Earlier this month, Disney and Charter Communications failed to reach an agreement in their recent carriage dispute, which resulted in Disney’s linear channels, including ESPN, FX, ABC and National Geographic, being blacked out for over 15 million Spectrum Cable customers across the United States.
The dispute caused fans to miss the end of the US Open Tennis event, along with the first weekend of NFL action. During the past week, Spectrum has been telling customers who want access to Disney’s channels to subscribe to Fubo TV, while Disney has been heavily promoting its Hulu+Live TV bundle.
The core of the dispute has come down to money, with Disney wanting more money from Charter Communications, while they’ve been requesting access for their customers for ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+ for free, which Disney states does not make economic sense. Charter has explained that the current cable system is broken and needs to change. Disney has stated that they have proposed creative ways to make its streaming services available to Charter’s Spectrum TV subscribers—including opportunities for new and flexible packages where those services become a focal point of what the consumer might choose.
But today was always going to be a big deadline for Disney, as the first NFL Monday Night Football is due to air on ESPN today, and it has been announced that a deal has been made between the two companies, that will result in restored access to the Disney Channels for Spectrum customers.
In a joint statement, Robert A. Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and Chris Winfrey, CEO, Charter Communications, said:
“Our collective goal has always been to build an innovative model for the future. This deal recognizes both the continued value of linear television and the growing popularity of streaming services while addressing the evolving needs of our consumers. We also want to thank our mutual customers for their patience this past week and are pleased that Spectrum viewers once again have access to Disney’s high-quality sports, news and entertainment programming, in time for Monday Night Football.”
Among the key deal points:
In the coming months, the Disney+ Basic ad-supported offering will be provided to customers who purchase the Spectrum TV Select package, as part of a wholesale arrangement.
ESPN+ will be provided to Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers.
The ESPN flagship direct-to-consumer service will be made available to Spectrum TV Select subscribers when it launches.
Charter will maintain flexibility to offer a range of video packages at varying price points based upon different customer viewing preferences.
Charter will also use its significant distribution capabilities to offer Disney’s direct-to-consumer services to all its customers – in particular its large broadband-only customer base – for purchase at retail rates. These include Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, as well as The Disney Bundle.
Effective immediately, Spectrum TV will provide its customers widespread access to a more curated lineup of 19 networks from The Walt Disney Company. Spectrum will continue to carry the ABC Owned Television Stations, Disney Channel, FX and the Nat Geo Channel, in addition to the full suite of ESPN networks. Networks that will no longer be included in Spectrum TV video packages are Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo.
To preserve all these valuable business models, the parties have also renewed their commitment to lead the industry in mitigating the effects of unauthorized password sharing.
The news of the deal has pushed up the shares of both Disney and Charter Communications.
Are you pleased Disney’s channels will be restored to Spectrum? Let us know on social media!
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.