Walt Disney Co.'s contract renewal talks with Dish Network are hung up on Dish's ad-skipping technology and terms for two new Disney cable channels, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite-TV service with 14 million subscribers, and Disney, owner of ABC, ESPN and Disney Channel, gave themselves one to two days beyond yesterday's deadline to hammer out an accord, said the people, who sought anonymity because the discussions are private. Talks may last longer, they said.
Dish's AutoHop technology, introduced in May 2012, presents an obstacle to a deal. The one-button feature allows subscribers to skip commercials on recorded broadcast TV shows, undermining the effectiveness of network ads. Dish is embroiled in litigation with ABC, CBS Corp., Comcast Corp.'s NBC and 21st Century Fox's Fox over the feature.
On the other hand, Disney is also trying to build distribution for two new channels -- Fusion, a venture with Univision Communications aimed at Hispanics, and the SEC Network, which will feature Southeastern Conference college sports beginning next year. Terms for both are being negotiated, the people said.
Pay-TV companies have sometimes complained that programmers use their widely-viewed channels as leverage in negotiations to gain wider carriage or increased fees for less-watched channels.