Time Warner to Test Lower Cost Cable Package

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Reacting to a weak economy that is forcing customers to cut back and rising program costs, Time Warner Cable plans next month to test market a new cable TV package that will cost less and offer fewer channels.

TWC chief marketing officer Sam Howe, speaking at a panel hosted by SNL Kagan Thursday, said the TV Essentials package will be offered for $29.95 and $39.95, well below the $50 to $60 most expanded basic packages cost, according to Craig Moffett, analyst at Bernstein Research, who moderated the panel.

ESPN, the most expensive cable channel, will not be a part of the lineup, nor will The Disney Channel. But other channels from Walt Disney Co., Viacom, Time Warner, Discovery and News Corp. will have networks in the new package. Among the Disney channels represented is ESPNews.

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