The renewal is a significant one for both media giants and comes at a time of rising tension in the distribution trenches. Cord-cutting has shrunken the footprint of cable networks and systems, but stakeholders continue to depend on the business model of pay-TV despite their inroads in direct-to-consumer streaming.
Covered by the carriage deal are ESPN networks, Disney-branded channels, Freeform, the FX networks, and the National Geographic channels. It also includes the SEC Network and ABC owned TV stations in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno.
The ACC Network will light up on Xfinity in the next few weeks. Disney launched it on the heels of debuting the SEC Network as part of an ongoing effort to leverage the longtime presence of ESPN in college sports.
The agreement follows the launch earlier this year of Disney+ and ESPN+ as integrated offerings on Xfinity.
“We are very pleased to have reached this comprehensive agreement with Disney to continue providing Xfinity customers access to their content across our industry-leading platforms,” said Rebecca Heap, SVP, Consumer Products & Propositions, Comcast Cable.
“We’re very happy to extend our longstanding relationship with Comcast and continue to provide their Xfinity customers with Disney’s best-in-class programming,” said Sean Breen, EVP, Platform Distribution, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.
In a report earlier this fall, research firm MoffettNathanson said the Comcast-Disney distribution deal expired on September 30. The firm noted that the two companies have a complex set of business dealings, including their unwinding relationship through Hulu. In a 2019 deal, Disney took full operational control of the streaming service, which had been a joint venture among several companies. Plans call for Comcast to formally exit Hulu in 2024, receiving the full value of its stake in a booming market for streaming. Speculation has grown around the various strategic alternatives to the 2024 plan and moves each company could make between now and then.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.