DIRECTV, Walt Disney take multiscreen carriage to new level

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 24 December 2014

The Walt Disney Company and leading US satellite provider DIRECTV have announced a multi-year distribution agreement designed to bolster both firms' multiscreen ambitions.

DisneyIndeed the two firms believe that their renewal agreement strengthens the value of multichannel video subscriptions by offering DIRECTV customers access to Disney's line-up of sports, news, kids and entertainment content across TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and other connected devices.

In detail, DIRECTV customers will be able to access the live linear feeds and video-on-demand content from all ESPN and Disney cable networks and ABC owned and operated TV stations in and out of the home on the authenticated WATCH services. This includes WatchESPN, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD, WATCH Disney Junior, WATCH ABC Family and WATCH ABC through connected devices in early 2015 and soon via the DIRECTV Everywhere app on iOS and Android phones and tablets, and

Other new services to be introduced as part of the deal include Fusion, Longhorn Network, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater. DIRECTV customers will also gain expanded viewing functionality on select content across Disney/ESPN/ABC channels, and will have access to ESPN's live multiscreen sports network, ESPN3, and SEC Network's digital platform, SEC Network +. The companies will also explore new opportunities with respect to potential over-the-top (OTT) offerings.

The expanded rights package also gives DIRECTV customers access to video-on-demand (VOD) content at home and on-the-go through DIRECTV Everywhere on their computers, tablets and smartphones, including ABC On Demand and ABC Family On Demand; Disney-branded on demand offerings, including Disney Channel On Demand, Disney Junior On Demand, and Disney XD On Demand; content from ESPN, including content from ESPN Deportes and ESPN's original content from ESPN Films.

"This new agreement brings DIRECTV's already unmatched content offering and experience to a whole new level. It also allows both companies to evolve together into the future and gives DIRECTV customers a wide range of in-home and out-of-home viewing options to enjoy the broad collection of ESPN, Disney and ABC content," said Dan York, chief content officer at DIRECTV. "It's an immense and exciting undertaking to work together to shape the future of content consumption and the possibilities are endless."

Added David Preschlack, Executive Vice President, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks: "We have a stellar reputation for working in close collaboration with our distribution partners to strengthen the value of the multichannel video subscription. Our new agreement with DIRECTV reinforces that approach and brings to a successful conclusion the renewal over the past several years of deals with each of our top ten affiliates. Not only will DIRECTV customers continue to receive all the great content they currently have, but they will now be able to access it on digital platforms through our authenticated WATCH products as well as receive new services as part of their subscription, including Fusion, Longhorn Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and ESPN3 also on television."