CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bell Fioptics customers could lose FOX cable channels in 2020 if negotiations aren’t successful in reaching a new contract with the network, the company says.
Affected channels would include FOX News, FOX Business, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.
Cincinnati Bell told customers in a letter this week that it is fighting to keep offering FOX channels amid a 20% price hike in 2020.
In a Dec. 26 letter, Cincinnati Bell said it and more than 700 other “mid-size and smaller cable operators” are negotiating with FOX.
Cincinnati Bell said “FOX may choose to pull their services from our customers” at the end of the contract term on Dec. 31.
“At this time, our buying group is working hard to complete a fair and reasonable agreement with FOX so you, our customer, continue to receive these networks,” Bell’s letter read. “At this time FOX is demanding new rates that are over 20% higher than previous rates. This is more than 10 times the current rate of inflation!”
In a statement, FOX Corporation responded by accusing the National Cable Television Cooperative of fabricating a crisis and “putting its own business objectives ahead of the needs of its members and their respective customers.”
“Our priority is to reach a fair agreement with our valued partners without carriage disruption, which is why we offered each participating NCTC cable company at risk of losing FOX networks a short-term direct agreement to carry our networks without interruption,” the FOX statement said. “However, the NCTC has directed its members not to talk with Fox in a misguided attempt to fabricate an avoidable crisis.”
Cincinnati Bell spokesperson Josh Pichler said that since 2009, FOX cable channels have increased their rates over 200 percent.
“We know you don’t want to pay more for TV service than you have to, and that is why our firm negotiations against large programmers like FOX is a top priority in order to fight for fair and reasonable rates; rather than rates that are gouging you, the consumer,” read Cincinnati Bell’s letter to customers.