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Verizon Says It Can Slice & Dice Out ESPN

Verizon Says It Can Slice & Dice Out ESPN
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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) reiterated its contention Tuesday that splitting ESPN from its core cable TV offerings doesn't violate a contract with Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS).

Disney, parent of ESPN, on Friday said Verizon's plan isn't authorized by its existing agreements, according to multiple news reports.

But Verizon Chief Financial Officer Francis J. Shammo told analysts Tuesday that "we believe that we are allowed to offer these packages under our existing contracts."

According to a conference call transcript, Shammo was asked whether Verizon had "explicit permission" from Disney for the offering, but Shammo said "we'll leave it at that."

Shammo's comments were reported by re/code.

Verizon FiOS President Tami Erwin made the same claim last week, telling The Wall Street Journal that the packages don't violate its content contracts.

The FiOs unit, which launched the new plan on Sunday, offers bundled Internet access, telephone, and television service via a fiber-optic network.

Re/code said Tuesday that Verizon has done little marketing of the new bundling plan to date.

"Perhaps Verizon would like to get a full endorsement from the programmers before it makes a big push," according to re/code.

Posted-In: ESPN re/codeNews Contracts Best of Benzinga


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