Charter viewers won't have any shortage of TV choices this year -- at least, as long as they like Disney-owned channels. The House of Mouse has signed a deal with Charter to bring its full deck of channels and services to the cable provider in the first half of 2013. The mix includes all national ABC, Disney and ESPN channels as well as their on-demand and authenticated streaming equivalents, such as WatchESPN. The Longhorn Network and local station retransmissions are involved as well. Neither side has mentioned the full terms, although it's cast as a "multi-year" pact; we'll take the uncertainty as long as we get more say in what (and how) we watch.
The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications Announce New Distribution Agreement
Multi-Year Deal Provides Sports, News and Entertainment to Charter Customers In and Out of the Home
Charter to add Full Suite of Authenticated WATCH Services, The Longhorn Network, among others
ST. LOUIS, MO and NEW YORK, NY –– DECEMBER 31, 2012 –– Charter Communications and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today announced a comprehensive long-term distribution agreement to deliver Disney's robust lineup of top quality sports, news and entertainment content to Charter TV customers across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and internet-enabled televisions. The renewal agreement supports the companies' mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms. Launch of content across these new distribution platforms is planned to begin in the first half of 2013.
As part of the new multi-year deal, The Longhorn Network will launch in Texas, Louisiana and Virginia systems by football season next year. Charter and The Walt Disney Company will also introduce several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, 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 Full Court, ESPN3, The Longhorn Network, and retransmission consent for WABC-TV, KABC-TV, WLS-TV, KGO-TV, KTRK-TV, WTVD-TV and KFSN-TV, as well as more than 10 high-definition networks.
Charter 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 Charter 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.
"This agreement enables us to offer our customers additional value, choice and convenience," said Allan Singer, Charter's Senior Vice President, Programming. "More and more content is being enjoyed on tablets and other Internet-connected devices, and today's viewers are sharing their TV experiences in new ways. Our agreement with Disney enables more robust ways to enjoy and socialize TV."
Added David Preschlack, executive vice president, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group, "Our agreement with Charter represents the sixth top ten distributor renewal encompassing Disney's full suite of products and services. With this deal, Charter's video customers will derive even greater benefit from the value of their multichannel subscription model, including 24/7 live access to our content via the WATCH Disney services and WatchESPN across more platforms than ever before, as well as other new and advanced services."
The extensive and expanded rights package for Video On Demand content to Charter TV customers includes:
* 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.
* ABC Family On Demand, which features a variety of top-rated full episodes, refreshed monthly, from such popular millennial favorites as "Switched at Birth," "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," "Baby Daddy," "Bunheads" and "Melissa & Joey." Full current seasons will be made available on a number of shows. ABC Family original movies like "Mistle-Tones" 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 award-winning original content from ESPN Films.