Carriage Deals: Disney, NTTC Ink Broad Agreement; ESPN’s SEC Network Picked Up By Comcast, Regionals

The National Telco Television Consortium and The Walt Disney Company today have announced a comprehensive multi-year distribution agreement to deliver Disney’s robust lineup of top quality sports, news and entertainment content to NTTC members’ customers across TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices. The telecommunications consortium serves member systems throughout the United States.

“The entire suite of Disney and ESPN services are a mainstay in our members’ video offerings,” says Kevin Kenworthy, EVP, Programming, National Telco Television Consortium. “With all of the new additions including the highly sought after SEC Network, Longhorn Network, WATCH Services, increased HD and specialty programming like ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater, we are confident that our members are positioned to continue to be highly competitive in their respective markets across the United States.”

Added David Preschlack, EVP, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group: “We continue to work with a variety of distribution partners to deliver quality content and services that add value to the multichannel video subscription.  With this new multi-year renewal deal, not only will the customers of the NTTC member companies be able to access our content anytime, anywhere across any device with our WATCH products, but they will also receive a slate of new services including video-on-demand, Fusion, Longhorn Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and the upcoming, highly-anticipated SEC Network debut on August 14.”

As part of the new multi-year deal, the NTTC will introduce several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products, the upcoming SEC Network, Longhorn Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and video-on-demand products.  Services that will continue to be covered by the broad scope of this agreement include: ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN3 and Fusion.

NTTC members’ customers will receive broad access to existing authenticated products like WATCH ABC authenticated on-demand content, WATCH ABC Family, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney Junior, WATCH Disney XD and WatchESPN (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater) through the networks’ own WATCH sites and apps. These products will give NTTC members’ customers more opportunities to access live and video on demand content, both in-home and out-of-home, on their computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices.

Comcast to Distribute SEC Network to Xfinity TV Customers
ESPN and Comcast Cable have reached an agreement for carriage of the SEC Network, which will begin rolling out across Comcast markets at the start of the SEC college football season.  Comcast subscribers will also have authenticated access to additional live events scheduled for the SEC Network’s and Comcast’s digital platforms – including the Xfinity TV Go app and website, WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com – with the ability to watch SEC Network live and on-demand content anytime, anywhere on their television, computer, tablet or mobile device.  With the addition of Comcast, the SEC Network will be available to 46 million households nationwide.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached this agreement with ESPN to deliver the SEC Network to Xfinity TV customers on multiple platforms,” said Matt Strauss, SVP and GM, Video Services, Comcast Cable.  “Whether in the home or on the go, Xfinity TV customers will be able to watch their favorite Southeastern Conference teams in more ways than ever before.”

Added Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks SVP, affiliate sales, “We are pleased to announce Comcast as our latest distributor for the SEC Network, which continues to attract great demand from consumers across the country and adds significant value for our affiliates leading up to the national network’s launch next month.”

The SEC Network and its accompanying digital offering will air more than 1,000 live events in its first year, including at least 45 exclusive SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, 50 softball games and events across all of the SEC’s 21 sports. The network will be an all-access pass to nationally competitive events, news and information, expert analysis, classic games and in-depth features on the most storied conference in college athletics.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, “With more than three weeks still to go before launch, we are pleased to add Comcast, the largest cable television distributor in the country, to the growing list of providers that will bring the SEC Network to millions of fans nationwide.”

“We’re thrilled to have Comcast on board as a distributor for the launch of the SEC Network on August 14,” added Justin Connolly, ESPN SVP, college networks.  “Across the country, Comcast’s Xfinity customers will have access to all of the great content and coverage from the SEC Network.  We continue to gain momentum for a successful launch across a wide range of affiliated providers.”

LUS Fiber, Wilkes Telephone and PTC Communications To Carry SEC Network
ESPN has also reached an agreement to carry the SEC Network at launch on August 14, 2014 to three independent cable operators: LUS Fiber, Wilkes Telephone and PTC Communications.  The deal will allow fans and followers of the Southeastern Conference to access the multiplatform network across each operator’s markets.

“The demand for the SEC Network is coming from all levels of operators,” says Breen.  “With these latest agreements with LUS Fiber, Wilkes Telephone and PTC Communications, we continue to grow our distribution footprint both in SEC territories and nationwide so that fans will be able to access the network’s quality content and services in time for launch on August 14.”

The SEC Network and its accompanying digital platform will air more than 1,000 live events in its first year, including at least 45 exclusive SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, 50 softball games and events across all of the SEC’s 21-sports. The network will be an all-access pass to nationally competitive events, news and information, expert analysis, classic games and in-depth features on the most storied conference in college athletics.