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Summary:

Another day, another broadcaster headed for a showdown with the local cable company over retransmission fees. This time it’s Disney’s WABC-7 in New York, which is threatening to yank its signal from Cablevision’s pay-TV service. Like many battles that have come before it, this one will […]

Another day, another broadcaster headed for a showdown with the local cable company over retransmission fees. This time it’s Disney’s WABC-7 in New York, which is threatening to yank its signal from Cablevision’s pay-TV service. Like many battles that have come before it, this one will likely end in a last-minute compromise — but if not, TV viewers in the Greater New York City area may be forced to hook up antennas for over-the-air access or (*gasp*) miss the Oscars.

ABC has given Cablevision until midnight on March 7 to negotiate a retrans agreement or risk losing its broadcast programming, which includes popular TV shows like Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, as well as live events like this weekend’s Academy Awards broadcast.

Both sides have set up web sites and plan to launch TV, radio and print ads to help “educate” consumers about where they stand on the issues — namely, who gets paid and how much. On its web site, www.saveabc7.com, ABC complains that Cablevision charges consumers $18 for its basic broadcast tier of TV stations, but then doesn’t pass any of that money on to the broadcaster. Meanwhile, Cablevision says Disney is seeking $40 million to continue airing its ABC broadcasts to cable subscribers, which it equates to a 20 percent “tax” on top of the $200 million it already pays for Disney programming.

But this fight is unlikely to result in subscribers’ screens going blank. As we saw with the standoff between Time Warner Cable and Fox earlier this year, and Time Warner Cable and Viacom the year before, such brinksmanship usually ends with an 11th-hour deal, or at worst an extension of the negotiations without a blackout until a deal can be reached. That said, Cablevision has held fast against programmers in the past, most recently against Scripps Networks, which pulled the Food Network and HGTV off its New York cable system for three weeks earlier this year.

But unlike Scripps, ABC’s broadcast signals are available for free over the air — and much of its most popular scripted programming is available on demand on Hulu and ABC.com. While the online component won’t help Cablevision subscribers that want to watch Lost as it airs (ABC’s programs are generally available the day after a show airs in broadcast), and certainly won’t help those that want to watch the Oscars, it could serve as a leveraging chip for Cablevision, which might argue that making broadcast programming available on demand online is cutting into broadcast TV viewing.

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  1. PERSONALLY I HAVEN’T WATCHED ABC NEWS FOR AT LEAST 16 YEARS NOW BECAUSE I WATCH FOX NEWS WHICH GIVES YOU BOTH LIBERAL AND CONSERVATIVE VIEW POINTS FAIRLY. ABC NEWS LIKE CBS AND NBC ARE LIBERAL BIAS REPORTERS . SO MY OPINION IS THIS, I DON’T GIVE A ROW OF BEANS IF THEY NEVER COME BACK. SOMEONE WILL TAKE THEIR PLACE .

  2. Lori Walters Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    I can not get FIOS in the area I live and am forced to use Cablevision. I am not a big fan of Cablevision or Mr. Dolan but as stated I have no other choices. I made it through the Food Network and HGTV negotiations and I hope not to go through that again with ABC. I hope you can come to some understanding and keep the channel on while negotiating. I am watching less and less television as a result of all this!!!!!

  3. I rarely watch network TV because the shows are always repeats, and the news is totally biased. What with Food Channel and HGTV, this is starting to become a disguesting habit. The Dolans are so greedy, it is mind-boggling. But I love Oprah and the Oscars, among a few other things. It is time the networks, became less opinionated, so I will watch the news on Fox, and shows on cable. Cablevision —DEAL with it!!!

  4. I will 100% move to fios and not be happy about it if cablevision does not make the deal with abc. The absolute only television worth watching is on channel 7!

  5. I am not a fan of cablevision, but I thought public channels were supported by commercials!

  6. what the hell is wrong with cablevison. we pay you people hundreds of dollars each month. and you want to drop one of the most watched channels in the network, is it really worth losing thousands of customers of this????? you are making a huge mistake!!!!!! direct tv here i come baby

  7. I do not care if cable cannot carry ABC. I never watch it anyway. ABC pays nothing to broadcast it network the gov allows them to broadcast for free and I did some looking around and guess what can can watch most of their shows on line. As far as greed goes both are greedy as hell, but that’s the nature of business today. Everyone is trying to make more revenue while the content re-mains the same.

    1. Robert, where can my wife watch the Oscars online in abc goes out? Thank you.

    2. Yeah Robert!!…just because you don’t watch ABC don’t talk your crap and make it bad for us people who do and want to watch the ABC channel…what you sposted you could have kept to yourself! I myself am sick of Cablevisons greed and crap..and I will switch if I miss the Oscars or any other shows I regularly watch!..so all of you people who don’t watch channel 7 or ABC, keep your stupid opinions to yourselves! No one cares what you have to say anyway!!..and since this problem doesn’t seem to apply to you, why are you even posting about it if you don’t care about it?!!

  8. Cablevision and ABC Reach Deal During Academy Awards Monday, March 8, 2010

    [...] and Cablevision had been embroiled in a very public dispute over the right to carry New York’s WABC-7 on the cable’s pay TV service. ABC had [...]

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