The acrimonious dispute between Disney and Charter Communications is over after 10 days.
The two sides have signed a fresh carriage deal after channels such as the Disney Channel, ESPN, FX and Nat Geo went black for Charter Spectrum’s 15 million customers on Aug. 31.
This resolution happened just before the debut of tonight’s “Monday Night Football” season debut telecast on ESPN between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Spectrum subscribers missed two weekends of college football and the debut of the NFL season as well as the latter rounds of the U.S. Open.
During the blackout, Charter said Disney was demanding Charter carry channels it didn’t need and that the entire system was “broken” as millions in recent years have cut the cord and pay just for streaming services. Charter also wanted greater access to Disney+ content unavailable to its subscribers.
“Our collective goal has always been to build an innovative model for the future,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter CEO Chris Winfrey in a joint statement. “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’.”
Charter, which operates one of the largest cable systems in the United States and offers services in metro Atlanta, will pay Disney more in exchange for providing its Spectrum TV Select customers access to the Disney+ streaming service with ads while ESPN+ will be offered to those on the higher tier Spectrum TV Select Plus. A new upcoming direct-to-consumer ESPN channel will also be made available for certain Spectrum customers.
Spectrum will no longer carry some secondary Disney channels such as Freeform, Disney Junior, Disney XD, FXX, and Nat Geo Wild. More popular channels like ESPN networks, FX, Nat Geo and Disney kid channels will remain.