Dish, Disney reach long-term programming deal: report

(Reuters) - After months of talks, Dish Network Corp and Walt Disney Co have reached a long-term programming agreement that allows the No. 2 satellite provider to carry Disney-owned networks such as ABC and ESPN, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper said Dish had agreed to halt its "Auto Hop" commercial skipping feature for ABC shows on its digital video recorder. The "Auto Hop" service on Dish's DVRs allowed Dish customers to automatically skip its commercials, which sparked a lawsuit between the two companies. As part of the deal, ABC will drop its litigation against Dish, according to the Wall Street Journal, while Dish will delay the time it allows customers to hop over commercials until three days after an ABC shows airs. A Dish spokesman declined to comment while a Disney representative could not be reached. Disney and Dish's programming agreement expired at the end of September, but the companies averted blackout of Disney's top networks for the satellite provider's 14 million customers. The deal, which the paper said was signed Sunday, includes digital rights for mobile apps such as WatchESPN. Dish will also carry Fusion, a new English-language news channel aimed at young people and the SEC Network, a soon-to-be college sports network from ESPN, the paper reported. The report said financial details of the programming agreement were not known. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)