Sept 30 Walt Disney Co and satellite TV
provider Dish Network Corp agreed to a short-term
extension of their current distribution deal, keeping
Disney-owned channels on the air while the pair seek to bridge
differences over carriage terms.
The companies are discussing a deal for Dish to continue
carrying programming including sports network ESPN, the Disney
Channel and ABC Family, according to a joint statement. They
didn't say how long the contract extension would last, nor
provide any other details on their discussions.
Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has previously complained about
the rising cost of sports programming. ESPN is the most
expensive TV network, costing pay TV operators about $5.54 on
average per subscriber each month, according to research firm
SNL Kagan. Disney says it is getting paid for the value ESPN
On an Aug. 1 conference call with analysts, Ergen said he
was optimistic his company would reach a deal with Disney, but
also threatened to drop the channels if both sides couldn't come
"If we get that deal we'll do it," Ergen said. "If we don't
get that deal, we'll part ways. Simple as that."
The talks between Disney and Dish also cover carriage of the
ABC broadcast network in major markets including New York, Los
Angeles, and Chicago.
The negotiations follow a month-long blackout of the CBS
broadcast network in major cities when the parent CBS Corp
could not reach a carriage deal with Time Warner Cable
Inc. The two sides reached an agreement on Sept. 2.