Disney VOD coming to Cablevision

ABC Cable to provide access to 81 million households

Cablevision will become the first U.S. cable op to offer Disney Channel on Demand, the Mouse’s new branded service.

Deal took nearly a year of negotiations, as ABC Cable Networks looks to roll out the branded subscription video-on-demand package across Disney Channel’s 81 million U.S. households.

Pact with ABC Cable Networks Group will provide original series programming from the channel’s Playhouse Disney programming block for preschoolers as well as original movies and series for older age groups; for a monthly subscription, viewers will be able to pick and choose the individual programs they wish to see.

Extra charge

Cablevision, which serves some 3 million New York-area subscribers, will provide the package on its iO digital TV service for an additional $4.95 per month for subs already receiving Disney via the extended basic or premium package basis.

Cablevision’s digital base is relatively small, with just over 400,000 homes, but the Disney SVOD package is its sixth such offering, alongside packages from HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Fox and Playboy.

Though neither company would disclose financial terms of the carriage agreement, both sides said agreement is not tied to any other Disney-owned cable network carriage terms.

ABC Cable Net sources said the company is actively negotiating with all major U.S. multisystem ops for carriage of the digital service.

Pursuing digital delivery

For a company traditionally protective of overexposing its copyrights, Disney has recently come out aggressively in seeking new digital avenues for its wares.

Speaking to an investor conference last week, chairman-CEO Michael Eisner outlined an array of digital options for the Mouse that preserve its lucrative homevideo/DVD margins and minimize middlemen.

In addition to SVOD, Disney will be experimenting with disposable DVDs, online download service Movielink.com and the Movie Beam datacasting service.

So far, Disney is the only major studio that has not licensed theatrical titles to cable VOD packager In Demand, though some of its kids content is available as part of cabler Insight Communications’ Kids Unlimited SVOD offering.