Disney CEO Bob Iger said that progress is being made in distribution negotiations with Dish Network and that issues involving technology were proving more complicated than haggling over affiliate fees.
"There are still issues to be resolved and they could take some time, but as long as we’re making progress we are perfectly patient to see this thing through and avoid a blackout of our channels, which we'd like to do," said Iger, speaking to analysts on Disney's earnings conference call.
Disney's deal with Dish expired last month, but carriage continues under an extension. Dish has been sued by broadcasters over the commercial-skipping features of its Hopper DVR. Like other distributors, Dish is interested in being able to provide content to subscribers when they want it, where they want it and on the device of their choosing.
Iger said Disney wants to be "open-minded and modern in our approach" in giving consumers better access to content, but "at the same time we intend to be steadfast in our strategy to protect the value of our intellectual property."
Iger also addressed a question about reports that Disney might be exploring a sale of ABC's station group, calling the reports "complete speculation."
Iger said the stations "have been good assets for us. They’ve been run extremely well… and I think as long as we are in the network, we'll be in the station business.
He added "we don't comment on acquisitions or divestitures, but I don't think it would be wise to either predict or conclude that these assets are on the market."
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.
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