The Walt Disney Company (DIS) entered into a long-term distribution agreement with Cox Communications, whereby the latter will deliver Disney's popular programs to Cox TV customers. Subscribers of Cox TV can now watch live or on-demand content of 70 Disney, ABC, and ESPN services on their TV sets, PCs, smartphones, or tablets. Although, the financial terms of the deal are not disclosed, the partnership is expected to benefit both companies over the long term and will broaden their reach going forward.
The deal will fortify Disney's multichannel subscription model by adding more platforms to deliver its content any time and on any device. Moreover, Cox Communications' focus on out-of-home access to widely popular Disney programs by subscribers will position the latter well in the multi-channel pay-TV market and help it gain new subscribers.
Disney already has a number of content distribution deals with companies like Comcast Corp (CMCSA) and Netflix Inc. (NFLX). Disney entered into a 10-year long-term comprehensive programming distribution deal with Comcast, thus enabling Comcast's authenticated pay-TV subscriber to access Disney's wide variety of contents.
Earlier this month, the company entered into a multi-year licensing agreement with Netflix, enabling it to stream movies from the Disney Studio and its associated studios instantly after release. Further, Netflix would gain access to Disney's direct-to-video releases starting 2013.
We believe such moves not only strengthen Disney's position but also expand its coverage area while creating long-term revenue generating opportunities.
Walt Disney is one of the world's leading diversified entertainment companies. Moreover, the company commands a formidable portfolio of globally recognized brands, primarily its namesake brand, Walt Disney, followed by ABC, ESPN and Marvel Entertainment. These renowned brands offer a strong competitive edge to the company and bolster its well-established position in the market against major players like News Corporation (NWSA) and Time Warner Inc. (TWX).
Currently, we maintain a long-term 'Neutral' recommendation on the stock. Moreover, Disney's shares hold a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term 'Hold' rating.