PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The nation's third-largest cable TV operator and The Walt Disney Co. on Friday resolved a dispute that threatened to take ABC off cable for millions of viewers.
Under the agreement, Comcast Cable Communications Inc. will continue to carry ESPN and other Disney programming as well as six Disney-owned ABC-affiliated stations in Comcast's cable markets.
Philadelphia-based Comcast and Disney had wrangled for a year over how Comcast should compensate Disney for being allowed to carry the ABC stations.
The deadlock was similar to a New York-area dispute that saw 3.5 million customers of the No. 2 cable company, Time Warner Inc., lose their ABC stations for two days in May.
The parties had until Sunday to arrive at a final offer to keep ABC on Comcast systems in Philadelphia; New York's northern New Jersey suburbs; Los Angeles; Chicago; Toledo, Ohio; and Flint, Mich.
Without an agreement, about 3 million Comcast subscribers, 1.5 million of them in the Philadelphia area, would have had to use antennas to pull in ABC programs like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," "Good Morning America" or "Jeopardy."
The stakes were high for both sides, with Comcast needing to offer customers the local ABC stations to meet federal "must carry" regulations and ABC having millions of additional viewers and the advertising revenue at stake.
On the Net:
The Walt Disney Co. http://disney.go.com/investors/index.html
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