BETHPAGE, N.Y., March 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC) today said it would agree to government calls for binding arbitration with ABC Disney in order to immediately return ABC to Cablevision customers. ABC Disney pulled ABC off Cablevision last night at midnight as negotiations continued on a new agreement, removing the channel from more than 3 million New York area homes.
Earlier today, U.S. Senator John Kerry and other leading officials urged ABC Disney to restore ABC to Cablevision customers and suggested arbitration to resolve the dispute.
Charles Schueler, Cablevision's executive vice president of communications, said:
"We remain deeply disappointed that ABC Disney has put their own financial interests above their viewers and pulled the plug on ABC. Given the extraordinary public interest in this matter, Senator Kerry and other public officials have suggested that arbitration is appropriate in this highly unusual situation. Thus, Cablevision will agree to binding arbitration and calls upon Disney CEO Bob Iger to immediately return ABC to New York area viewers, and join us in binding arbitration to resolve this matter fairly. We have communicated our position to the highest levels of the FCC and urged the agency to appropriately involve itself in this process."
Cablevision has been able to reach agreement with every other major broadcaster in New York, and has proposed to ABC Disney terms for ABC that are as good or better than the terms in all these agreements. Over the last few days, more than 70 elected officials at the federal, state and local level called on ABC Disney to keep ABC on Cablevision while the companies worked in good faith to reach a fair agreement.
Cablevision customers interested in current information on the ABC Disney matter can visit http://www.cablevision.com/abc.
Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the nation's leading telecommunications, media and entertainment companies. In addition to its Optimum-branded cable, Internet, and voice offerings, the company owns and operates News 12 Networks, MSG Varsity and Newsday Media Group. Cablevision's assets also include Rainbow Media Holdings LLC and its programming and entertainment businesses, AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and IFC Entertainment, as well as Clearview Cinemas. Additional information about Cablevision is available on the Web at www.cablevision.com.
SOURCE Cablevision Systems Corporation