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Sarlo To Cablevision And News Corp: Go To Arbitration And Let Subscribers Watch The Game

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul A. Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, addresses the Senate Budget panel.

TRENTON – Senator Paul Sarlo today called upon Cablevision and News Corp – owners of the WNYW, WWOR and WTXF television stations in the New York and Philadelphia markets – to submit to binding arbitration to resolve their escalating transmission contract dispute and ensure that viewers are not held hostage.

Without an agreement between the two companies, Cablevision subscribers stand to lose broadcast programming on News Corp-owned channels – including baseball’s National League Championship Series, a New York Giants NFL game and the World Series. The deadline for an agreement is today.

This is the second time this year Sarlo has stood up for viewers. In March, he cajoled Cablevision and Disney Corporation (owners of WABC-TV) to not make cable subscribers pawns in a dispute that threatened the ability of viewers to watch the Academy Awards.

Sarlo released the following statement:

“The increasing number of these types of disputes in recent years have made pawns of the subscribers who have to weather constant threats to their access to broadcast television. Consumers should not be held hostage every time two media behemoths have a disagreement.

“Cablevision has already agreed to submit to a binding arbitration process before a neutral third party. I applaud them for this decision and urge News Corp to follow suit. Customers who pay for a service should not be caught in the middle.

“Binding arbitration would ensure that both Cablevision and News Corp get a fair hearing. But most importantly, it would ensure that subscribers who only want to be able to cheer on their home teams won’t find themselves blacked-out because two large corporations had a spat over money.”