October 5, 2017 / 10:24 PM / in 11 days

Disney, Altice finalize new programming agreement

The entrance gate to The Walt Disney Co is pictured in Burbank, California February 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co and cable operator Altice USA have finalized a new multiyear programming agreement that keeps ESPN and other networks in millions of New York-area households, the companies said on Thursday.

The two sides reached a preliminary deal on Sunday after contentious negotiations. Disney threatened to pull its networks from Altice’s Optimum cable service, while Altice argued that Disney was seeking “outrageous” increases in fees for the rights to carry the channels.

In a statement on Thursday, the companies said Optimum would continue to carry the Disney Channel, Disney Junior, WABC, Freeform, and several ESPN channels. Optimum will add ESPN’s SEC Network in late 2018. In August 2019, it will start carrying the ACC Network and drop one of the other ESPN channels, the statement said.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday that Disney had secured fee increases for ESPN, WABC and other major networks. The sources requested anonymity because the negotiations were private.

Optimum has 3.1 million customers in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Andrew Hay

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