The Walt Disney Company and AT&T today announced that they have ironed out a long-term distribution agreement. Disney’s sports, news, and entertainment content will continue to be distributed on AT&T’s U-verse service. The deal includes programming from ESPN, ABC, and the Disney Channel.
Part of the agreement includes new programming, including a group of “authenticated” (read: locked with digital rights management) channel-like products that can be accessed through the U-verse website or through mobile apps. Branded “WATCH” ESPN, ABC, and ABC family programming will be available through the service.
“The renewal with AT&T U-verse – our seventh top ten distributor agreement in just over two years – extends the value of the multichannel subscription model with the addition of new networks and services from The Walt Disney Company,” said David Preschlack, executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing at Disney. “Viewers are increasingly living in a multi-screen world, and with this new deal, they will enjoy such benefits as live access to content via the WATCH Disney and WatchESPN services across platforms.”
Indeed, the multichannel subscription model is alive and continues to impede innovation in television programming. While trying to develop new TV models and technologies that incorporate the internet (and could possibly provide a la carte programming for consumers), both Apple and Intel have discovered just how monolithic the current cable model is.