Disney, Dish settle legal issues with ‘evolutionary’ deal

The Walt Disney Company and US satcaster Dish Network have ended their long-running legal dispute and agreed on a deal new, wide-ranging carriage deal.

sweeneyAs part of the deal, Dish has agreed to disable its controversial ad-hopping service AutoHop during ABC shows in primetime, with Disney in return dropping all legal issues.

The US broadcasters have long been concerned by AutoHop, which allows viewers to skip adverts on linear TV channels, and two years ago ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox brought a case against Dish.

“The creation of this agreement has really been about predicting the future of television with a visionary and forward-leaning partner,” said Joseph P. Clayton, Dish’s CEO and president.

“Not only will the exceptional Disney, ABC, ESPN entertainment portfolio continue to delight our customers today, but we have a model from which to deliver exciting new services tomorrow.”

Anne Sweeney (above), co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, said: “We knew early on we had a responsibility with this deal to not only do what was best for our business, but to also position our industry for future growth.

“After months of hard work and out-of-the box thinking on both sides, led by [Disney CEO] Bob Iger and [Dish founder] Charlie Ergen, this agreement, one of the most complex and comprehensive we’ve ever undertaken, achieves just that. Not only were innovative business solutions reached on complicated current issues, we also planned for the evolution of our industry.”

Also included in the deal for Dish are expanded VOD rights to Disney-ABC content, including Disney on-demand services Watch ESPN, Watch Disney, Watch ABC and Watch ABC Family for the first time.

New Disney channels available include Disney Junior, Fusion, Longhorn Network, ESPN3 and the soon-to-be-launched SEC ESPN Network, while a number of locally-owned station carriage agreements have been renewed.