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Suddenlink Links Comprehensive Disney Deal

Amped-up affiliate action continued apace for The Walt Disney Co., as the programmer Monday announced a multiyear, multiplatform renewal pact with Suddenlink Communications.

The comprehensive deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, encompasses a suite of Disney’s channels, including the launch of the SEC Network, and an array of advances services, notably the programmer’s Watch line of TV Everywhere products. Suddenlink video subs will be able to access Disney’s diversified content base across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices.

The agreement follows Disney’s renewal with the National Cable Television Cooperative on Aug. 1, and last month’s deal with the National Telco Television Consortium, plus pacts with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox, among others, for the SEC Network, which kicks off on Aug. 14.

Among its holdings, Suddenlink operates systems in Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Missouri and Louisiana, all of which are within the Southeastern Conference’s 11-state footprint.

In addition to the SEC Network addition, Suddenlink will launch the University of Texas’ Longhorn Network ahead of this year’s football season, and introduce Fusion, Disney’s joint venture service with Univision. Starting this fall the full suite of authenticated Watch services, including WatchESPN, will be available to the MSO’s customers. 

Continuing services covered by the broad scope of this agreement include: ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN3, video-on-demand services and retransmission-consent for KABC-TV in Los Angeles, WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, KTRK-TV in Houston and KFSN-TV in Fresno.

“A number of our customers have expressed interest in the SEC and Longhorn Networks, and a sizable majority have told us how much they value Disney networks like ESPN and ABC Family,” said Kathy Payne, Suddenlink senior vice president and chief programming officer at Suddenlink. “We’re very pleased we can provide those customers what they’ve said they want, and we’d like to specially thank the SEC and Longhorn fans who contacted us for their enthusiasm and patience, as we worked with Disney to complete this comprehensive, long-term agreement.”

“Suddenlink TV customers will benefit greatly from this latest multi-year renewal agreement,” noted Sean Breen,  senior vice president, affiliate sales, Disney & ESPN Networks Group.  “Not only will they continue to receive top quality content from Disney and ESPN networks ahead of the new fall programming slate and upcoming football season, but also additional, highly sought after services.”