The Walt Disney Co. inked a retransmission-consent accord for ABC stations with Verizon FiOS, while its ESPN unit launched authenticated online streaming for a number of its properties with the telco.
Terms of the retransmission-consent deal for ABC's owned-and-operated stations were not disclosed, but the accord follows a far-reaching agreement the parties reached last October for continued carriage of ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney XD and the 2012 launch of Disney Junior. Moreover, that deal covered online streaming of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN Buzzer Beater.
FiOS TV customers can now watch the sports giant's top three linear networks and ESPN Buzzer Beater, an hoc channel featuring cut-ins and highlights to a bevy of top college basketball games on Wednesdays and Saturdays, live on their personal computers or laptops -- at home or away -- using any broadband connection.
"Expanding our online video content to include the ESPN networks provides our FiOS customers with some of the best in sports programming, right at their fingertips," said Terry Denson, vice president of content strategy and acquisition for Verizon, in a statement. "Whether watching FiOS on your TV, PC or mobile device, Verizon continues to make it easy for customers to view a growing amount of programming while on the go."
Added David Preschlack, executive vice president, Disney and ESPN Media Networks: "Offering our live networks online further demonstrates our commitment to serving sports fans, and we couldn't do it without the cooperation of forward-thinking distributors like Verizon FiOS. From today forward, FiOS TV customers can choose to watch ESPN on their big screen or on their computer screen - it's a real sea change in our business and an indication of where our industry is heading."
Buzzer Beater is typically available to FiOS TV customers that subscribe to the Extreme HD or Ultimate HD TV packages, but is currently available through a free preview to the teleco's Prime TV package subs. ESPN Goal Line, a similar service for college football, will become available for online viewing when the season kicks off in September for FiOS TV customers subscribing to the Extreme HD or Ultimate HD packages.
Users have several viewing options for the channels, including picture-in-picture, simultaneous viewing of more than one channel, and full-screen viewing of a single channel. Verizon and ESPN plan to make the programming available on other Internet enabled devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, in the near future.
As part of the deal reached last October, FiOS is expected to roll out ESPN 3D sometime later this year.