Prediction: If Discovery and Comcast butt heads this summer when it’s time to renew their programming carriage deal, the folks at the cable networks company will point to their success in reaching agreements with other distributors — including the one they announced today with Cablevision Systems.
The release is short on specifics but touches all of the usual bases for these deals: It’s a “long-term” and “multi-platform” agreement that “incorporates TV Everywhere rights through subscriber authentication.” It covers 13 U.S. channels including Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, American Heroes Channel and Velocity.
“Investing in world-class content that satisfies viewers’ curiosity has always been Discovery’s top priority,” says Eric Phillips, who’s president of Domestic Distribution for Discovery Communications. “This renewed agreement speaks to the value of that investment, as well as the track record of success and continued strength of Discovery’s brands.”
While the renewal was widely expected, it might stand out later: Discovery and Comcast have engaged in a war of words over the operator’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable. For example, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in November that Comcast’s high broadband market share in 17 of the top 20 markets “raises real issues that all of us are looking at in the business. … All of the content players as well as the broadband players should be looking at this very carefully.” In September, Comcast called Discovery “a poster child for some of the inappropriate complaints” saying that it engaged in “extortion” by demanding network carriage and contract concessions in exchange for supporting the deal.
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