Cablevision is once again in the middle of a fee dispute, this time with the Walt Disney Co. Disney is threatening to pull ABC programming as early as this weekend if a fee agreement isn't reached between the two sides, which could keep 3.1 million viewers from watching the Oscars on Sunday night.
Cablevision shared an e-mailed statement from EVP Charles Schueler with PRWeek:
“We pay more than $200 million a year to ABC Disney for their programming and now they say they will pull the plug unless Cablevision pays $40 million more in new fees for the exact same channels. It is not fair to force Cablevision customers to pay a new TV tax for programming ABC Disney gives away free, both over-the-air and on the Internet. In tough economic times, it is shameful that ABC Disney would hold viewers hostage by threatening to pull the plug, and we urge them to work with us to reach a fair agreement.”
Meanwhile, Disney has denied the figures being reported and is countering with its own campaign, asking readers to "Tell Cablevision, 'Lose my shows, lose my business.'" Rebecca S. Campbell, president and general manager of ABC's WABC-TV, said in a statement to Reuters: "We can no longer sit back and allow Cablevision to use our shows for free while they continue to charge their customers for them."
This most recent dispute follows a January fee battle between Cablevision and Scripps, leaving subscribers without Scripps programming for three weeks.