Disney Offers Extension

Stamford, Conn.-The Walt Disney Co. last week offered to extend retransmission consent to Time Warner Cable until May 24, the end of the May sweep period, according to officials.

At press time last Thursday, the MSO was "considering" whether or not it should accept the extension for Disney's ABC Inc.-owned TV stations, Time Warner spokesman Mike Luftman said.

Also last week, Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. granted Time Warner a 60-day retransmission-consent extension for its stations.

Time Warner's prior retransmission-consent extensions with Disney and Hearst were slated to expire at 12:01 a.m. May 1 and 12:01 a.m. May 2, respectively.

Earlier last week, Time Warner unsuccessfully asked Disney and Hearst for eight-month-long retransmission-consent extensions. The two broadcasters declined to give Time Warner long-term extensions through the end of the year, instead proffering the short-term extensions that will take both of them though the important May sweep.

If Disney and Hearst pulled their signals off Time Warner next week, it would most certainly result in their ratings dropping during that crucial period, which determines what rates TV stations can charge for advertising.

Time Warner's dispute with Disney covers markets such as New York; Houston; Raleigh, N.C.; Los Angeles and Fresno, Calif.; and Toledo, Ohio, totaling 3.5 million households.