By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, do you have any guesses on how many people have cancelled their Spectrum TV subscriptions since they lost their Disney channels and ESPN? I bet the number is huge! — Jason, New Haven, Connecticut.
Jason, Charter, which owns the Spectrum TV service, has not revealed how many subscribers have cancelled service since the cable TV operator last Thursday night lost 26 Disney-owned channels, including ESPN, in a carriage dispute between the companies. Disney has said that subscribers have had to wait three hours on the phone trying to cancel and there’s an abundance of people on social media saying they have cancelled. But both those statements can be misleading and/or outright false.

However, there is a reason to believe that the number of cancellations exceed how many people have left DIRECTV and Dish in their current carriage disputes with Nexstar and Mission Broadcasting respectively. Unlike the two major satcasters, Charter does not require a two-year contract to sign up, or any contract at all. This has likely helped Spectrum TV attract subscribers over the last few years because many people hate contracts that include financial penalties if you cancel early. It’s one of the reasons why people have opted for streaming services — no contracts, a point you often see advertised in ads for streamers.

But the downside of Charter’s no-contracts policy is that it’s relatively easy to cancel, unlike what a Dish or DIRECTV subscriber would have to go through to leave. This has become a weakness in Charter’s defense against Disney. DIRECTV and Dish can play hardball in carriage talks knowing that a certain number of subscribers are unlikely to cancel because they are in contracts. But Charter does not have that protection. Anyone can leave at any time — and it’s likely that many are choosing to use this time to do so. Whether this softens Charter’s resolve in the coming days and/or weeks remains to be seen.

Jason, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann