No more Mickey: Cable One to ditch Disney due to cost

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2000

Cable One customers in Natchez and Vidalia could soon be saying goodbye to Mickey Mouse and hello to the replacement channel of their choice due to rising programming costs.

Cable One announced Wednesday that it will drop the Disney Channel by the end of the year due to a pricing dispute with the Disney Co. Disney also provides ESPN and ESPN2, but Cable One will still air those networks. The cost to air Disney Co. networks has gone up 40 percent in three years, said Manager Bobby McCool.

Cable One tried to ask Disney for lower rates and suggested making Disney a premium service, but the offers were refused, McCool said. But he added that Cable One research has shown that no local customers want to pay extra for Disney.

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Dropping Disney was a &uot;very difficult programming decision,&uot; McCool said. &uot;But we no longer can afford the yearly increases in the total cost of programming … and keep monthly cable rates as reasonable as we would like.&uot;

The good news is that Cable One sent its Miss-Lou customers letters last Friday asking them to vote for the network they would like to replace Disney in the lineup.

&uot;And those will be hand counted – we don’t use machines,&uot;&160;McCool said.

The requests will be sent daily to Cable One’s corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., for verification.

Choices include several children’s networks, such as Discovery Kids, which airs educational programming for children ages 7 to 14.

Other options include the 24-hour Fox News Channel, seen by many as a conservative alternative to other news networks, and Animal Planet, with animal-themed programming and violence-free programs for small children.

&uot;We’ve been getting a lot of requests for those channels,&uot; McCool said.

McCool noted that in the past year, Disney has changed its target audience from younger children to those 11 to 14 years old. &uot;We believe that shift diminishes the impact&uot;&160;of the Cable One’s dropping the Disney Channel,&160;he added.

Cable One has more than 9,000 customers in Adams County and about 1,565 customers in the Vidalia area.