Cablevision Loses ABC Just in Time for Oscar Night


ABC parent company Disney wants Cablevision to pay a per-viewer fee for carrying their signal. Cablevision doesn’t want to pay the fee Disney is asking to carry broadcast signals that anyone can access with a digital antenna for free. At least some of Cablevision’s 3.1 million subscribers probably want to watch the Academy Awards tonight. Somebody’s not going to get what they want. The ABC signal was pulled from Cablevision at midnight, just in time for the Oscars.

The last thing Cablevision subscribers watching a rerun of Lost saw before the screen went dark was this message from Disney:

Cablevision has betrayed you again. First HGTV and Food Network, now you lost ABC-7. Enough is enough! Go to to switch your service now.

Cablevision stopped carrying HGTV and the Food Network for three weeks earlier this year when negotiations with owner Scripps Network over increased per-viewer fees broke down (neither will say who blinked). When they announced their deal, Cablevision said their loss of subscribers over the missing channels was “minimal.”

Disney, which has been renewing their agreement with Cablevision monthly since their last contract ran out two years ago, wants to make sure they take a much harder hit this time. The SaveABC7 site has an alternate service provider finder and a very unfriendly suggestion posted precisely at midnight that Cablevision customers use it

Drop Cablevision — Switch Now

posted by Save Our Shows @ 12:00 AM

Cablevision pocketed almost 8 billion dollars last year. And they’d still rather lose their customers’ favorite channels than pay for them.

This time, they’ve lost ABC7.

Don’t pay for something you don’t get.

Don’t let Cablevision decide what you can watch.

Don’t let Cablevision pick fights that cause you harm.

Don’t let Cablevision hold you hostage.

Cablevision says they can’t afford to pay ABC7. But we can give you almost 8 billion reasons why that is just not true.

Take back your money.

Take back your control.

Take back your ABC7.

Drop Cablevision. Switch now.

Cablevision, for their part, says that Disney is demanding $40 million in new fees on top of the $200 million they’re getting for their pay cable channels (Disney says those aren’t the real numbers). Disney counters that Cablevision’s customers are paying $18 a month to watch content Cablevision is getting for free.

If the $40 million figure for ABC7 is accurate, Disney would be getting slightly over $1/month for each of Cablevision’s subscribers, which is slightly more than Fox was demanding from Time Warner in a similar pissing match over broadcast signal retransmission fees in January. That dispute was settled without the Fox signal being pulled, although nobody’s saying for how much.

Jim Dolan’s Cablevision blames Bob Iger personally. Bob Iger’s Disney blames Jim Dolan personally.

You probably have time to pick up a digital antenna before the Oscars start.