It's symmetrically fitting that a week that started out with a story that Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) and Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) had settled their retransmission spat should end with the news that the two have, finally, resolved their differences.
The deal was good news for the 14 million TWC subscribers who didn't lose programming, but hardly anything to celebrate, said Matt Polka, president-CEO of the American Cable Association in a statement. The retransmission process is still broken, he said, and subscribers and small cable operators are still suffering. "Claiming the system works because a deal got done or because no one complained is akin to a con artist saying extortion works because no one called the police," Polka said.
TWC Chairman Glenn Britt had a little different take on the situation, announcing that the two sides "have reached an agreement without an interruption of service," the programmer and service provider continued to talk out their differences in an amicable fashion. In the end, each side gave a bit. TWC reportedly will pay Disney 50 cents a subscriber per month for local ABC owned-and-operated stations and a bit more money for other Disney properties like ABC Family, The Disney Channel and the all-important ESPN.
While on the subject of ESPN, it appears Time Warner won on this point. The cable operator will carry ESPN3.com on its HSD networks to ESPN subs but won't pay a separate fee for the service, as Disney had asked.
The sky doesn't fall: Time Warner Cable, Disney reportedly settle
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