Cablevision polling customers' programming preferences

In the wake of its nasty little retransmission spat with Disney-ABC, Cablevision Systems is conducting telephone polls to determine what channels its subscribers want to keep and how much they think they're worth.

Pollsters give customers the option to select how much they'd be willing to pay for a broadcast television station--nothing, 50 cents or $1--and if they'd be upset if the broadcast channel went away entirely. The fight over retransmission fees is hitting cable operators throughout the country and didn't play especially well in Peoria where a fight between Mediacom and Sinclair ended up in a one-year agreement.

Having stared down Disney--or, some might say, having been scared by the mouse--Cablevision is getting ready for the next step: setting retransmission fees for Fox. Time Warner Cable has already hammered out a deal with Fox parent News Corp. to pay between 60 cents and $1 a sub.

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