The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it has reached a long-term carriage agreement with the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative to carry its suite of networks, including its authenticated Watch services and a trio of sports and news channels.
The NRTC serves telephone and electric organizations in 48 states. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We’re excited to continue our rapid expansion of NRTC’s TV Everywhere offering, MyTimeTV, with programming from Disney and ESPN’s broad portfolio,” said NRTC Vice President of Video Services, Madeleine Forrer in a statement. “Our members take pride in offering their customers the best video entertainment available, and the Disney/ESPN portfolio is exceptional.”
As part of the new multi-year deal, NRTC will introduce several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products (Watch ESPN, Watch Disney Channel, etc.), Longhorn Networkand Fusion, an ABC News and Univision joint venture and 24/7 news, information and lifestyle multi-platform network for English-dominant and bilingual Hispanics. The SEC Network is also part of the pact, marking the second affiliate contract for the sports channel that will bow in August 2014.
Other services 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, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN Full Court and ESPN3.
“This latest long-term renewal agreement allows us to serve NRTC members’ customers in rural markets with enhanced value to their multichannel video subscription, providing quality content and services on more platforms than ever before,” said Executive Vice President, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group, David Preschlack in a statement. “We continue to cultivate relationships across a variety of distribution partners that recognize the value of these services that customers have come to expect in today’s digital world.”
NRTC members’ customers will receive broad access to existing authenticated products like WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD, WATCH Disney Junior and WatchESPN (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater) as well as the to-be-launched WATCH ABC authenticated on-demand content and WATCH ABC Family services, through the networks’ own WATCH sites and apps. These products will give NRTC 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.