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The Walt Disney Company and DISH Network Corporation have announced a long-term, wide-ranging distribution agreement that will provide DISH customers with access to Disney’s line-up of top quality sports, news and entertainment content across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices. The deal also brings to an end a long-running legal battle over the use of AutoHop ad-skipping technology.
The renewal agreement supports the companies’ mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms by strengthening the value of the multichannel video subscription today and by creating the opportunity for DISH to deliver new services in the future.
The extensive and expanded distribution agreement grants DISH rights to stream cleared linear and video-on-demand content from the ABC-owned broadcast stations, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2, as part of an Internet-delivered, IP-based multichannel offering.
Additionally, for the first time, DISH customers will be able to access Disney’s authenticated live and video-on-demand products, including Watch ESPN, WATCH Disney, WATCH ABC Family and WATCH ABC using Internet devices in the home and on the go.
The agreement will result in dismissal of all pending litigation between the two companies, including disputes over PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop. As part of the accord, DISH will disable AutoHop functionality for ABC content within the C3 ratings window. The deal also provides a structure for other advertising models as the market evolves, including dynamic ad insertion, advertising on mobile devices and extended advertising measurement periods.
“The creation of this agreement has really been about predicting the future of television with a visionary and forward-leaning partner,” said Joseph P. Clayton, DISH Chief Executive Officer and President. “Not only will the exceptional Disney, ABC, ESPN entertainment portfolio continue to delight our customers today, but we have a model from which to deliver exciting new services tomorrow.”
Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, and President, Disney/ABC Television Group, said: “We knew early on we had a responsibility with this deal to not only do what was best for our business, but to also position our industry for future growth. After months of hard work and out-of-the box thinking on both sides, led by Bob Iger and Charlie Ergen, this agreement, one of the most complex and comprehensive we’ve ever undertaken, achieves just that. Not only were innovative business solutions reached on complicated current issues, we also planned for the evolution of our industry.”
John Skipper, President, ESPN and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, said the broadcaster worked with DISH to address smartly the future of the multi-screen world on several levels. “Together, we are adding value to the traditional video subscription by making great content accessible across platforms and delivering new products, including our WatchESPN authenticated networks, the highly anticipated launch of the SEC ESPN Network, expanded distribution for Longhorn Network, and a reimagined ESPN Classic video-on-demand channel. At the same time, we are creating opportunities to add new subscribers and introducing the value of a multichannel subscription to a small subset of broadband-only consumers.”
“This agreement allows us to bring more innovation to the customer experience, including new marketing, packaging and delivery options,” said Dave Shull, DISH Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “This paves the way for more customer choice and control over the viewing experience.”
DISH will make available Disney Junior, Fusion, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, as well as Longhorn Network and the upcoming SEC ESPN Network upon its launch. In addition, DISH, ESPN and ESPN Deportes customers will have access to the live and video-on-demand channel ESPN3.
As part of the agreement, DISH will launch ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Disney Channel and ABC Family in high definition. ESPN Classic will be reintroduced as a video-on-demand channel.
The extensive and expanded rights package gives DISH customers access to video-on-demand content at home, on computers and on-the-go through the DISH Anywhere app for tablets and smartphones, including:
The companies also renewed carriage agreement for ABC’s eight owned local stations, including WABC-TV in New York City, KABC-TV in Los Angeles, WLS-TV in Chicago, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, KGO-TV in San Francisco, WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, KTRK-TV in Houston, and KFSN-TV in Fresno.