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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DEADLINE: How does a visualist feel about people watching your films on a phone or VOD?
REFN: It depends on what kind of movie you make. We had great success with Only God Forgives on multiple platforms in the U.S. Young people will decide how they see it, when they want to see it. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it. That’s a wonderful opportunity. We’re at the most exciting time since the invention of the wheel, in terms of creativity because distribution and accessibility have changed everything. A camera is still a camera whether it’s digital or not; there’s still sound; an actor is an actor. Ninety-nine percent of what you do is going to be seen on a smart phone – I know this is the greatest thing ever made because it allows people to choose, watching what you do on this format or go into a theater and see it on a screen. That means more people than ever will see what I do, which is personally satisfying in terms of vanity. But you have to be able to adapt, to accept things in different order and length than we’re used to. We are in a very, very exciting time.
~ Nic Refn to Jen Yamato

DEADLINE: You mention Tarantino, who with Christopher Nolan and a few other giants, saved film stock from extinction. To him, showing a digital film in a theater is the equivalent of watching TV in public. Make an argument for why digital is a good film making canvas.
REFN: Costwise, it’s a very effective way for young people to start making movies. You can make your movie on an iPhone. It’s wonderful seeing how my own children use technology to enhance creativity. For me it’s a wonderful canvas. Sure, I love grain in film. I love celluloid. But I also like creativity. I like crayons, I like pencils, I like paint. It’s all relative. Technology is more inclusive. A hundred years ago when film was invented, it was an elitist club. Very few people got to make it, very few people controlled it and very few people owned it. A hundred years later, storytelling through images is everyone’s domain. It’s ultimate capitalism. There are no rules, and no barriers and no Hays Code. Where does this go in another hundred years? I don’t know but I would love to see it.
~ Nic Refn To Jen Yamato