The Walt Disney Co. has inked a renewal pact with the National Television Cooperative encompassing its suite of networks, as well as a host of advanced services, including the programmer’s Watch TV Everywhere platform.
The multiyear deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, also includes the SEC Network, which launches on Aug. 14, the University of Texas’ Longhorn Network and Disney joint venture service with Univision, Fusion. Under the master agreement, NCTC’s 950 members can opt into the broad Disney carriage contract, enabling them to offer the programmer's fare to their customers across TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices.
Following the consummation of the NCTC pact, DirecTV is the only major provider that does not have a Watch ESPN deal. All told, Watch ESPN is now available to some 75 million homes.
Moreover, with the NCTC accord, plus statements from DirecTV and Charter Communications indicating that they are moving close to completing pacts, ESPN is only missing Verizon FiOS -- which operates in Texas and Florida -- from completing its distribution march for the SEC Network with major providers across the conference's 11-state footprint.
Coming two days after co-op members concluded the 30th anniversary celebration of the NCTC at The Independent Show in Kansas City, the new deal now covers video-on-demand offerings, as well as ad hoc scoring channels, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and ESPN Bases Loaded. 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 and ESPN3.
Participating NCTC members’ customers will receive access to existing authenticated products like Watch ABC, Watch ABC Family, Watch Disney Channel, Watch Disney Junior, Watch Disney XD and Watch ESPN (comprising content from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and ESPN Bases Loaded) through the networks’ own Watch sites and apps.
“NCTC is pleased to again offer our members access to top-tier sports and family channels under our new agreement with Disney & ESPN Networks Group. The addition of the SEC Network, Longhorn Network and digital platform rights helps strengthen the long-term partnership and enhances the value the agreement brings to members,” said Judy Meyka, executive vice president of programming at NCTC.
Noted David Preschlack, executive vice president, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group: “Customers of the NCTC member companies will benefit greatly from this latest renewal deal. Not only will they continue to receive the great content we deliver across our networks, but also the added value of accessing that content on digital platforms with our Watch products, choosing when to watch them with video-on-demand services and a lineup of new channels including Fusion, the upcoming SEC Network launching on August 14, Longhorn Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and ESPN Bases Loaded.”