The Wall Street Journal
Walt Disney Co. said it reached a long-term agreement that will provide customers of cable-television providers Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks Inc. with a wide swath of programming from Disney's units.
The companies didn't disclose financial details, but media giants such as Disney have been gaining an increasing share of their revenue from fees paid by cable, satellite and fiber video providers.
The deal—called Disney's most expansive content agreement so far—includes the recently announced Disney Junior, a new 24-hour basic channel for preschool-age children, parents and caregivers that will debut in 2012; ESPN3.com, ESPN's live sports broadband network; a new authenticated service that will let subscribers watch ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU through their broadband services as well as mobile Internet devices; and a new super-highlight channel, developed with Time Warner Cable, called ESPN Goal Line, that will take fans around the best matchups each Saturday during the NCAA football season. A similar service called ESPN Buzzer Beater will be available for the college basketball season.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement without any interruption in service," said Time Warner Cable Chairman and Chief Executive Glenn Britt.
Several cable providers have come to standoffs that threatened their subscribers' access to major events before striking new deals with media companies in the past few years.
Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., was involved in a high-profile war with News Corp. over rights fees that threatened to black out Fox on its systems in January. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.
Then, Disney threatened to pull the signal of its New York ABC affiliate from more than 3 million Cablevision Systems Corp. customers if it didn't receive more compensation. After U.S lawmakers threatened to intervene, the two sides reached an agreement in time for viewers in New York to see ABC's March telecast of the Academy Awards.
Time Warner Cable serves the New York City area, southern California, Texas, Ohio and the Carolinas. Bright House Networks, the ninth-largest U.S. multichannel video programmer distributor, has 2.4 million customers in several large cities, including Tampa Bay and Orlando, Fla.; Indianapolis; Detroit; and Birmingham, Ala.