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Disney, Charter strike deal to restore ESPN, ABC for Spectrum customers

Just in time for Monday Night Football, The Walt Disney Company (DIS) will return its content to subscribers of Charter Communications’ Spectrum cable video service, ending a 10-day outage that will allow affected viewers access to ESPN and other Disney channels. Will have to lose.

key takeaways

  • After negotiations stalled at the beginning of football season, Disney restored ESPN, ABC and other content to Spectrum cable before Monday Night Football.
  • Spectrum TV Select customers will get access to some of Disney’s streaming services.
  • Both companies promised to continue the fight over password sharing.

The deal ends an impasse that began on September 1, when Disney pulled its programming from the Spectrum as football season began. Charter (CHTR) had argued during negotiations that Disney was charging large amounts of money for broadcast channels and shifting all of its quality content to its streaming services.

In addition to all Disney content being restored to Spectrum cable systems, Spectrum customers will also have access to other Disney streaming services depending on their subscription levels.

For example, subscribers to the Spectrum TV Select package will get access to the Disney+ basic ad-supported platform, and later access to ESPN’s direct-to-consumer platform once it launches. As part of the deal, Spectrum TV Select Plus customers will get access to ESPN+. Charter will also maintain some pricing flexibility.

Charter will provide Disney’s direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, to Spectrum’s large broadband-only customer base. Additionally, both companies said they would work to cut down on password sharing.

Controversy focuses on access to new streaming products

In the discussions, Charter said the standoff was not a standard “carriage” dispute where broadcasters negotiate with cable providers over how much to pay to carry programming. This time, Charter said, the issue was how “linear” TV broadcasters and cable programmers like Disney’s ABC Network manage the shift toward streaming and direct-to-customer (DTC) programming.

“Over the past decade, linear video subscription services have been in decline, driven by the shift of valuable programming to (direct-to-consumer) DTC alternatives, as well as a vicious cycle of rising programming costs and subscriber loss,” Charter said in a statement. The reason has increased.” statement during conversation

Specifically, Charter pointed to Disney’s services like Disney+, where subscribers can get content that is not available to Spectrum subscribers.

“They also want customers to pay twice to get content apps with linear video that they’ve already paid for,” Charter said.

Disney responded that asking for their direct-to-customer services for free “doesn’t make economic sense.”

“Furthermore, it makes no sense for consumers who wish to keep our streaming platforms as stand-alone services,” Disney said in a statement.

With an agreement reached, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter CEO Chris Winfrey said the outcome helps pave the way for “innovative models” for future content distribution.

“This deal recognizes both the continued value of linear television and the growing popularity of streaming services while addressing the growing needs of our consumers,” the two said in a joint statement.


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