Disney-ABC Television Group & ESPN Plan to Team with Cox Communications for Multifaceted Video On Demand and Advanced Advertising Digital Platform Trial with ABC Network Content
Groundbreaking Test Would Include Disabling of VOD Fast-Forward Option for On Demand Content and Syndication of ABC's Broadband Player to Cox.Net

The Walt Disney Company's Disney-ABC Television Group and ESPN, and Cox Communications, Inc., today announced an unprecedented digital platform trial to test several advanced on demand opportunities. Cox and ABC have signed a non-binding letter of intent regarding the project, which is subject to the finalization of terms. The trial is scheduled to take place this fall in Cox's Orange County cable television system, and is expected to be rolled out in additional markets.

Key elements of the trial would include:

  • Episodes of four ABC primetime series, as well as select ESPN on ABC college football events, will be offered to Cox Digital customers in the FreeZone section of Cox's on demand service. Beginning this fall, episodes of "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost" and "Ugly Betty" will be available for viewing the day after their broadcast premiere. Cox will disable the fast-forward option on its VOD service for all offered ABC and ESPN on ABC content.
  • The two companies will work together to test dynamic ad insertion on Cox's on demand platform when such technology becomes operational.
  • ABC will syndicate its Emmy Award-winning broadband player for the first time ever to a cable operator, providing Cox.net users in Orange County the ability to watch ad-supported, full episodes of many of ABC's most popular primetime series online the day after they air on the network.

“This project is another example of how our digital strategy integrates into our overall business strategy,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney-ABC Television Group. “It provides consumers with more access to our hit programming, while showcasing our continued dedication to working with our distribution and advertising partners to develop and grow viable multi-platform business opportunities that better meet the evolving needs of our industry.”

"Cox has been a longtime valued affiliate and we are excited to be working with them in this truly unique way," said George Bodenheimer, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, ESPN and ABC Sports. "We believe that the knowledge gained by experimenting together will not only benefit our two companies but the entire industry, as programmers and operators look for new, innovative ways to work together."

"We've always placed a high priority on using the most popular content on television to create more value in our on demand platform for customers and advertisers," said Pat Esser, president, Cox Communications. "We are excited about collaborating with Disney and using their great ABC and ESPN content to provide our customers with 'anywhere, anytime' access to content they value."

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

ESPN, Inc. is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company comprises six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN and ESPN2 HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (32 networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360.com (Broadband), ESPN Mobile Properties, 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.

Cox Communications is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with more than 6 million total residential and commercial customers. Cox offers an array of advanced digital video, high-speed Internet and telephony services over its own nationwide IP network, as well as integrated wireless services in partnership with Sprint (NYSE: S). Cox Business Services is a full-service, facilities-based provider of communications solutions for commercial customers, providing high-speed Internet, voice and long distance services, as well as data and video transport services for small to large-sized businesses. Cox Media offers national and local cable advertising in traditional spot and new media formats, along with promotional opportunities and production services. More information about the services of Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at www.cox.com/espanol, www.coxbusiness.com y www.coxmedia.com.


Cox Communications
David Grabert
(678) 592-2258

Disney-ABC Television Group
Karen Hobson
(818) 569-7789 – office
(818) 359-3583 – cell

Katina Arnold
(860) 766-7463

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