Disney, Comcast deal expands live programming to mobile devices
Comcast and The Walt Disney Company have signed a new 10-year distribution agreement enabling the cable provider to offer its Xfinity TV subscribers live and on-demand Disney, ABC and ESPN programming across multiple screens, including mobile devices.
The Comcast/Disney deal encompasses 70 services in all, with license fee schedules phased in over time. In addition to multiple ESPN and ABC properties including ESPN3, ESPN FullCourt and ESPN GamePlan, Comcast lands retransmission rights to seven ABC-owned broadcast television stations, including WABC-TV New York, WLS-TV Chicago and KGO-TV San Francisco, as well as more than 10 high-definition networks. Comcast also will launch Disney Junior, a new 24-hour basic channel for preschool-age children, parents and caregivers.
Comcast and Disney will leverage cloud streaming and other technologies to deliver content across multiple screens and platforms. Xfinity TV customers will receive access to existing authenticated products like WatchESPN, as well as upcoming services including WatchDisneyChannel, WatchDisneyXD and WatchDisneyJunior. Comcast will offer content both in-home and out-of-home across devices including smartphones, tablets, desktops and gaming consoles.
Analysts tell The New York Times that the deal represents hundreds of millions in new revenues for Disney, adding that the entertainment giant did not need to make such an enormous deal. The only agreements facing imminent expiration involved a group of cable networks anchored by Disney Channel--ESPN's existing contract with Comcast continued through next year, with ABC's deal in place until the year after that. The new contract grants Disney new leverage over Comcast, because all deals will now expire at once.
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