More than three million New Yorkers stand to lose ABC at midnight tonight (Sat. March 6) if Disney’s deadline for a retransmission agreement with Cablevision doesn’t come through, reports AP.
Both companies have waged a PR war over the past week as they’ve tried to place the other as the villain in their ongoing battle over Cablevision’s transmission of the ABC signal.
ABC has trotted out some of its biggest daytime personalities to talk about the battle on their talk shows, including Barbara Walters, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. Some have viewed their opinions as swinging toward their corporate bosses.
Cablevision has been running on-air promos, created a website with their views and called out Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger as the person who’s really holding the puppet strings in these negotiations.
According to Cablevision, Disney wants an extra $40 million a year in new fees. The cable provider claims they currently pay more than $200 million a year to Disney.
Disney says Cablevision already charges its subscribers $18 a month for basic broadcast signals and they haven’t received a cut of that fee. D.C. lawmakers have suggested that the FCC get involved in the squabble.
What’s at stake for the 3.1 New York Cablevision subscribers?
Immediately, they won’t be able to view Sunday’s Oscars (unless they have an antenna and digital converter box). In the long run, Cablevision says that the new retransmission rates for ABC would be passed on to its subscribers in their monthly cable bills.
How do you feel about Disney wanting to be paid for the ABC network?
[Updated Sun. March 7 12:08 AM Disney made good on their threat and pulled WABC from Cablevision subscribers in New York areas a minute after Midnight on Sun. morning. We’ll update as details emerge on the negotiations.]
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Photo credit: ABC; Cablevision