Time Warner-Disney dispute at truce level, but not settled

OK, so the fat lady hasn't sung. Despite a hopeful report in the New York Post, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) and Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) are still at loggerheads over a number of retransmission issues--not the least of which is how and what content is carried over the Web. Nevertheless, as Thursday's deadline looms, there is every hope among industry watchers that things will settle out.

As evidence that things have cooled down, the two sides have reportedly pulled their nasty ad campaigns aimed at besmirching each other's reputations for subscribers. As additional evidence, the two companies have issued reports on their websites that they have made "significant progress" in negotiations and "are now focusing all our attention on a successful conclusion of these efforts prior to the September 2 deadline."

While that nastiness winds down, Time Warner Cable has stirred the pot in yet another area by doubling the fee for keeping an unlisted phone number to $1.99 a month. That means, in addition to paying for phone service, you can pay another $24 a year to make sure people don't know you have a phone number.

A TWC spokesman, confronted with the increase by the Los Angeles Times, said it was "an administrative fee" that is "consistent with our competitors in this space." Again, according to The Times, Verizon charges $1.75 a month and AT&T charges $1.25 to not tell people you have a phone number.

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