Disney, Time Warner talks go into overtime


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 are going out of their ways to continue negotiations with as little acrimony as possible.

The prior carriage agreement expired as of 9/2/10 just after midnight. But the two sides have agreed to carry on with no disruption of service from Disney to TW’s subscribers.

Disney has both ABC O&O broadcast television stations and high-value basic cable offerings such as ESPN.
In addition, they have each 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.

RBR-TVBR observation: As is the case with negotiations between MVPDs and program sources, whether they are delivered over-air broadcast or via satellite, and this one is both – almost always get 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.