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Time Warner Inks Cable Deal With NBC

TV: The agreement with the network extends retransmission rights through 2008.

May 18, 2000|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Time Warner Inc.'s cable division, fresh from a nasty fight with ABC, has signed an agreement with NBC to carry the network's main feed as well as cable channels CNBC and MSNBC through 2008.

The deal announced Wednesday includes coverage of the Olympic Games, for which NBC has exclusive U.S. broadcast rights through 2008. NBC also plans to offer extended coverage of the Olympics on its cable channels beginning with the Sydney Olympics this fall.

Time Warner Cable spokesman Michael Luftman said NBC asked for, and received, extra compensation for its Olympics coverage, but he declined to say how much Time Warner was paying NBC overall.

Time Warner now has agreements with networks CBS, Fox and NBC--with ABC the notable exception--to rebroadcast TV signals over its cable lines, which reach nearly 13 million homes across the country. Time Warner is the nation's second-largest cable service provider after AT&T.

The issue of retransmission rights came to the fore at the beginning of this month when a corporate spat between Time Warner and Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, erupted into the public arena as the cable provider yanked ABC signals in several major cities, including New York.

Time Warner says Disney is asking too much at the bargaining table, including the transfer of the Disney Channel from premium to basic cable. Disney says it's only seeking fair compensation for its top-rated network, which has enjoyed a jump in ratings thanks to a big push from "Who Want to Be a Millionaire."

The companies are still trying to reach an agreement and have imposed a deadline of July 15.

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