Discovery And Comcast Bury The Hatchet And Agree To Carriage Renewal Terms

This takes at least one of Wall Street’s big concerns about Discovery off the table. The programmer and Comcast say this morning that they’ve reached a “long-term, comprehensive renewal” agreement for the No. 1 cable company to carry Discovery’s 12 U.S. networks.

They didn’t disclose financial terms. But the deal includes TV Everywhere rights so Comcast subscribers can stream the Discovery-owned channels both in and out of home.

Many Discovery watchers wondered whether Comcast might use the contract renewal negotiations to retaliate after CEO David Zaslav sharply challenged the cable company’s effort to buy Time Warner Cable — which it scrapped in April.

Last year he said that “everyone should be concerned” about the creation of a “dominant monopsony power,” and that federal regulators should take time to investigate it “very carefully.” Comcast fired back that Discovery had made “extortionate demands” in return for “Discovery’s non-opposition to the Transaction.”

In February Zaslav said that he was “hopeful that Comcast will negotiate in good faith like all of our other distributors have over the last several years.”

But in May Zaslav told analysts not to worry. The dispute is “all behind us now” and “the goal now is to find a deal that makes sense for both of us.”

He picked up that theme this morning, calling Comcast “a dynamic and innovative company” that “has been a great partner of Discovery’s for over two decades.”

Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit says the renewal “will enable our Xfinity TV customers to experience Discovery’s content in more ways and on more platforms than ever before.”

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