TWC Relaunches Ahead Of Disney Deadline


Time Warner Cable has taken out of mothballs, as the MSO gears up for what could be a bruising publicity battle over retrans and carriage fees with Walt Disney Co. this summer.

The marketing Web site, which the MSO launched last fall leading up to a retrans fight with Fox, does not refer directly to Disney. However, TWC's contract with Disney covering ESPN, ABC and Disney cable networks and some local stations is set to expire at the start of September.

"We're relaunching our Roll Over or Get Tough website today in order
to keep cable customers informed about retransmission consent issues,"
Time Warner Cable director of digital communications Jeff Simmermon
wrote in a
post Tuesday on the operator's official blog
. "We want you to
understand the situation and know what's going on behind the scenes."

Time Warner Cable

TWC also has placed newspaper ads taking aim at Verizon Communications, which last week ran ads in markets including New York City, L.A., Dallas, Tampa, Fla. (a Bright House Networks market), and Syracuse and Buffalo, N.Y., urging cable customers to switch to FiOS TV in order to not miss ABC, ESPN and Disney programming.

"Verizon is using scare tactics to trick Time Warner Cable customers into switching to FiOS," read the ads, in Wednesday editions of The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. A Verizon spokeswoman said the telco is "letting customers know they have an alternative," according to the Wall Street Journal.

The relaunched version of includes TWC's position on retrans issues and carriage deals, as well as a page for visitors to submit comments. The cable operator claims that 40% of cable TV bills go to programmers, while 54% is used "to operate our business" and the remaining 6% amounts to net income.

"Education is the best solution to this problem," Simmermon wrote. "We're confident that once you really understand how this business works and see what's at stake, you'll understand our point of view."