Disney is starting off the new year right, resolving several carriage issues it had with Comcast and Cable One cable companies. The disagreements were over costs associated with carrying Disney programming and retransmission consent.
Dragging on the longest were the Comcast negotiations. For months, the third-largest cable company and Disney wrangled over which of Disney's cable networks Comcast would carry. The new distribution agreement in principle includes several networks, including four ESPN networks, the Disney Channel and SoapNet. The two companies have also included retransmission for Disney's six ABC stations in Comcast markets including Philadelphia; northern New Jersey; Los Angeles; Chicago; Toledo, Ohio; and Flint, Mich., where subscribers totaling three million subscribers.
Cable One reached an agreement with Disney in the nick of time. The cable company was set to drop Disney from some Ohio and Mississippi markets Jan. 1 because of what it considered to be hefty licensing fees. Cable One had asked Disney to reduce the fees. Disney said no but may have changed its mind - the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cable One media spokespeople were not available for comment.
Had Disney and the two cable companies not reached an accord, subscribers in those areas could have seen ABC stations and Disney channels go dark.