At about midnight tonight, 3 million Cablevision subscribers in New York lost their ABC signals. Disney’s attempt to get Cablevision to pay up an additional $40 million a year in new cable rights fees is at a standstill.
Over at the New York Times, the companies bicker through press statements:
Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications, said in a statement five minutes after midnight, “It is now painfully clear to millions of New York area households that Disney C.E.O. Bob Iger will hold his own ABC viewers hostage in order to extract $40 million in new fees from Cablevision.”
Mr. Schueler called on Mr. Iger to “immediately return ABC to Cablevision customers while we continue to work to reach a fair agreement.”
In a separate statement, Rebecca Campbell, WABC’s president and general manager, said Cablevision had “betrayed its subscribers.”
“Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year, and now customers aren’t getting what they pay for … again,” Ms. Campbell said. “It’s time for Jim Dolan and the Dolan family dynasty to finally step up, be fair, and do what’s right for our viewers.” Read more at the Times—>
But viewers are caught in the middle, with Cablevision subscribers in New York left without a live signal for the Oscars tonight, starting at 8 p.m. They will have to find another way to watch the Oscars.
ABC will likely remain bullheaded in the fight so they can continue to negotiate higher fees with other cable providers like Times Warner Cable. News Corp. already won against TWC in their a Fox fight.
We can expect more of these kinds of public fights over fees, with cable consumers getting punished with either pulled stations or higher cable bills in the end.
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