News Corp and Cablevision have had a bit of a disagreement over fees recently, due to this disagreement around 3 million Cablevision subscribers have had News Corp channels, such as Fox, blacked out on their TV. Today, News Corp has taken things one step further and blocked users on Cablevision from accessing content available on Hulu that is owned by News Corp.
According to MediaMemo, when Cablevision subscribers tried access content Fox.com or Fox content on Hulu they got the error message:
We notice that you are attempting to access Fox content on Hulu. Unfortunately this content is currently unavailable to Cablevision customers. We look forward to bringing Fox content to Cablevision customers again soon.
When reached for a comment Hulu Public Relations representative Elisa Schreiber said:
Unfortunately, we were put in a position of needing to block Fox content on Hulu in order to remain neutral during contract negotiations between Fox and Cablevision. This only includes Fox content. All other Hulu content is accessible to Cablevision internet subscribers. We regret the impact on Cablevision customers and look forward to returning Fox content to those users as soon as possible.
News Corp has set a new precedent in fee disputes between cable companies and content providers. Until now, fee disputes effected viewing the content on the TV and that was the end of it, this is the first time the disputed has moved to content on the web.
This makes one wonder why users that only use Cablevision for internet access should be blocked from access to the content that all other users have access to, even users that have DSL through an ISP that offers nothing more than an internet connection and pays no money to content providers like News Corp. Could this move lead to content providers fighting ISPs for a piece of our internet subscription fee?
Update: News Corp has decided to turn Fox.com and Fox content on Hulu back on for Cablevision subscribers.