While subscribers have been getting the most attention from both the media and the companies themselves, investors with money in Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and/or Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) are equally nervous about the results of a retransmission staredown between the two.
With a deadline of Sept. 2 looming, TWC subscribers face two unpleasant possibilities: shell out more bucks each month for cable and continue to get the Disney family of channels (including ABC and ESPN) or look to another service provider when Time Warner--or Disney--drops the service.
This is the second time this year Disney has gone to the wire with a cable operator. In March, Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) viewers lost the opening minutes of the Academy Awards as the programmer and operator worked out final details of a retransmission deal.
Depending on how one feels about government intervention, there's another party in this game. The FCC is allegedly in the know about what's going on and has been pounding Disney a bit about the growing influence of ESPN.
Friday fights: Disney, TWC retrans war goes hand-to-hand
Retransmission review at hand, FCC chief says
Cablevision-Disney spat threatens to shut down WABC