When it comes to negotiating new carriage agreements between cable companies and local TV stations and sister cable channels, the trend increasingly is to negotiate in public. That's what happening between Time Warner Cable and Walt Disney Co. for a new contract to carry Disney's ESPN, Disney Channel and some local ABC television stations. Time Warner, the country's No. 2 cable operator, provides cable TV services to 2 million households in Southern California, reports the Los Angeles Times
Unless an agreement is reached before the Sept. 2 deadline, sports fans won't see "SportsCenter," disappointed kids missing out on "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," and stay-at-home moms miffed at their inability to tune in "The View." And the fight is unfolding on the Net. Disney launched a site IHaveChoices.com, which seeks to give consumers "the facts" about how they could be affected should the two sides be unable to strike a new agreement by Sept. 2. Disney is responding to Time Warner Cable's decision to restart RollOverOrGetTough.com, a website that seeks to win support with consumers
This is the earliest I've seen companies involved in carriage negotiations start campaigning, notes Deadline.com, a possible indication that the battle will be tough. For now, the two sides are actively talking with no signs of impasse. But they have checkered past and the issue of retransmission consent fees for broadcast stations' signal is a thorny one.
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