Parties Surmount Major Issues, Pull Marketing Messages: Sources
Mike Reynolds -- Multichannel News, 8/29/2010 7:25:46 PM
With three days remaining on their contract, it would appear that a disconnect between Time Warner Cable and The Walt Disney Co. may be averted.
The companies' Web sites addressing the contract situation now house a statement indicating that "significant progress" has been made and the focus is now on "a successful conclusion."
Moreover, sources familiar with the negotiations said that both sides have pulled their advertising messages apprising subscribers and viewers about the situation. (Some messages may still appear, owing to materials deadlines.) These people indicate that major differences have been surmounted.
Should the parties ultimately come to a terms it would forestall any disruption of service for the nation's No. 2 cable operator, relative to a host of broadcast and cable programming from the giant media company. The contract, which expires at midnight on Sept. 2, covers retransmission-consent for ABC owned-and-operated stations in the MSO's footprint, as well as new rates for high-profile cable networks as the ESPN suite of services, Disney Channel and ABC Family Channel. A "TV Everywhere" authentication plan is also said to be part of the discussion.
The following statement now appears on both Disney's site, IHavechoices.com and Time Warner Cable's RollOverOrGetTough.com.
"The Walt Disney Company and Time Warner Cable have made significant progress in our negotiations for continued distribution of ABC, Disney and ESPN networks and services. We are now focusing all our attention on a successful conclusion of these efforts prior to the September 2 deadline. Please continue to check this site for further updates."
Further on RollOverOrGetTough.com, Time Warner Cable, answers the questions "What's happening with ESPN/ABC/Disney?" and "ESPN (and in some markets ABC) is advertising that Time Warner Cable customers are going to lose those services on September 2. Are we really going to lose those channels?" with the aforementioned statement.
Moreover, it responds positively about resolution to a third line of frequently asked questions, trying to dissuade any subscribers considering switching to DBS and telco providers. "Why shouldn't I just go ahead and switch to DirecTV/Dish/AT&T/FIOS anyway? You can't promise me that Time Warner Cable will have ESPN/Disney/ABC on September 2, and I don't want to miss any of my favorite programming."
The MSO answers the above thusly: "We have made significant progress in our negotiations, and expect these services to remain uninterrupted. There should be no reason to consider switching."
Officials for Time Warner Cable declined comment. Disney executives couldn't be reached for comment by press time.
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