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Seibert: Consumers Will Drive Programming Cost Reductions

Consumer reaction could be the biggest catalyst for programming cost reform, Cablevision Systems vice chairman and chief financial officer Gregg Seibert told an investment conference audience Wednesday.

Seibert, speaking at the JP Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference in Boston, said recent initiatives by Sen. John McCain to force ala carte options also could help foster reform.

"I anticipate over time we will hear more from consumers about the increases in programming costs, maybe that will create some degree of recognition from programmers that they are pushing the envelope a little bit too hard here. Maybe then Sen. McCain's and other initiatives in Washington will have more impact."

Seibert did not want to speculate whether regulators would allow operators to further consolidate their operations in an effort to gain greater scale to rein in programming charges. But he noted that even with companies the size of Cablevision, scale matters.

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