By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

The Walt Disney Company and Cox Communications Announce Comprehensive Distribution Agreement

New Multi-Year Deal Provides Sports, News and Entertainment to Cox Customers In and Out of the Home

WatchESPN, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD and WATCH Disney Junior To Launch This Month to Cox Customers

ATLANTA & NEW YORK–Cox Communications and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today announced a comprehensive long-term distribution agreement to deliver Disney’s robust lineup of top quality sports, news and entertainment content to Cox TV customers across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and internet-enabled televisions. The new early renewal agreement enhances the multichannel business model and supports the companies’ mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms.

“Coupled with our investment in our broadband network and the development of innovative services like Cox TV Connect and TV Online, we’re enabling our customers to access their favorite news, sports and entertainment video content whenever and wherever they want it.”

As part of the new multi-year agreement, WatchESPN (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater) launches today as the first of TWDC’s existing authenticated products being made available to Cox customers. Additional authenticated products including WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD and WATCH Disney Junior will launch next week. The to-be-launched WATCH ABC and WATCH ABC Family services will also be made available to Cox customers. These products will give Cox customers more opportunities to access live and video on demand content, both in-home and out-of-home, on their computers, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.

In total, approximately 70 services are covered by the broad scope of this agreement including: ABC, ABC Family, ABC News/Univision Joint Venture, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN 3D, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN Full Court, ESPN3, Longhorn Network and retransmission consent for KABC-TV, as well as more than 10 high-definition networks.

The companies also announced that ESPNEWS and ESPN Classic will be added to Cox TV Connect, Cox’s proprietary app that allows customers to watch live TV on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch from anywhere in their homes. Cox is increasing the number of channels on Cox TV Connect to 90, starting Monday, December 17, 2012.

“This comprehensive agreement with The Walt Disney Company enhances the value of our customers’ experience with our products and services,” said Mark Greatrex, Cox Communications senior vice president, chief marketing and sales officer. “Coupled with our investment in our broadband network and the development of innovative services like Cox TV Connect and TV Online, we’re enabling our customers to access their favorite news, sports and entertainment video content whenever and wherever they want it.”

Added David Preschlack, executive vice president, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group, “This deal renewal with Cox marks the fifth agreement encompassing Disney’s full suite of products and services while strengthening the value of the multichannel subscription model. We are serving viewers by delivering 24/7 live access to our content via the WATCH Disney services and WatchESPN across more platforms than ever before, which is quickly becoming the new standard in content delivery.”

The extensive and expanded rights package for Video On Demand content to Cox TV customers includes:

  • ABC On Demand, ABC’s fast-forward-disabled On Demand service, which currently features a selection of top-rated primetime entertainment programming, including episodes of such popular current ABC shows as “Castle,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Once Upon A Time,” “Private Practice” and “Revenge.” Full current seasons will be made available on a number of shows.
  • ABC Family On Demand, which features a variety of top-rated full episodes, refreshed monthly, from such popular millennial favorites as “Switched at Birth,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Baby Daddy,” “Bunheads” and “Melissa & Joey.” Full current seasons will be made available on a number of shows. ABC Family original movies like “Mistle-Tones” will also be available.
  • Disney-branded On Demand offerings, including Disney Channel On Demand, Disney Junior On Demand, and Disney XD On Demand. Refreshed each month, the Disney Channel On Demand offering will include episodes from such series as “Handy Manny,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” for preschoolers, as well as variety of episodes from “A.N.T. Farm,” “Good Luck Charlie,” “Jessie,” and other popular series for older kids. Select episodes featured on Disney Channel On Demand will be available in innovative new offerings, such as playlists and monthly programming blocks, in addition to a number of episodes available in multiple languages. A variety of Disney Channel Original Movies will also be available. Disney XD On Demand features a selection of episodes from such series as the Emmy Award-winning animated hit “Phineas and Ferb,” “Pair of Kings” and “Kickin’ It.”
  • Expanded On Demand content from ESPN, including content from ESPN Deportes and ESPN’s award-winning original content from ESPN Films.

About Cox Communications

Cox Communications is a broadband communications and entertainment company, providing advanced digital video, Internet and telephone services over its own nationwide IP network. The third-largest U.S. cable TV company, Cox serves more than 6 million residences and businesses. Cox Business is a facilities-based provider of voice, video and data solutions for commercial customers, and Cox Media is a full-service provider of national and local cable spot and new media advertising.

Cox is known for its pioneering efforts in cable telephone and commercial services, industry-leading customer care and its outstanding workplaces. For seven years, Cox has been recognized as the top operator for women by Women in Cable Telecommunications; for five years, Cox has ranked among DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity, and the company holds a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. More information about Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at www.cox.com and www.coxmedia.com.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is the world’s largest diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Disney Media Networks comprise a vast array of The Walt Disney Company’s broadcast, cable, radio and publishing businesses, including Disney/ABC Television Group and ESPN, Inc. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $40.9 billion in its most recent fiscal year.

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas