Comcast has agreed to carry a variety of channels distributed by The Walt Disney Company for the next 10 years. The agreement includes Disney’s 10 ABC network owned & operated broadcast TV stations as well as the Disney Channel, ABC Family, Toon Disney, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN HD and SOAPnet (which it already carries to a limited extent).
Robert A. Iger, president and CEO of Walt Disney, called the agreement “one of the broadest distribution agreements in the history of our company.”
As part of the far-reaching agreement, Comcast has acquired Walt Disney’s 39.5 percent stake in E! Networks, making Comcast the sole owner, for $1.23 billion.
Comcast is one of the country’s leading cable and related services provider, with 24.1 million cable customers, 11 million high-speed Internet customers and 2.1 million voice customers.
In a joint announcement, the companies have agreed to add primetime TV programs, cable network shows and Disney movies to Comcast’s signature ON DEMAND service.
The new deal means that for the first time ABC broadcast programs will now be available on demand from a cable company. Also, Comcast in a number of ABC-owned TV station markets will offer several ABC primetime series free. The companies have agreed to work together to make promotional content from the Disney-ABC Television Group available on Comcast’s broadband portal, www.comcast.net.