Just before the Labor Day weekend started, Disney pulled all of its linear television channels, including the Disney Channel and ESPN, from the Spectrum cable network over a carriage dispute, where Spectrum’s parent company—Charter Communications, wanted access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ to be included in a bundle with the existing linear channels.
Disney have hit back at the claims by Spectrum, who say that the cable system is broken and they’ve got a plan to keep their business going, by bundling the streaming services together, since they view they are funding the content on Disney+ and their customers should get the streaming packages included in the price of cable. Disney has replied, stating it does not make economic sense for them to provide Spectrum customers free access to their streaming services, nor does it make sense for consumers who desire the flexibility to have our streaming platforms as standalone services.
After a few days of Disney’s cable channels being blacked out on Spectrum cable networks, which serve over 15 million people across many territories, including Los Angeles and New York, Disney has started promoting its own live television service, Hulu+Live TV, in an effort to provide frustrated Spectrum customers with an alternative, which has more than 90 live channels that include sports, news, and entertainment. Hulu + Live TV starts at $69.99 a month, and you can cancel anytime. There’s no contract, no cable box, and no wait time to subscribe.
Hulu + Live TV also comes with Hulu’s deep library of exclusive TV shows and hit films, ad-supported Disney+ and ESPN+ all-in-one plan, and unlimited DVR, which allows you to record and store your favourite content for up to nine months.
Disney’s networks and stations are also available on other TV streaming services such as DIRECTV Stream, YouTube TV, Sling, and Fubo, but these don’t come with Disney+, Hulu or ESPN+ content.
While Disney held off promoting Hulu+Live TV for the first few days of the dispute, they’ve now begun heavily advertising it on all of their social media accounts.
This might be a sign that the dispute might continue much longer, or that Spectrum is looking for a way to get out of providing television. According to a report from the Sports Business Journal, when Spectrum and Disney last met to renew their contract in 2019, Spectrum came close to ending its TV business and just focusing on its internet business. With a few years of losing more customers, this latest dispute could finally be a huge step in a change in linear television.
Disney’s CEO Bob Iger has said that streaming is one of their main businesses and is vital going forward, unlike linear television, which he doesn’t believe is core to their business any more. This could be the start of a big shift away from cable television, and now Disney is trying to encourage the last cable subscribers to just to use them instead.
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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.