Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today announced a comprehensive distribution agreement to deliver Disney’s robust lineup of top quality sports, news and entertainment content to Cablevision TV customers across television, internet, tablets and handheld devices. The new agreement enhances the multichannel business model and supports the companies’ mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms.
As part of the new multi-year agreement, Cablevision will launch several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products, ESPN3 and ESPN 3D, as well as the upcoming ABC News/Univision Joint Venture, a 24/7 news, information and lifestyle multi-platform network for English-dominant and bilingual Hispanics, the youngest and fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. In total, approximately 70 services are covered by the broad scope of this agreement including: ABC, ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN 3D, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FullCourt, ESPN3 and Longhorn Network; retransmission consent for WABC-TV and WPVI-TV, as well as more than 10 high-definition networks.
Cablevision customers will receive broad access to existing authenticated products like WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD and WATCH Disney Junior, the to-be-launched WATCH ABC and WATCH ABC Family services and WatchESPN (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater). These products will give Cablevision customers more opportunities to access live and video on demand content, both in-home and out-of-home, on their computers, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.
Cablevision will also provide its TV customers with broad access to expanded On Demand content through Disney’s comprehensive TV+ initiative.
“This significant agreement ensures that our customers will continue to have access to dozens of ABC, Disney and ESPN networks for years to come and, for the first time, they will be able to enjoy Disney and ESPN programming outside the home,” said James L. Dolan, Cablevision’s president and CEO. “It includes the launch of new services, like ESPN3, and expanded availability of high-quality On Demand content, which is a key element of our video strategy and value proposition to customers.”
“With our robust and ever-growing multi-platform content offerings, we’re pleased to be able to expand our relationship with Cablevision,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group. “We look forward to working together to deliver our viewers and their customers better access to our broad portfolio of high-quality programming.”
Added John Skipper, President, ESPN, Inc., “Working with Cablevision, we’re able to strengthen the value of the multichannel subscription by delivering 24/7 live access to our content, which is at the core of our collective commitment to sports fans.”
The extensive and expanded rights package for Cablevision TV customers includes rights across multiple platforms for:
- ABC On Demand, ABC’s fast-forward-disabled On Demand service, which currently features a selection of top-rated primetime entertainment programming, including episodes of such popular current ABC shows as “Castle,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Once Upon A Time,” “Private Practice” and “Revenge.” Full current seasons will be made available on a number of shows. Additionally, Cablevision customers will have access to a variety of ABC News programming as well as some local ABC owned-station content.
- ABC Family On Demand, which features a variety of top-rated full episodes, refreshed monthly, from such popular millennial favorites as “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Switched at Birth,” Baby Daddy” and “Melissa & Joey.” Full current seasons will be made available on a number of shows. ABC Family original movies like “12 Dates of Christmas” will also be available.
- Disney-branded On Demand offerings, including Disney Channel On Demand, Disney Junior On Demand, and Disney XD On Demand. Refreshed each month, the Disney Channel On Demand offering will include episodes from such series as “Handy Manny,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” for preschoolers, as well as variety of episodes from “A.N.T. Farm,” “Good Luck Charlie,” “Jessie,” and other popular series for older kids. Select episodes featured on Disney Channel On Demand will be available in innovative new offerings, such as playlists and monthly programming blocks, in addition to a number of episodes available in multiple languages. A variety of Disney Channel Original Movies will also be available. Disney XD On Demand features a selection of episodes from such series as the Emmy Award-winning animated hit “Phineas and Ferb,” “Pair of Kings” and “Kickin’ It.”
- Expanded on demand content from ESPN, including content from ESPN Deportes and ESPN’s award-winning original content from ESPN Films.
- The subscription On Demand service “Disney Family Movies,” which features a selection of classic and contemporary feature films and animated shorts from The Walt Disney Studios.
In Beta Research Corp.’s 2009 Cable Operator Study, ESPN, ESPN2 and Disney Channel again ranked first, second and third in the key category of average perceived value. This is the 10th consecutive year that cable operators have ranked ESPN the most valuable network on their cable system. ESPN2 and the Disney Channel have held the second and third most valuable spots for five consecutive years.
“The fact that our portfolio of networks - ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel and ABC Family – occupy the top spots in the minds of our affiliates speak volumes about the products and our team,” said David Preschlack, executive vice president, Disney and ESPN Media Networks. “And ESPN has been the network that drives affiliate’s efforts for a decade, which is a huge milestone for us. We never take these results for granted and we will continue to work, day in and day out, to serve fans and to find new and innovative ways to deliver and drive value for our affiliates.”
Cable operators rate ESPN and Disney Channel number one and two, respectively, in nearly every categories:
- ESPN and ESPN2, followed by Disney Channel, rate highest in perceived value among networks
- For the sixth consecutive year, operators considered ESPN the most important network in their cable system. Disney Channel ranked second.
- ESPN was on top in terms of most helpful in driving VOD or SVOD efforts, with Disney Channel ranked number two and ABC Family ranked #4 (tied).
- ESPN also ranked number one in best overall marketing services. Disney Channel and ABC Family ranked third and fourth (tied), respectively.
- ESPN was also rated as most effective network in selling broadband or interactive television services; followed by ABC Family in the number two position.
As a basic network organization, the Disney and ESPN Media Networks also ranked first in many categories including:
- Providing best overall marketing services;
- Most effective in selling broadband/high-speed internet, HDTV, and/or VOD
- Most visited affiliate web site;
The telephone survey was conducted in August – November 2009 among general managers and/or marketing directors and VPs of individual cable systems. The study determines perceived value of networks to cable systems; importance of networks to cable systems; unaided mentions for networks’ levels of marketing support, broadband, iTV, HDTV and VOD efforts.