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

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

Related posts:

Carmen Electra caught up in cable feud

John Kerry weighs in on Fox-Time Warner Cable spat

Broadcasters' tough talk with cable is not without risks

News Corp.'s Chase Carey ready for battle with Time Warner Cable 

Time Warner Cable takes aim at programmers

Comments () | Archives (9)

TWC really sucks. They won't allow Verizon Fios in the area where I live and are against open cable access, which means I can choose to have Charter or Comcast if I so choose to.
The price they charge for their crappy service is unbelievable. These morons are making nearly 3X the profit off the customer and they're crapping about $1.00? Give me a break! This is why the country's in the financial mess it's in. Corporate greed on the backs of consumers, and like the good little sheeples these corporations think we are, we take it.
I'm with Disney and News Corp. on this one. In case TWC forgot, there is no longer a "Big 3" in terms of networks. That changed 20 years ago with the addition of Fox as the 4th national network.
They'd better work something out real quick because I don't want to miss the BCS games, the Eagles/ Cowboys on Sunday, the NFC playoffs, 24, House and Nascar. Not to mention all the great sports on Prime Ticket, FS West and Speed Channel.

BREAKING: Company with vested interest in Fox getting more money (so they can in turn ask for more money down the road) backs Fox in negotiations for more money!

File that under no duh.

Just like COMCAST holding DirecTV hostage for Versus channel 603. When will this crap end.

Both sides are deserving of scorn here.

TWC charges an arm and a leg--while Disney has a vested interest on Fox's side here, they are not wrong in their criticism here.

However, if the $1 per subscriber deal is as generous as Fox says it is, then they should have no problem offering a temporary extension and then going to binding arbitration, as was apparently offered. If Fox is so clearly in the right here, then an arbitrator should waste little time in arriving at the proper outcome.

Each major network since the switchover to digital broadcast has had the ability to expand its over the air offerings and kill the cable industry or force them to step up and maintain their market share on the basis of offering a unique service (such as on-demand). But none of these mega-media firms have offered anything substantial to the public on their expanded channels. Fox could be offering FoxNews, Fox Sports, etc. Disney could be offering its various Disney and ESPN offerings along side ABC. NBC could be offering USA, CNBC, etc. But instead they are whining that the cable companies don't share enough of our dollars with them. Please. Where are the benefits that digital broadcast was supposed to bring?

TWC is a greedy company with absolutely NO regard for their customers. Do yourself a favor and switch to Verizon Fios as I did long ago. Unlike TW, Fios offers NFL Netowrk for all those Thursday NFL games. I can't believe I stuck with TW that long. You will NOT be disappointed.

Pandore's box will be opened if TWC gives into the demands of Fox. As more and more people turn to DVR's (fast forward through commecials), ondemand programing, and Hulu-- programers are loosing revenue through commercial. It make's sense that they would seek more $ through subscriber fees. However, even though programing costs only account for less than half of the cost of cable- there are many costs associated with delievering the services. TWC is a very good company- the cost for their phone or standard internet service has not increased in 10 years. They are doing whatever they can to hold the cost of cable down even if that means paring down what is offered on cable. I have a strange feeling that TWC is prepared to drop Fox for good, and Fox is prepared to leave. Although viewers might be upset-- they are also upset when rates go up. As a TWC employee, I'm not looking forward to the next week of work, that's for sure.

Kristina, really TW hasn't increased standard internet service in 10 years? When I moved I had no choice but to get broadband internet from TW and this past month my standard internet service was increased by $3.00 per month. This after having had the service for only 6 months!

When I inquired about the cost of basic cable without a box I was told the cost was going to be $64.95 a month. Before moving, I had DirecTV and the cost for everything they offered including the HD package was $72.95 a month without any premiums (HBO, Showtime, Movie Channel, Cinemax, etc).

During the past 10+ years that I had DirecTV I NEVER remember one single time when I risked losing channels over fees. Yet this year TW has a problem reaching an agreement with FOX and this time last year it was Viacom.

I'm actually surprised that TW didn't approve what FOX was asking so they could increase subscribers' rates again like they did across the board this past month.

Mike, you should definitely make a call to TWC and find out why your rates went up for internet services. You may have been on an introductory promotion that ended. Anyway, I hope you have a good day and you did bring up some very good points.


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