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The Walt Disney Company, owner of the ABC and ESPN networks, and Cox Communications, the third largest U.S. cable company, announced a comprehensive long-term distribution agreement on Thursday in advance of the end of their current contract.
The new deal covers news, sports and entertainment content for television, computers, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.
A total of about 70 services are covered under the new contract including ABC, ABC Family, the Disney Channel, ESPN (and related channels), the Longhorn Network and 10 high-definition channels.
For the first time, Cox subscribers will get WatchESPN (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater), which all launch Friday simultaneously with the announcement. Those products will be available not just on cable but also on computers, smart phones, tablets and gaming consoles. By authenticating that they are Cox customers, users will be able to access the channels out of home as well as at home.
ESPNEWS and ESPN Classic will also be added to Cox TV Connect, an app that allows customers to watch live TV on the iPad, iPhone and the IPad Touch anywhere in their homes.
Under the new deal, Cox will also expand its video on demand offerings to include ABC On Demand (primetime programming), ABC Family On Demand (episodes from the cable channel), Disney-branded On Demand offerings like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and other content for kids as well as expanded content from ESPN in both English and Spanish.
“This comprehensive agreement with The Walt Disney Company enhances the value of our customers’ experience with our products and services,” said Mark Greatrex, Cox Communications senior VP, chief marketing and sales officer. “Coupled with our investment in our broadband network and the development of innovative services like Cox TV Connect and TV Online, we’re enabling our customers to access their favorite news, sports and entertainment video content whenever and wherever they want it.”
Added David Preschlack, executive VP, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group, “This deal renewal with Cox marks the fifth agreement encompassing Disney’s full suite of products and services while strengthening the value of the multichannel subscription model. We are serving viewers by delivering 24/7 live access to our content via the WATCH Disney services and WatchESPN across more platforms than ever before, which is quickly becoming the new standard in content delivery.”
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