Walt Disney Co. plugged in on their local New York station WABC for Cablevision subscribers mere minutes before the Oscars were about to air. The companies came to a tentative agreement after Disney yanked the signal from the cable provider’s network earlier that morning, holding the signal hostage for higher carrier fees.
“We’ve made significant progress and have reached an agreement in principle that recognises the fair value of ABC7, with deal points that we expect to finalise with Cablevision,” said Rebecca Campbell, president and general manager of WABC, to the Los Angeles Times. “Given this movement, we’re pleased to announce that ABC7 will return to Cablevision households while we work to complete our negotiations.”
But the media beasts haven’t stopped snarling at each other yet.
Details about the deal weren’t made public. But according to the LA Times, sources say Cablevision is handing over about 55 to 65 cents per subscriber for WABC. Original reports said Disney wanted about $1 per subscriber and Cablevision was negotiating about 25 cents per customer.
One ABC executive told the New York Times, “if Cablevision doesn’t honour the deal points, we’re right back where we started.”
We can expect more of these fights over hiked fees, as broadcasters attempt to wrangle higher revenues for their content from distribution platforms. In the end, cable subscribers will be the ones to get punished with either pulled signals or ever-increasing cable bills. Brian Stelter at the New York Times has an overview of why this won’t be the last cable fee fight to affect consumers.
But, phew! At least Cablevision subscribers got to see the first female director nab an Oscar last night.
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