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U.S. cable operator Comcast and The Walt Disney Company have signed a long-term distribution agreement that will deliver Disney’s sports, news and entertainment content to Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers into the next decade on television, online, on tablets and handheld devices. “The new agreement enhances the multichannel business model and supports the companies’ mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms using the latest technology and cloud innovation,” the companies say in a statement.
For the first time ever, Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers will be able to watch ESPN, ABC or Disney shows live or on-demand and across multiple screens. The companies also agreed to collaborate over the term of the deal to create innovative viewing experiences for Xfinity TV customers. The networks and services covered by the agreement include ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD and ESPN among many others, and it covers retransmission consent for seven ABC-owned broadcast television stations including WABC-TV New York and WLS-TV Chicago, plus over 10 high-definition networks.
As part of the deal, Comcast will launch Disney Junior, a new 24-hour basic channel for preschool-age children, parents and caregivers. Comcast will also provide its Xfinity TV customers with broad access to a suite of live Disney networks on an authenticated basis and expanded Xfinity On Demand content through Disney’s TV+ initiative. In total, 70 services are covered by the broad scope of this new agreement.
Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group, says, “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 are able to fully realize our comprehensive TV+ initiative, and introduce a brand new suite of authenticated services to Comcast subscribers.”
George Bodenheimer, Executive Chairman at ESPN, Inc., adds: “Given the scope of assets Comcast and Disney/ABC/ESPN are making available to consumers, this agreement is unprecedented in our industry. It reinforces the value of the multichannel subscription and takes full advantage of new technologies, which serve all of our viewers.”