Disney–ABC Domestic Television, also operating as ABC Syndication[3] (formerly known as Buena Vista Television, also known as Disney Domestic Television and currently known as Disney–ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution), is the in-home sales and content distribution firm of the Disney–ABC Television Group, a division of The Walt Disney Company. Content distribution responsibilities include domestic television syndication, domestic pay TV, Internet and cable video-on-demand (VOD), and pay-per-view outlets.[4]

Background

ABC's first syndication arm, ABC Films (established in July 1953), was spun off as Worldvision Enterprises in March 1973 due to fin-syn laws (which have since been repealed).

Despite having some TV shows and feature films, Disney only had one syndicated show, The Mickey Mouse Club, prior to the formation of this unit.[21]

History

Buena Vista Television

Walt Disney Pictures established a television syndication unit in 1985, with Robert Jacquemin as senior vice president of domestic television distribution. None of its animated feature films were planned to enter syndication at the time.[21] The division was incorporated as Buena Vista Television on November 5, 1985.[22] with its first release in the first run syndication market with Siskel & Ebert.[23] In 1990, the company offered its first game show, Challengers, into first-run syndication.[23] The company produced the morning business show, Today's Business, in August 1986, only to put an end to the show in April 1987, indicating that they were unable to get enough advertisers.[24]

In late 1986, Buena Vista was shopping Duck Tales for a 1987 debut, with a 4-6 p.m. placement and a 2.5/3.5 syndicator/station ad split.[25] In 1990, the company offered its first game show, Challengers, for first run syndication.[23] In late 1990 and early 1991, after launching the Disney Afternoon syndicated block, Buena Vista had considered starting a new one-hour morning block to start in 1992.[26]

On August 24, 1994, a reorganization of Disney took place in which Richard H. Frank became head of a newly formed Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications, which was split from The Walt Disney Studios and included Buena Vista TV.[27]

In April 1996, due to ongoing post Disney–Capital Cities/ABC merger realignment and retirement of its president, Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications's divisions were reassigned to other groups. Therefore, BVTV, as a part of Walt Disney Television International, was transferred to Capital Cities/ABC.[3]

In March 2007, Starz Entertainment sued BVTV for breaching their agreement by allowing movies available online through Apple's iTunes Store and other outlets. The introduction of the Apple TV device forced Starz to file suit which hinged on the "contractual definition of 'television'" and whether complete TV exclusivity was granted, as Starz then had a secondary distribution deal with Netflix.[7]

Disney–ABC Domestic Television

In May 2007, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to semi-retire the use of the Buena Vista brand, instead focusing on the three core brands of Disney, ABC, and ESPN.[3] As a result, Buena Vista Television was rebranded as Disney–ABC Domestic Television (DADT).[7] BVTV converted to a limited liability business form on April 10, 2009.[22][3]

By July 2008, DADT signed additional carriage agreements with Vudu and CinemaNow which was then added to the Starz lawsuit. On December 2, 2008, DADT and Starz Entertainment settled their online distribution lawsuit with the terms undisclosed.[7]

First-run programming

Current

Former