Who's to blame for cable increases? TWC points finger at programmers

Time Warner Cable has taken exception to the Walt Disney Company's assertion that video programming costs are not to blame for rising cable rates. Disney, parent of such network stars and cable staples as ABC and ESPN, submitted a study to the FCC saying that "relatively modest increases" do not "significantly increase" cable rates.

TWC argued that, in essence, that's bunk and Disney is mixing up its numbers. According to Time Warner, it makes sense that higher marginal costs will result in higher overall prices. The MSO pointed to figures that said per-month basic and expanded basic programming costs went up 67.3 percent between 2003 and 2008 while the per-sub price for those services went up 27.5 percent.

And speaking of ABC, the alphabet network is reportedly mulling a low fee/advertiser supported video service that would run on the Internet and cost around $1.99 to $4.99 a month. The deal for consumers would be less commercials and access to the five latest episodes of current shows including the most recent right after it went off the air.

Don't hold your breath--or your finger on the mouse key yet--ABC is just in the process of conducting research because it is "always interested in learning more about how consumers think about content windowing, subscription options and new delivery methods, which may or may not ever come to pass," the network said in a statement.

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