The deal came hours after the companies’ previous carriage agreement expired at midnight and days after the two sides announced they had made “significant progress.” The new pact includes carriage of Disney’s new Disney Jr. cable channel, which will replace SoapNet, and of Internet-based network ESPN3.com. Additionally, I hear the deal calls for retransmission consent fees for the 4 ABC O&O stations on TWC systems and fee increases for the existing Disney cable networks covered by the agreement. The new pact also includes expanded VOD services for TWC subscribers but they are not exclusive to the cable company. Here is the joint Disney/TWC release:
September 2, 2010 — BURBANK and NEW YORK— Disney/ABC Television Group, ESPN and Time Warner Cable today entered into a long-term, wide-ranging agreement that will provide Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks cable customers the programming of ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes and SOAPnet, as well as WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WTVD in Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville, WTVG in Toledo, and associated HD cable networks. Subscribers will also have unprecedented digital access to online content and expanded Video On Demand services.
This extensive and expanded rights package, Disney Media Network’s most expansive content agreement to date, provides for:
v The recently announced Disney Junior, a new 24-hour basic channel for preschool-age children, parents and caregivers. Available to Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks cable customers upon its debut in 2012, the new channel will feature animated and live action programming which blends Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and beloved characters with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles and social skills.
v The addition of ESPN3.com, ESPN’s live sports broadband network, which will be available to all Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks subscribers who get ESPN. ESPN3.com gives Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,500 live, global sports events annually as part of TV Everywhere. This addition also gives Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks the right to feature cleared content from ESPN3.com on its sports tier.
v Access to a new authenticated service, which will give Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks subscribers the opportunity to watch the linear networks ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU through their broadband services, as well as mobile Internet devices like an iPad. Details on the launch will be forthcoming.
v A new service, developed with Time Warner Cable, called ESPN Goal Line, a super-highlight channel that will be available only to Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks sports tier subscribers as early as September 4. ESPN Goal Line will take fans around the best matchups each Saturday during the NCAA football season. The once-a-week network will include live look-ins to game action, focusing on scoring drives and up-to-the minute commentary from analysts and experts. A similar service called ESPN Buzzer Beater will be available for the college basketball season.
v Expanded VOD services in many markets will include:
- ABC On Demand, ABC’s fast forward-disabled VOD service which currently features a selection of primetime programming, including episodes of such popular ABC shows as “Castle,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice” and “Desperate Housewives.” Anticipated newcomers include “No Ordinary Family” and “My Generation.” Additionally, episodes of ABC News’ “Good Morning America” are available each week.
- Disney-branded On Demand offerings for kids, including Disney Channel On Demand and Disney XD On Demand. Refreshed each month, the Disney Channel VOD offering will include episodes from such series as “Handy Manny,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Special Agent Oso” for preschoolers, as well as variety of episodes from “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Hannah Montana,” “The Suite Life on Deck,” “Good Luck Charlie” and other popular series for older kids. Select episodes featured on Disney Channel On Demand will be available in multiple languages. Disney XD On Demand features a variety of episodes from such series as the Emmy Award-winning animated hit “Phineas and Ferb” and “Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil,” as well as the upcoming sitcom “Pair of Kings.”
- Locally relevant sports content from ESPN in several Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks markets, including Los Angeles, New York, North and South Carolina, Tampa, Orlando, Texas and Ohio.
- The subscription VOD service “Disney Family Movies” which features a selection of classic and contemporary films and animated shorts from The Walt Disney Studios.
- A new transactional VOD service for select content from the Disney/ABC Television Group.
v Inclusion of a variety of content from across the Disney Media Networks’ portfolio on Time Warner Cable’s and Bright House Networks Start Over and Look Back features.
v The addition of ESPN Deportes HD to Time Warner Cable’s larger footprint.
v The launch of ESPN 3D to Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks’ systems.
v A Time Warner Cable/ESPN Deportes co-branded, Spanish language sports website in Los Angeles.
v Availability of ESPN Radio feeds in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas to Time Warner Cable’s video platform.
v A plethora of ESPN-branded content made available on Time Warner Cable’s and Bright House Networks’ sports tier.
Co-chairs of Disney Media Networks George Bodenheimer and Anne Sweeney also commented on the announcement, stating: “The successful conclusion of this wide-ranging deal demonstrates our commitment to our distribution partners and our ability to work with them to provide consumers with an unmatched portfolio of national and local entertainment, news and sports content while continuing to strengthen both of our businesses.”
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement without any interruption in service,” said Glenn Britt, Time Warner Cable’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We thank our customers for their support, and we look forward to launching these new and innovative products and services.”
“We’re pleased that an agreement has been reached with no disruption in programming for our customers,” said Steve Miron, Chief Executive Officer, Bright House Networks.
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