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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 05, 2012

The Walt Disney Company, Comcast Ink Long Term Distribution Agreement across Multiple Channels

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

The Walt Disney (News - Alert) Company and the nation's largest TV signal provider Comcast Corp. have inked a long term distribution agreement that extends into the next decade. Under this deal, Comcast’s (News - Alert) Xfinity TV subscribers have access to top sports channels, news and entertainment content across multiple devices in and out of the home. In fact, the deal gives Xfinity TV customers access to Disney’s sports, news and entertainment content on television, online, on tablets and handheld devices for more than a decade.

Comcast said that the new agreement enhances the company’s multichannel business model. As a result, for the first time ever, Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers will be able to watch ESPN (News - Alert), ABC or Disney shows live or on demand and across multiple screens, stated Comcast. Simultaneously, as part of this deal, the two companies will also work jointly to create new, innovative viewing experiences for Xfinity TV customers.

Precisely, the networks and services covered by this contract include ABC, ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN 3D, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FullCourt and ESPN3, retransmission consent for seven ABC-owned broadcast television stations (WABC-TV New York, WLS-TV Chicago, WPVI-TV Philadelphia, KGO-TV San Francisco, KTRK-TV Houston, KTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, and KFSN-TV Fresno) as well as more than 10 high-definition networks. 

In addition, the TV service provider is also planning to introduce Disney Junior, a new 24-hour basic channel for preschool-age children, parents and caregivers. Other expanded services for Xfinity TV customers include access to a suite of live Disney networks on an authenticated basis and expanded Xfinity On Demand content through Disney’s comprehensive TV+ initiative.  According to Comcast, the new deal with Disney brings some new 70 services to its subscribers.

In a statement, Neil Smit (News - Alert), president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said, “Comcast was the first video provider to create technology that enabled us to deliver content to customers where and when they want it across any viewing experience… We are very pleased to have reached this unprecedented and innovative, long-term agreement with Disney which embraces the future of entertainment and allows Comcast to continue to bring our vision of TV Everywhere to Xfinity customers whether at home or on the go,” added Smit. In another statement, Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of  Disney/ABC Television Group, noted, “This landmark deal is a great example of what can be achieved when programmers and distributors collaborate and innovate together to meet the ever-evolving needs of consumers and enhance the viewing experience. By combining the best news, sports and entertainment content available today with cutting-edge technologies, we’re able to fully realize our comprehensive TV+ initiative, and introduce a brand new suite of authenticated services to Comcast subscribers.”

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Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves