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Discovery, Comcast come to carriage agreement

Fraught carriage negotiations between Discovery Communications and Comcast Communications have ended with a new “long-term, comprehensive agreement”.

David ZaslavThe renewal deal announced yesterday will see Discovery’s 12 US networks remain available to Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers acorss various platforms.

Significantly, the deal includes TV Everywhere rights, meaning Discovery channels will be available in and out of the home via Comcast streaming services.

Months of tense negotiations between the two companies had been a concern to investors, especially those of Nasdaq-listed cable group Discovery, whose CEO and president David Zaslav had been openly critical of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal.

That merger ultimately failed, but not before Comcast accused Discovery of making “extortionate demands” over a new carriage deal in return for “non-opposition” to the deal.

In wider context, US carriage negotiations have become increasingly difficult in recent years, with supplers – or channel operators – demanding more for their content and the distributors – cable and internet providers – demanding more digital distribution rights.

Financial terms of the new deal were not forthcoming, but Zaslav said this week: “Comcast is a dynamic and innovative company and has been a great partner of Discovery’s for over two decades. We look forward to continuing our relationship and unlocking the value of Discovery’s content in even greater ways for Xfinity viewers.”

“This renewal will enable our Xfinity TV customers to experience Discovery’s content in more ways and on more platforms than ever before,” added Comcast Cable president and CEO Neil Smit.