Comcast Reaches New Carriage Agreement With Walt Disney Co.

Greensboro Coliseum: ACC Network camera man during the 2020 ACC Men's College Basketball Tournament
Comcast's carriage deal with Disney includes carriage of ESPN's college sports-centric ACC Network. (Image credit: Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

Heading off what could have been a major disruption, Comcast has reached a new deal to carry The Walt Disney Co.’s content.

Disney and Comcast have had a touchy relationship since Disney outbid Comcast for 21st Century Fox. Comcast remains a minority owner in Hulu, now controlled by Disney, and two two companies have issues including how much Hulu is worth when Comcast sells its stake and how much content from Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit Hulu will have access to.

The deal Comcast and Disney agreed to in 2012 expired Sept. 30, and the two sides have been negotiating in relative quiet ever since.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the new deal, Comcast will launch the ACC Network, run by Disney’s ESPN.

Comcast already makes Hulu and Disney’s newer streaming services, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, available to its subscribers through its X1 operating system.

“We are very pleased to have reached this comprehensive agreement with Disney to continue providing Xfinity customers access to their content across our industry-leading platforms,” said Rebecca Heap, senior VP, consumer products & propositions, Comcast Cable.

Retransmission consent for Disney’s ABC TV stations was renewed in the new agreement. Comcast will also continue to carry cable channels including the ESPN networks, the Disney-branded networks, the FX Networks, the National Geographic channels, Freeform and the SEC Network.

“We’re very happy to extend our longstanding relationship with Comcast and continue to provide their Xfinity customers with Disney’s best-in-class programming,” said Sean Breen, executive VP, platform distribution, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. “In addition to our news, sports and general entertainment offerings, the launch of the ACC Network in the coming weeks, paired with the renewal of the SEC Network, will give Xfinity’s college sports fans long-awaited access to their favorite games.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.