Disney, Cablevision Reach Agreement at Start of Oscars

By Andrew Gauthier 


As suspense built in Los Angeles over who would win Oscars at Sunday’s ceremony, Cablevision costumers in New York grew anxious over whether or not they would be able to watch the awards show on TV.

Disney raised the stakes in its ongoing retrans dispute with Cablevision on Saturday when it pulled WABC off the air at midnight. On Sunday, Cablevision customers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut wondered how they would watch the Oscars, while Disney and Cablevision both tried to sway public opinion in their favor. Cablevision ran a message to its customers saying simply “Pulling WABC-7 off Cablevision was wrong” and offered free on-demand movies to make up for the lapse in broadcast. Disney and WABC countered Cablevision by urging its costumers to switch cable providers.


The two parties finally reached a tentative agreement on Sunday evening and WABC went back on the air at 8:44pm EST.

While details of the agreement have not been made public, it is likely that Disney and Cablevision arrived at a per customer monthly cost between 25 and 75 cents. The main sticking point of the negotiations was the per customer cost, where Disney was reportedly expecting to receive 60 cents and Cablevision had been offering 25.

As the Oscar telecast went back on the air for Cablevision’s 3.1 million subscribers in the area, the company released a statement saying, “We are very grateful to our customers for their support and pleased to welcome ABC back.”