Sarlo To Cablevision & Disney: Don’t Make Customers A Negotiations Ploy

WOOD-RIDGE – Senator Paul Sarlo today called on the heads of Cablevision and Disney to keep consumers out of the ongoing negotiations regarding the carriage of WABC-TV over the cable company’s transmission lines.

The two corporations currently are renegotiating their three-year retransmission consent agreement that allows Cablevision to provide its customers with programming from WABC-TV, which is owned by Disney. However, due to a standstill, Disney is threatening to blackout its signal on March 7 – the night of the Academy Awards.

“You owe it to your consumers not to treat them as pawns in these discussions,” Sarlo (D-Bergen) wrote in a letter to the heads of both corporations. “I view this as a basic tenet of operating in the public interest. I urge you to continue negotiations without depriving cable television customers in this market of their ability to view WABC-TV.”

This is not the first time Sarlo has taken the side of North Jersey’s cable television customers. In 2001, he took on Cablevision and the YES Network over their stalled negotiations that threatened to deprive Yankees’ fans the ability to watch the team on its flagship network.

“It is irresponsible for corporations to allow private business discussions to become open threats against innocent consumers,” said Sarlo. “Cablevision and Disney should resolve their disagreement in their board rooms, not in living rooms across North Jersey. The last thing these companies should want is a nomination for Worst Corporate Actors in a Contract Dispute.”