consulting firm SNL Kagan, Fox News is averaging about 89 cents per subscriber, per month from distributors. Under the Time Warner Cable accord, Fox News will get north of $1 per subscriber in the first year of the deal, with increases in the years that follow, these people said.
The jump in fee puts Fox News in the same league as popular entertainment channels including Time Warner's TNT. Fox News and its parent, News Corp., have made no secret that they believe the cable channel is undervalued by distributors. Last year, News Corp. President Chase Carey told analysts that the next round of contracts for Fox News "will take subscription fees to a whole new level."