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Disney closing in on cable deal

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SCOTT JAGOW: Cable companies pay billions of dollars for the right to air popular channels like ESPN. ESPN's owner, Disney, has been negotiating with the two biggest cable operators for three years now. We're hearing the two sides are finally close to an agreement. Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.


JANET BABIN: The Los Angeles Times reports that Disney is closing in on deals with Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The paper reports that Comcast would also buy a stake in E!, the entertainment network.

Even though more people are watching TV shows and videos online, Disney still gets billions of dollars in revenue from its licensing deals with pay-television companies.

But Todd Chanko with Jupiter Research says it's a two way street for content providers like Disney.

TODD CHANKO: "The programming network needs the cable operator as much as the operator needs them because they also have access to selling advertising time. Without the carriage, they're out of luck. They don't get licensing fees and they don't get ad revenue."

Disney is reportedly trying to stretch out the licensing deals. That way, it can count on a steady stream of revenue, no matter how much TV people watch online.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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