Advanced Television

Verizon, Disney agree retrans deal

January 2, 2019

By Colin Mann

The Walt Disney Company and Verizon Communications have agreed a new distribution deal, which has averted a potential blackout of Disney-owned channels on Verizon Fios television systems.

Resolution of the dispute on the morning of Sunday  December 30th came hours before the New Year’s Eve deadline, without which subscribers would have missed out on college bowl games, and customers in New York and Philadelphia seen their local ABC station disappear from their pay-TV package line-ups.

“Verizon and the Walt Disney Company have reached a broad-based distribution agreement. Details will be released in the coming days,” the pair said in a jointly-worded statement.

Verizon contended that Disney wanted the telco to “pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for its programming, despite the fact that many of its key networks are experiencing declining viewership”.

According to Verizon, the rising cost of programming is the biggest factor in higher TV bills, suggesting it was standing up to networks such as Disney, refusing to accept these “huge” increases.

For its part, Disney claimed its “proven history” of providing extraordinary value to consumers and distributors was unmatched. “Our negotiations continue in earnest and we remain optimistic that we can reach a deal,” it said.

Verizon has some 4.5 million Fios video subscribers in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Providence, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Verizon also has 6 million Fios Internet connections and an additional 945,000 high-speed Internet connections.

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