Time Warner Cable’s unique ESPN Web deal

September 3, 2010

Many media business journalists let out a collective sigh of relief at the news that Time Warner Cable had finally inked its deal WorldCupwith Walt Disney to keep carrying its programming, including ABC, Disney channels and various ESPN networks.  The programming fee negotiations had gone late into the night past their Wednesday midnight deadline and hacks, who had seen this movie before, were just starting to tire of waiting for another midnight watch.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the deal is that Time Warner Cable’s ESPN customers will now have access to ESPN3.com, a website ESPN uses to show more than 3,500 live events, including  matches from the World Cup this summer.

This is unlike other ESPN3 deals which have typically been tied to the cable operator’s Internet service provider. In those cases, ESPN3 would only be accessible to ISP customers of the cable operator.

Time Warner Cable’s deal comes under the auspices of TV Everywhere, the project that Time Warner Inc and Comcast Corp have been trying to convince the cable industry to support.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will also be available online to authenticated Time Warner Cable customers as part of this deal.

“We wanted to make sure this was a product available to our video customers who get ESPN, and that they wouldn’t have to pay extra for it,” said Time Warner Cable  spokesman Justin Venech.

(Photo: Reuters)

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