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Cablevision, Walt Disney dispute highlight shifting media landscape

The paper version today:

ABC returned to the televisions of Cablevision's 3 million New York area subscribers late Sunday, allowing viewers to catch most of the Academy Awards. But the companies didn't say whether they had ended their tense and bitter impasse over how much the cable operator should pay Walt Disney, the parent company of ABC, for transmission fees.

Cablevision made the announcement a full day after the ABC channel went dark for Cablevision subscribers, angering viewers and sparking criticism from lawmakers and regulators for allowing the corporate dispute to affect consumers.

The move was the latest dispute between broadcasters and their cable and satellite partners as the media industry grapples for new revenue models in a shifting and more challenging business landscape.

Cablevision said Sunday afternoon it was willing to seek a third-party negotiator to arbitrate new talks. ABC said it has put forth a counter offer to try to bridge the impasse but didn't comment on whether it was willing to seek binding arbitration, as recommended by lawmakers.

Walt Disney and Cablevision have reached an agreement in principle to run WABC-7, the local station. "We've made significant progress," said Rebecca Campbell, president and general manager of WABC. "Given this movement, we are pleased to announce that ABC-7 will return to Cablevision households while we work to complete our negotiations."

Keep reading here for full story.

By Cecilia Kang  |  March 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  FCC  
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