On one of the biggest cable providers in the country, fans of sports and other Disney content will have to make do without.
On Thursday night, Disney yanked its programming from Charter Spectrum, despite the Disney-owned ESPN networks airing live coverage of important athletic events like the US Open and college football.
In a presentation given before to an investor webcast, Charter Communications stated that despite a broken "video ecosystem," Disney "has insisted on a traditional long-term deal with higher rates and limited packaging flexibility." Disney rejected our proposal, and on August 31 it stopped providing its video channels to Charter's video subscribers.
The cable company claims that the media conglomerate's proposal would result in a huge price hike for consumers, who would also be forced to pay for channels they might not be interested in. This kind of agreement between cable companies and channel owners has long been the standard, but the emergence of the streaming model has increased pressure on both parties.
On its website, Charter claims to have 14.7 million video subscribers.
In a statement, Disney Entertainment claimed that it "has successful agreements in place with pay TV providers of all shapes and sizes across the country, and the prices and terms we are asking in this renewal are driven by the market. We want to work with Charter to limit the impact on their customers, and we're dedicated to finding a solution that benefits all parties.
The conflict left viewers of sporting events like the University of Florida vs. University of Utah football game or the second-round US Open match between No. 1 men's tennis player Carlos Alcaraz and Lloyd Harris hanging.
US Open Tennis wrote on X, the social media site that replaced Twitter, "We're very disappointed for our fans and viewers around the country that Spectrum and Charter could not resolve their dispute with Disney, resulting in a loss of ESPN coverage of Thursday night's matches." "We're hopeful that a swift resolution to this dispute can be reached."
Although Disney had to settle a dispute with streaming service YouTube TV in 2021, disagreements over carriage fees are nothing new, especially since cord-cutting and streaming have eaten into the traditional cable sector.