DirecTV threatens to boot ABC Family

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As The Walt Disney Co. and DirecTV Inc. haggle over subscriber fees for ABC Family,
DirecTV is threatening to pull the channel off its system March 31, when the
current carriage deal expires.

Disney is looking for a 35 percent increase over last year's license fee,
DirecTV senior vice president of program acquisitions Michael Thornton said.

In 2002, ABC Family's average license fee was about 17 cents, according to
Kagan World Media estimates.

DirecTV started running a periodic crawl late last week on ABC Family warning
customers that without a new deal, the channel will go dark March 31.

A Disney spokesperson said the company was "surprised and disappointed" by
DirecTV's threats "at this early stage of our negotiations," and talks
will continue.

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