Millions of New York-area cable subscribers faced the prospect of Oscar night without the Academy Awards broadcast today after ABC's parent company switched off its signal to Cablevision customers over a dispute in fees. "Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year, and now customers aren't getting what they pay for ... again," says a Disney spokeswoman. Cablevision counters: "It is now painfully clear to millions that Disney CEO Bob Iger will hold his own ABC viewers hostage in order to extract $40 million in new fees from Cablevision."
Cablevision has argued that Disney is seeking an additional $40 million a year in new fees, even though the company pays more than $200 million a year to Disney. Disney counters by arguing that Cablevision charges customers $18 per month for basic broadcast signals but does not pass on any payment for ABC to Disney. It's worth noting that the signal can still be pulled from the air for free with an antenna and a new TV or digital converter box.