Monday, December 31, 2012

Disney and Charter Makes Deal

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) on Monday said it had signed a new programming deal with Charter Communications (CHTR), marking its fourth renewal agreement this year with a cable TV system operator.

Shares of both Disney and Charter are up about 30% in 2012. Disney was down a fraction in midday trading Monday, while Charter was up 1%.

Last January, Disney signed a new "carriage" deal with Comcast (CMCSA). Agreements with Cablevision Systems (CVC) and Cox Communications followed.

The cable TV firms pay Disney and other content providers fees to carry cable channels. The deals usually last eight to 10 years.

Disney's ESPN sports channel commands the highest fees in the industry, at more than $5 per subscriber.

Cable TV firms, meanwhile, have been seeking rights to provide programs to their customers on Apple's (AAPL) iPad and other devices via broadband connections. Cable subscribers must log-in and have accounts to view programs online.

The new deal with Charter Communications provides digital access "across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and Internet-enabled televisions," said Disney in a statement.

Disney said the Charter agreement includes the ABC broadcast network as well as cable channels ABC Family, Disney, Disney Junior, and others.

"More and more content is being enjoyed on tablets and other Internet-connected devices, and today's viewers are sharing their TV experiences in new ways. Our agreement with Disney enables more robust ways to enjoy and socialize TV," said Allan Singer, Charter's senior vice president of programming, in a statement.

In 2012, Disney expanded its digital apps from "Watch ESPN" to include "Watch Disney," "Watch Disney XD," and "Watch Disney Junior."

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