Disney taps affiliate stations for more cash

Cable operators aren't the only ones coughing up more cash to Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) these days. The broadcast and cable programming provider is also wringing more bucks from its affiliate broadcast stations which, in turn, had wrung more moohlah from their cable carriers.

"We expect to see a portion of (affiliates') retransmission fees," Disney Co-Chief Executive Robert Iger said during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XIX Conference. "We've struck some deals with affiliates to gain access for fees and are in negotiation with others. Retrans payments are real and will grow and there is no incremental cost to get them."

The incremental cost, of course, all falls back on cable subscribers. Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR) has begun adding a $1 surcharge to subscriber bills to reflect the rise in retransmission costs. Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) have both gone through nasty retransmission fights with Disney (which of course also controls ESPN in addition to its ABC broadcast networks) this year.

Next up in the ugly retransmission fight game: Cablevision and Fox parent News Corp.

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