Meanwhile Disney and Starz extend TV pact thru 2015
It’s a busy morning for the pay TV biz: Showtime has cut an output deal with Disney-ABC Domestic TV that will feed up to 35 DreamWorks Studios titles released through 2015 into the cabler’s pipeline.Separately, Disney and Starz have extended their output deal for another three years, through 2015. The Showtime-Disney agreement covers Disney-distributed DreamWorks Studios releases from 2010 through 2015. DreamWorks principals Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider set up shop at the Mouse House last year. Deal has been long in the works. Pact was announced Thursday by Disney-ABC Domestic TV prexy Janice Marinelli, Showtime Networks chairman Matt Blank and Jeff Small, DreamWorks Studios prexy and chief operating officer. CBS Corp.-owned Showtime has been in the hunt for new sources of theatrical product ever since it parted ways with Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures and MGM, who joined forces to launch a rival pay TV service, Epix. Along with DreamWorks titles, Showtime has pix licensing pacts with Summit Entertainment, the Weinstein Co., Miramax and its sibling CBS Films unit. Among the first titles on the reconstituted DreamWorks’ slate is futuristic drama “Real Steel,” starring Hugh Jackman. The Disney-Starz deal covers live-action and animated fare from Walt Disney Pictures, Disney-Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures. It ensures that Starz will have pay TV rights to the next generation of Marvel Entertainment theatrical product. Disney has been in the pay TV biz with Starz since the Liberty Media-owned service bowed in 1994. Starz’ other major output deal is with Sony Pictures.