Offering cable’s 1st on-the-record take on ABC’s planned streaming experiment, Time Warner Cable’s Fred Dressler sounded less than thrilled. "My reaction is quizzical more than anything," he said during a breakout session at Natl Show in Atlanta. "[They’re] too smart and too thoughtful to just throw something out there without thinking about the impact on distributors." He went on to question why operators would pay cash for carriage of ABC broadcast nets if Disney streams programming for free. Reminding the audience that the ABC streaming plans are a test, ESPN/ABC Sports’ Sean Bratches said it could support cable’s broadband pipe. He called it "additive to the core business." "It’s only additive if cable and DBS continue to pay you" what they’ve been paying you, countered Dressler. Fox Cable’s Lindsay Gardner suggested "distributor brethren" hold their tongues (at least for a few weeks) and view the trial as an opportunity to learn. — Other Takes: Comcast’s Steve Burke hoped the ABC deal would push the network to make its content available for free on VOD. Starz CEO Bob Clasen thinks that Disney is going to have more trouble with its broadcast affiliates in the long-term than with cable. Memo to Barbara York: This was the most entertaining and informative panel at the show. We agree with moderator Discovery’s Bill Goodwyn who said it could (should?) have been a general session.

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