Disney has been driving on thin, black ice lately when it comes to their ABC affiliates and their advertisers.
Two separate events are threatening the financial stability of the ABC network’s affiliate stations, most notably throughout the southern region of the United States.
The affiliates are noticeably upset over recent moves by Disney-owned ESPN taking several sporting events away from the affiliates, most notably several NASCAR events. It’s believed that ESPN, which has been producing all sports for the ABC network since 2006, is being handed carte blanche from the parent corporation in terms of which events it can air exclusively because it helps justifies the already industry-high retransmission fees from cable operators. The affiliates fear a significant loss in programming and local ad revenue as a result.
Meanwhile, ad revenue for the same ABC affiliates will be falling as 22Squared, an ad agency representing 173 auto dealerships in the southeast, has announced it will be pulling advertising from local ABC networks. The move was made in response to ‘excessive stories on the Toyota issues [regarding a known issue with the accelerator sticking].’