Subscribers to the broadband cable services of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) will soon be able to get access to the Disney Channel from Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) on Internet-connected mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Disney plans to release an app as early as next week to permit mobile viewing, and Comcast has already paid for the service as part of a new 10-year agreement between the companies that was signed in January.
Disney and Comcast have already launched a similar app, called WatchESPN, which is also available to subscribers of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) also has rights to some Disney shows for its streaming service. Disney’s CEO also said that the company intends to offer apps for its ABC network and the ABC Family cable channel, but did not specify a timeline.
Giving subscribers the capability to view programs on mobile devices is a key to cable operators’ ability to keep their customers from “cutting the cord” in favor of online programming. Wireless broadband is the future growth path for cable companies.
Disney’s CEO also took a shot at the new digital video recorder (DVR) introduced earlier this month by Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) that allows users to record network programs without commercials and play the programs back later without advertising. CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), News Corp.’s (NASDAQ: NWS) Fox , and Comcast’s NBC have already filed suit to stop the Dish service.
The biggest share price move of the day belongs to Netflix, down about -2.7% at $67.60 in a 52-week range of $62.37-$304.79. The Comcast-Disney deal is not good news for Netflix.