Mad As Hell: 19% Will Switch If Cablevision, Fox Fight Continues Next Week

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In analyzing the ongoing bitter battle between Cablevision and Fox, a quick survey from a noted media analyst reveals that consumers essentially blamed both companies equally for their ongoing negotiation battle.

Richard Greenfield, co-head of media and cable systems equities for BTIG Research, says 28% of those surveyed (285 respondents) say Cablevision is to blame, while 25% point the finger at Fox. Another 47% blame both companies equally.

Greenfield says the media investment community is shocked that this public battle has gone on as long as it has -- and believes Fox will ultimately prevail, in part, because the FCC lacks the power to intervene.

He writes in his blog: "Cablevision has let Fox programming go dark for far longer than we and investors ever anticipated. Cablevision is losing subscribers and still appears to have no way to win the current battle."

Right now, he estimates there hasn't been much movement as far as subscribers leaving Cablevision -- perhaps 1% or less. They are mostly going to Verizon FIOS, some to DirecTV. But if nothing changes by next week, results from his survey suggest the floodgates will open -- 19% of Cablevision subscribers will bolt, and a whopping 37% will be gone by the end of the month.

What do Cablevision's 3 million New York area cable consumers miss the most? With the World Series now underway, 36% of consumers say it's the Major League Baseball playoffs; 33% mentioned the NFL; 10% say it's missing "Glee"; 7% point to missing "House"; and 4% say it's the local news.

Other shows mentioned include the syndicated daily show "The Wendy Williams Show," as well as Fox prime-time fare: "Fringe," "Lie to Me," "Family Guy," "The Simpsons" and "American Dad."

What's holding subscribers back from make a quicker decision?

Sixty-four percent say they don't want the hassle of switching to another service; 17% say it's the value of the "triple play" bundle of services offered -- video, phone and Internet. Finally, 14% believe Cablevision is making the right decision in trying to keep prices down; another 5% say they don't watch the Fox network.

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