On the last day of the NFL pre-season, football fans are rejoicing — or at least the ones who subscribe to Time Warner Cable. The company has finally reached an agreement with Walt Disney Co. that will keep Disney-owned channels like ESPN from being blacked out during the first week of the the NCAA and NFL seasons. And TWC customers will now have access to ESPN’s online video portal ESPN3.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement without any interruption in service,” said Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Disney negotiated a carriage fee increase of around $.40-.50 per subscriber just for the right to carry ABC. In return, TWC won the rights to sell some ABC shows on its video-on-demand platform, much like the deal ABC made with Apple for the new AppleTV.
The deal also gives TWC cable customers — regardless of whether or not they use TWC to access the internet — free access to ESPN3.com. The cable company had been a holdout in offering this service because Disney charges cable providers, rather than end users, for its use.