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Summary:

If I’m already fatigued by the extended PR volley between Disney and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) over retransmission fees, just imagine how Cabl…

Oscar Award2
photo: Flickr / Dave_B_

If I’m already fatigued by the extended PR volley between Disney and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) over retransmission fees, just imagine how Cablevision subs counting on WABC for the Academy Awards Sunday night or the latest twist in Lost feel. Since Disney went public with the dispute over retrans fees late Monday, they’ve been bombarded with conflicting messages of blame — and warnings that either Disney’s greed or Cablevision’s greed will be the cause if the ABC owned-and-operated station disappears from the channel lineup at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. (This is where Shakespeare might insert “a pox on both your houses.”)

Cablevision insists ABC is demanding $40 million a year for channels already covered by its $200-plus million annual payment to Disney (NYSE: DIS). ABC contends the actual amount is far less — and that the cable operator is offering an even smaller amount, roughly what it pays its own Rainbow Networks to carry the Sundance channel.

And now Congress is in the mix. U.S. Sen John Kerry sent FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski a letter Wednesday urging him not to let millions of cable subscribers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (none of them his own state) go without the Oscars: “I ask you to urge the parties to stay at the negotiating table and continue transmitting ABC programming to Cablevision consumers. I simply do not believe consumers should lose access to a signal over their cable service as long as both parties are negotiating in good faith.” I asked Sen. Kerry’s office what constitutes good faith — and who decides it. No answer yet but he outlines what he thinks should be done before a broadcaster can remove a signal: “I don

  1. Anyone who really is desperate to watch the Oscar snoozefest can just get an antenna. That’s why it’s called a BROADCAST channel.

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    1. Staci D. Kramer Thursday, March 4, 2010

      Nice thought but antennas aren’t an option for everyone.

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  2. how long until cable operators engineer a super powerful tiny antenna module that will plug right between the end of their cable and the nub on the tv set?

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  3. Do what my family and I have done..call WABC @ 877-990-1237 option 3 and leave them a voice mail letting them know how much you love them for yanking/threatening to yank their broadcasts from Cablevision and using you as a bargaining chip in their dispute with CV.
    Leave em a msg like “thanks I guess since you’re pulling WABC off CV and denying me access I’ll go ahead and cancel my families annual vacation at Disney World and we’ll vacation at Universal instead”.

    Cablevision should let WABC pull their broadcasts and then let Disney see how their advertising clients feel about losing 4 million households.

    This entire fiasco is the Disney Corporations doing .. we as consumers should let them know just how warm and fuzzy it makes us feel being used & abused in this manner.

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