Time Warner: "Significant Progress" Toward Disney Deal - Broadcasting & Cable

Time Warner: "Significant Progress" Toward Disney Deal

Source: Major issues have been resolved
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There
were signs late Sunday that Time Warner and Disney were making progress toward
resolution of their heated carriage negotiations over cable channels and TV
stations.

That is
according to a statement that was posted to the Web sites that each company set
up to keep customers apprised of the situation and to lobby for their
respective sides (http://www.ihavechoices.com/
and http://www.rolloverorgettough.com/)

"The
Walt Disney Company and Time Warner Cable have made significant progress in our
negotiations for continued distribution of ABC, Disney and ESPN networks and
services," said the statement. "We are now focusing all our attention
on a successful conclusion of these efforts prior to the Sept. 2
deadline."

"The
major issues have been resolved," said a source familiar with Time
Warner's side of the negotiations who asked to speak on background.

Time
Warner is negotiating renewed carriage of Disney cable nets (prominently ESPN
and Disney Channel) and several station retrans deals, including in the
top two markets--New York and Los Angeles. The price of Disney Channel was said
to be one of the sticking points.

Meanwhile,
a spokesperson from Hallmark Channel said late Sunday there was "no
news" to report on the carriage impasse with AT&T's U-verse over its
carriage of the Hallmark movie channels. The deadline for that deal is Aug. 31.

According
to Hallmark, AT&T has advised its customers that it may be dropping the
channels Aug. 31. Hallmark says it is willing to grant an extension so the
channels remain on U-verse beyond the Aug. 31 date.

An FCC
source confirmed last week that the commission is "being kept
informed" about carriage negotiations between the two as the clock ticks
down to a Sept. 2 deadline. Time Warner was one of the lead companies on a
petition to the FCC to step in and "fix" the retransmission consent
process, including preventing TV stations from taking down their signals
during retrans impasses after their carriage contracts expire but before
deals have been struck.

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