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Cable One says costs force drop of Disney

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the rest of the gang will soon beleaving the Brookhaven Cable One lineup due to a pricing disputebetween Disney and the cable television company, officialssaid.

In letters to subscribers and a press release this week, CableOne officials announced The Disney Channel likely will be droppedDec. 31. Cable One efforts to keep the channel have beenunsuccessful.

“This is a very difficult programming decision, but we no longercan afford the yearly increases in the total cost of programmingfrom The Disney Channel and keep monthly cable rates as reasonableas we would like for our customers,” said Bobby McCool, Cable Onegeneral manager for the Brookhaven, McComb and Natchez offices.

Costs for Disney and ESPN have gone up 40 percent over the lastthree years, McCool said. Disney provides programming for theDisney Channel, ESPN and ESPN 2.

McCool said ESPN remains a popular channel while ratings forDisney have gone done as a result of its shift in target audience.With more “sophisticated” programming, Disney’s target audience isthe 11-4 age range instead of younger children, he said.

“The ratings have gone down, and the costs have gone drasticallyup,” McCool said, while also mentioning research showing virtuallynone of Cable One’s customers wanting to pay more for Disney.

McCool said there has been no consideration given to droppingthe ESPN channels.

Cable One subscribers are being asked to choose what channelwill replace Disney, McCool said.

In the letter to subscribers, listed choices include Fox NewsChannel, a 24-hour cable news service, and Discovery Kids, whichfeatures educational programming for children ages 7-14.Subscribers may also identify other channels they would like tosee.

McCool said the change will affect all Cable One systems fromMississippi to Arizona. He said the company is keeping dailytallies of the voting, but it was too early to release anytotals.

“It’ll be a corporate decision,” McCool said about which channelwill replace Disney.