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Fox News Battles Cable Companies Over Fees

Fox News Channel defies the skeptics as the nearly 10-year-old operation seeks an increase in fees paid by cable operators. As it tours the nation to celebrate its birthday, Fox News has its sights set on lucrative new deals. It currently gets an average of 27 cents per subscriber each month, but the net has proposed bumping that amount to a full buck while talking with cable companies about carrying a new business channel. But some industry watchers think the channel is bluffing the $1 demand, and will probably settle for less. "Going from 25 cents to a dollar is completely unrealistic," says Derek Baine, an analyst with Kagan Research. But Fox parent News Corp. has threatened to yank the channel from operators who don't pony up, thus unleashing the wrath of its fan base. Fox may be powerful, but then so are the nation's cable companies. "The sides are evenly matched," says Dennis Miller of Spark Capital in Boston.



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