The Walt Disney Company Wins Temporary Restraining Order Requiring Echostar To Retain ABC Family Channel On Its System

BURBANK, Calif. — The Walt Disney Company is pleased that the U.S. District Court today approved a temporary restraining order requiring EchoStar Satellite Corp. to adhere to its affiliation agreement and continue carrying ABC Family Channel.

“Although we are heartened by this victory, this is not a permanent fix,” said Disney President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Iger. “We remain concerned about EchoStar’s willingness to exercise its power at the expense of fair competition and consumer choice as evidenced by the strong possibility that EchoStar will discontinue ESPN Classic as early as midnight tonight.

“This would be an enormous disservice to EchoStar customers, who would who lose the Peabody award-winning SportsCentury series, Instant Classic games, sports movies and more,” Iger said.

“Disney shares the view of many consumer groups and state and local regulators that a monopoly satellite distributor can and will exercise power in ways that stifle competition, innovation and consumer choice,” Iger added. “Indeed, Echostar continues to behave in a manner that demonstrates the need to have more than one satellite provider to create competition for programming and better choice for viewers. Disney has a consistent record of guarding its programming against such abuses and we will continue to explore all alternatives to ensure that the public has unfettered access to our content.”

The court will review Disney’s application for a preliminary injunction on January 10.