Disney CEO Bob Iger said that progress is being made in distribution negotiations with Dish Network and that issues involving technology were proving more complicated than haggling over affiliate fees.
“There are still issues to be resolved that could take some time, but we are going to be perfectly patient to see this thing through and avoid a blackout of our channels, which we’d like to do,” said Iger, speaking to analysts on Disney’s earnings conference call.
Disney’s deal with Dish expired last month, but carriage continues under an extension. Dish has been sued by broadcasters over the commercial-skipping features of its Hopper DVR. Like other distributors, Dish is interested in being able to provide content to subscribers when they want it, where they want it and on the device of their choosing.
Iger said Disney is interested in giving consumers better access to content, but “at the same time we remain steadfast in our strategy to protect the value of our intellectual property.”
Iger also address a question about reports that Disney might be exploring a sale of ABC’s station group, calling the reports “complete speculation.”
Iger said the stations “have been good assets for us. They’re run extremely well.”
He said “we don’t comment on mergers and acquisitions, but I don’t think it would be wise to conclude these assets are on the market."