Disney offers its support for Fox in battle with Time Warner Cable


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Walt Disney Co. is weighing in on News Corp.’s battle with Time Warner Cable over so-called retransmission consent fees for the Fox-owned television stations.

The parent of cable networks ESPN and Disney Channel as well as broadcast network ABC said in a statement to Company Town that ‘cable operators pay only about 25 dollars a month for all of the programming on the basic and expanded basic tiers, and they sell this to consumers for some $60 to $70 dollars.’


Disney went on to say that given ‘the fact that cable operators use these video offerings to sell even higher-margin broadband and phone services, blaming the programmers for monthly cable bill increases is just plain wrong.’

Disney’s ABC is watching closely how Fox’s battle with Time Warner Cable plays out. Fox is trying to get as much as $1 per subscriber, per month, from Time Warner Cable to carry its local TV stations, including KTTV in Los Angeles and WNYW in New York. Time Warner Cable, people close to the talks say, has made a counter of about 30 cents per subscriber. The cable giant has also said it is willing to extend its current agreement with Fox, which expires when the clock strikes midnight and we enter 2010. Fox has said it might extend if it felt a deal was very close.

ABC’s deal with Time Warner Cable for its TV station expires late next year. CBS already has a deal with Time Warner Cable, and if Fox strikes a better deal, CBS may have the right to go back and demand the same deal. It’s what’s known in the industry as a most-favored-nation clause.

-- Joe Flint

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