Media Matters Targets Fox News Carriage Fees

Liberal group Media Matters for America is taking aim at Fox News' affiliate fees in its ongoing campaign against the news network.

It has launched a new tool, UnFoxMyCableBox, purporting to show how much of a cable or satellite subscriber's bill goes to "subsidizing" Fox News.

Fox News is the highest rated cable news channel, so concomitantly commands healthy carriage fees from cable and satellite operators.

Media Matters has worked to discourage advertisers from buying time on the channel, whose programming--a favorite of President Donald Trump--the groups brands as "toxic." Now Media Matters says it is going after the approximately $1.8 billion in subscriber (carriage) fees.

It points out that a "wave" of contracts come due over the next couple of years, with up to $1.2 billion in fees to negotiate. It says the tool will add consumer voices to that dialogue.

"While there are 90 million cable and satellite subscribers in the United States, Fox News averages just 3 million daily viewers at best. That means 87 million subscribers are being forced to subsidize a network they don’t watch and may not support," Media Matters said.

The same could arguably be said of many networks with even fewer daily viewers, which is a lot of them. The other side of the argument is that it is the popular "big box" networks in the media mall that help draw traffic to smaller nets that might not otherwise be carried.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.