Information whispered earlier in the week to the New York Post about a carriage agreement between Walt Disney Company programming offerings and Time Warner Cable did not pan out – but the two media giants managed to come to terms less than 24 hours past the expiration of the previous contract with no disruption of service.
The prior carriage agreement expired as of 9/2/10 just after midnight. But the two sides agreed to carry on without brinksmanship tactics, such as Disney cutting off access to its programming to TW’s subscribers.
Disney has both ABC O&O broadcast television stations and high-value basic cable offerings such as ESPN.
As negotiations dragged on past the weekend, both sides called of their PR machinery dogs, putting an end to a battle for the hearts and minds of consumers in which each blamed the other for high prices and a possible blackout of Disney programming.
The two sides collaborated on a press release detailing aspects of the agreement. It is available on this website here:
RBR-TVBR observation: Just as is almost always the case with negotiations between MVPDs and program sources, whether they are delivered over-air broadcast or via satellite — and this one is both – this was resolved because the two sides need one another. TW and Disney may be on to something, though, when they try to up the level of diplomacy.
Every time negotiations get testy, it provides an opportunity for politicians and regulators of all stripes to get on their high horses and demand that the needs of subscribers be put above the greed of huge corporations, and threatening new levels of regulation to make it so.
Keeping negotiations as quiet and cordial as possible, at least on the surface, will go a long way toward keeping the threats of government intervention into this free market negotiation to a minimum.