After several top MSOs balked at paying for Disney/ESPN’s broadband product, the Mouse cut its most expansive and lucrative broadband deal to date with Verizon, cable’s biggest high-speed competitor. While many networks are not expecting immediate, big payouts from Verizon since it lacks video subs, Disney/ESPN is banking on the telco’s 5mln+ DSL subs to be the 1st dividend. Verizon will pay Disney/ESPN an undisclosed per sub/per month fee for Disney Connection, ESPN360, ABC News Now, Movies.com and a new SoapNet product. Count on Disney putting its marketing and promotional muscle behind Verizon’s DSL offering. And expect Disney/ESPN to start another broadband push with MSOs. Soon… — Deal Specifics: The broadband component is part of a bigger retrans deal that involves 12 networks, the ABC broadcast O&O stations, PPV and Buena Vista Pay-TV. Deal terms also guarantee expanded basic carriage for 12 networks: ABC Family, ABC News Now, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD, Toon Disney and SoapNet. It makes ESPN Deportes and Toon Disney en Espanol available on Hispanic tiers. It provides carriage for Buena Vista Pay-TV and ESPN PPV. Verizon is among the first video providers to pay Disney/ESPN a per sub/per month fee for VOD. And Verizon has committed to monitor Internet subs for Disney copyright infringements. It won’t identify the subs to Disney, but could terminate their service. "I think the rest of the industry should really take heed and hopefully follow," Disney’s Bob Iger said. — Other retrans holdouts, Viacom and News Corp are close to cutting similar deals with Verizon and SBC.

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FCC Seeks Comment on NAB NextGen Petition

The FCC Media Bureau is seeking comment on NAB’s petition regarding the treatment of multicast streams under the NexGen TV local simulcasting rules.

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