Lawmakers grow more vocal about ABC-Cablevision dispute
With a bitter dispute over fees between Walt Disney Co. and Cablevision still unresolved, federal and state lawmakers are now getting involved in an effort to keep millions of customers in the New York and New Jersey area from losing access to ABC programming, .
A dozen Democratic members of Congress from New York and New Jersey have written letters to the Federal Communications Commission or issued statements urging Disney not to pull its ABC signals from 3.1 million Cablevision subscribers in New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.
Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) urged the FCC to intervene in the deadlock over retransmission fees. U.S. Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) and New Jersey State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D) have written similar letters urging ABC to keep its programs on Cablevision. Dozens of state legislators have voiced similar concerns about ABC's pending withdrawl from Cablevision.
As reported earlier this week, WABC-7, the local affiliate for Disney’s ABC franchise, said it would go dark for Cablevision subscribers if the parties were unable to come up with an agreement on fees paid by the cable giant to the broadcaster. ABC has said Cablevision is not offering a fair price to carry its programming.
Cablevision has said that Disney, the parent company of ABC, was seeking unreasonable terms. The company says it already pays ABC more than $200 million a year, and is being pressured to pay $40 million on top of that for no additional content.
“We want our customers to know that we will not pull this channel and we urge ABC Disney to make that same commitment,” said Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications
March 5, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
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