Iger: Disney Apps Tied to Carriage Deals

Disney Chief Said No Interest in Cutting Apps Deals Outside of Renewals
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Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger told analysts Tuesday that the content giant has no desire to strike additional deals for its popular Disney Channel mobile app outside of carriage renewal agreements with distributors.

Comcast struck a deal with the content giant for expanded content on the Watch Disney Channel app and others as part of its overall carriage agreement with the Disney networks in January. While non-Comcast subscribers can access a limited number of video on demand programming through the app, Comcast customers can unlock live streaming of shows and other features. On a conference call with analysts to discuss fiscal third quarter results, Iger said there is no desire to strike similar deals with other distributors on a standalone basis.

"I think we will do more deals like the one we did with Comcast," Iger said. "There is a veritable queue of distributors that would like to launch these apps, but we are willing to launch them as part of overall extensions of the omnibus deals we've done with them and not just allow distributors to launch them outside of the format of an extension of our deal."

Disney is also working on technology which should launch this fall that will allow the media conglomerate to further monetize the apps by embedding advertising on both VOD and streaming content, Iger said.

"We have an opportunity, we believe, not just to use these apps to increase the value of the multichannel ecosystem, but ultimately to drive greater revenue thru advertising," Iger said.