Disney & Charter Reach Agreement; Restore ABC, ESPN To 15 Million Homes Ahead Of Monday Night Football

Monday Night Football

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Disney and Charter have resolved their high-profile carriage dispute, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The resolution comes just in time for NFL’s Monday Night Football, which airs on Disney’s ESPN, bringing relief to millions of households.

Key points of the agreement include:

  1. Customers who purchase the Spectrum TV Select package will soon have access to Disney+ Basic ad-supported offering as part of a wholesale arrangement.
  2. Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers will gain access to ESPN+.
  3. When launched, the ESPN flagship direct-to-consumer service will be made available to Spectrum TV Select subscribers.
  4. Charter will maintain flexibility in offering various video packages at different price points based on customer preferences.
  5. Charter will offer Disney’s direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, to all its customers, including broadband-only customers, at retail rates.
  6. Spectrum TV will provide its customers with access to a curated lineup of 19 networks from The Walt Disney Company, including ABC Owned Television Stations, Disney Channel, FX, and the Nat Geo Channel, in addition to the full suite of ESPN networks.
  7. Networks no longer included in Spectrum TV video packages will be Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild, and Nat Geo Mundo.

The dispute arose when Disney removed its owned and operated channels, including ESPN and ABC, from Charter Spectrum cable systems in late August.

The disagreement centered on whether Disney should offer free access to its ad-supported streaming services to Charter subscribers as part of the cable packages.

The blackout had consequences for various high-profile sporting events, including the US Open, and coincided with the NFL’s debut season, increasing pressure on both parties to reach an agreement.

Disney reportedly faced the potential loss of 14.7 million Charter pay TV subscribers, equivalent to 20% of ESPN’s current linear subscriber base of 74 million.

Charter also faced the risk of football fans canceling their cable packages, a trend already challenging the pay-TV model.

The resolution of this dispute brings relief to millions of viewers and highlights the evolving landscape of television and streaming services in the media industry.