Verizon and The Walt Disney Company Sign Long-Term Programming Agreement

NEW YORK and BURBANK, Calif. -- Verizon and The Walt Disney Company today announced a long-term, wide-ranging programming agreement for multiple Disney and ESPN networks and services.

Under the agreement, Verizon will carry 12 television services on Verizon FiOS TV's expanded basic, including ABC Family, ABC News Now, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD, Toon Disney and SOAPnet. Verizon will also be granted retransmission consent of ABC's owned and operated television stations as part of the agreement.

Under the agreement, Verizon will carry major Disney and ESPN programming and broadband services including:

  • A Disney and ESPN broadband product portfolio including ABC News Now, Disney Connection, ESPN360, Movies.com and a newly launched broadband soap opera product

  • ESPN Deportes, ESPN's 24-hour Spanish-language sports network, and Toon Disney en Espanol on Verizon's Hispanic expanded basic and Hispanic tier packages

  • A VOD content portfolio offered to all digital customers including On Demand services from ABC Family, ABC News Now, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, Jetix, Radio Disney TV, SOAPnet and Toon Disney

  • Buena Vista Pay Television

  • ESPN Pay-Per-View

Verizon and Disney also agreed to cooperate, consistent with the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, to help curb infringement of Disney's copyrighted works over the Internet while at the same time appropriately safeguarding the privacy of Verizon Internet service subscribers.

Under the agreement, Verizon would forward and track notices to its subscribers allegedly engaged in the unauthorized distribution of Disney's copyrighted works, without identifying the subscribers to Disney, and either provide subscriber identifying information pursuant to lawfully served subpoenas or terminate Verizon Internet service provided to subscribers who have infringed Disney copyrights and received multiple notices.

"This is a significant step forward in the effort toward inter-industry cooperation in addressing the serious problem of copyright infringement over the Internet. At the same time, Verizon continues its commitment to protecting the privacy of Verizon subscribers and only providing identifying information about such subscribers in response to subpoenas properly issued by the courts," said Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon.

"At Disney we are committed to providing our content on multiple platforms so that consumers have choice and flexibility when making their entertainment decisions. We commend Verizon for doing its part in promoting legitimate channels for content distribution and for its leadership in helping curb Internet-based copyright infringement," said Robert A. Iger, president, COO and CEO-Elect, The Walt Disney Company. "Working together to address piracy we can help to ensure that the same content Verizon is distributing legally under this deal will not be downloaded illegally."

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with four business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company, had annual revenues exceeding $30 billion in its most recent fiscal year, and a market capitalization of nearly $48 billion as of September 20, 2005.

About Disney and ESPN Media Networks

Disney-ABC Television Group is home to all of The Walt Disney Company's worldwide cable, satellite and broadcast entertainment properties. The Group includes the ABC Television Network, the Disney Channel Worldwide portfolio of kids channels, ABC Family, and SOAPNet; as well as television production and syndication divisions Touchstone Television, Walt Disney Television Animation, and Buena Vista Television. Disney-ABC Television Group also manages the Company's equity interest in Lifetime Entertainment Services, A&E Television Networks and E! Networks cable groups.

ESPN, Inc. is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of seven domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN Today), ESPN and ESPN2 HD, simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, SportsTicker, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360 (Broadband), ESPN Mobile, ESPN on Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

About Verizon Communications Inc.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.