Sep. 22, 2005
Verizon Communications struck a carriage deal with the Walt Disney Co., the companies said Wednesday, on the eve of the phone company's deployment of video service in its first market, Keller, Texas. News Corp. also is on the verge of announcing a deal with Verizon, the conglomerate's chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, said Wednesday at the Goldman Sachs conference in New York. Sources also said that the telco is close to a third deal, with Viacom's MTV Networks, which is expected to be unveiled today. Terms of the Disney pact were not disclosed. All together, the deals would bring some of cable's premier channels, including ESPN, MTV and Fox News Channel, into a lineup Verizon already has begun marketing at subscription rates slightly cheaper than cable and satellite services in the area. Thus begins a new era of competition in the multichannel world in bundled voice, video and data, though significant hurdles remain for the telcos. (Andrew Wallenstein The Hollywood Reporter)