Disney, Charter Communications Renew Distribution Contract
12/31/2012| 10:48am US/Eastern
By Melodie Warner
Walt Disney Co. (>> The Walt Disney Company) renewed a distribution agreement with cable operator Charter Communications Inc. (>> Charter Communications, Inc.) that expands its programming to multiple platforms.
Financial terms weren't disclosed.
As part of the new multiyear deal, the Longhorn Network will launch in Texas, Louisiana and Virginia systems by football season next year.
Charter and Disney will also introduce several new services, including the upcoming ABC News/Univision joint venture, a news, information and lifestyle network for English-dominant and bilingual Hispanics in the U.S.
The launch of content across these new distribution platforms is planned for the first half of 2013.
"More and more content is being enjoyed on tablets and other Internet-connected devices," said Allan Singer, Charter's senior vice president of programming. "Our agreement with Disney enables more robust ways to enjoy and socialize TV."
Disney has reported double-digit earnings growth on a percentage basis for more than a year, largely due to strength in its cable channels and in its theme-parks business. Its networks division has benefited in particular as sports programming on ESPN commands higher affiliate fees.
Disney reported last month its fiscal fourth-quarter income improved 14% as the company posted continued growth from its theme parks and media networks.
Meanwhile, Charter's third-quarter loss widened as higher operating expenses masked improved revenue. Cable operators such as Charter have increased their focus on their Internet services for growth at a time of rising defections of their television customers and as consumers remain cautious in a sluggish economy.
Write to Melodie Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires