As part of a sweeping deal between TV heavyweights, Time Warner Cable and Disney struck a retrans pact for ABC-owned broadcast stations and agreed on carriage for a broad array of Disney cable nets, including ESPN, ESPN HD, ABC Family, Disney Channel and SOAPnet. The scope of the pact seems even more comprehensive than the deal Disney inked with Comcast late last year (Cfax, 11/06). HD channels are a large part the TWC accord, as the MSO has committed to launch ESPN2 HD later this year, and ABC Family HD, Disney Channel HD and ESPNEWS HD in ’08 when they become available. Leichtman Research Group‘s Bruce Leichtman said TWC’s specific mention of those channels not being available until ’08 was "interestingly worded" and seemed "a comment to DirecTV in some way." (Cable has tussled with DirecTV over its HD claims in recent TV commercials). Currently ESPN HD is available in 88mln homes, ESPN2 HD in 53mln. TWC subs will also receive later this year ESPNU, a property that has stacked a slew of carriage deals recently and was expected prior to this deal to reach 10mln+ homes by Aug. While TWC will also add Disney Channel’s SVOD service to its on demand lineup, the MSO said it’s most pleased about the inclusion of Disney and ESPN content to its Start Over and Quick Clips services. Start Over is currently running in 5 TWC markets and offers 91 nets in SC, where two-thirds of digital subs use the service at least monthly. Half of the MSO’s divisions will offer the service by year’s end. Interestingly, the deal even came off without much public squabbling. "Resolving something like this without any public animosity—in this day and age, that’s probably good for the industry," said Leichtman.

The Daily


So Long, Rob Stoddard

Many years ago, Cablefax: The Magazine bestowed NCTA’ s Rob Stoddard with its first “Nicest Guy in Cable” award. It’s a moniker that stuck, despite Stoddard’s humble protests, for reasons obvious to

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