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ABC and ESPN Say Don't Feel Stuck with Time Warner Cable, You Have Choices When it Comes to Providers

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The contract between Disney-owned TV networks ABC and ESPN and cable provider Time Warner Cable is set to expire in some markets, including Los Angeles, on September 2nd. What that means is that negotiations are underway, but with the public pulled in.

Both companies have launched websites and marketing campaigns to educate viewers about their side of the issue. Disney's I Have Choices campaign goes for the jugular, pointing out that you don't have to deal with Time Warner Cable. Time Warner on the other hand has its Roll Over or Get Tough website that educates consumers on where money goes when you pay their bill.

Whether it's Time Warner or another company, many customers are exasperated over costly bills because they make you pay for hundreds of channels you'll never watch just to get the one you want. The average customer watches about 17 channels, according to Nielsen.

LA Times columnist David Lazarus says that with competition from the internet, companies are revving up to offer smaller cable packages. But for him, it's not enough.

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"Imagine being forced to subscribe to Field & Stream if you want the New Yorker, or being forced to buy a pair of gabardine trousers if you want blue jeans. No consumer would stand for such treatment," he wrote earlier this month. "So why should cable companies get away with it? So-called a la carte cable pricing is the way of the future, especially in an app-happy, iTunes world where media consumers pick and choose what they want to see and hear. The sooner the cable industry accepts this reality, the sooner it can start genuinely competing for increasingly finicky digital subscribers."