By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
Charter has officially signed a new carriage deal with Disney, ending an 11-day blackout of 26 Disney channels (including ESPN) on the Spectrum TV cable service. The press release making the official announcement (which you can read below) suggests the companies compromised on issues such as whether Charter could refrain from offering ESPN in certain programming packages to lower their cost, and how much the cable op would have to pay to carry Disney standalone streaming services such as ESPN+ and Disney+. That said, it would appear that Charter will have more flexibility now from Disney in how it offers programming packages and at what cost. The company has said that it is crucial to its long-term success with the advance of cord cutting.
The deal, which the companies are calling ‘multiyear,’ comes hours before the highly-anticipated Monday Night Football game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills on ESPN. ABC is also broadcasting the game, but the Disney carriage dispute had left seven Spectrum TV markets without their ABC affiliates, including New York, the home of the Jets.
Note that the release says the following Disney networks will no longer be available in Spectrum TV packages: Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo. Below is the official press release from Disney and Charter:
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) and Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) today announced a transformative, multiyear distribution agreement that maximizes value for consumers and supports the linear TV experience as the industry continues to evolve. As part of the deal, the majority of Disney’s networks and stations will be immediately restored to Spectrum’s video customers.
In a joint statement, Robert A. Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and Chris Winfrey, CEO, Charter Communications, said: “Our collective goal has always been to build an innovative model for the future. 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.”
Among the key deal points:
* In the coming months, the Disney+ Basic ad-supported offering will be provided to customers who purchase the Spectrum TV Select package, as part of a wholesale arrangement.
* ESPN+ will be provided to Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers.
* The ESPN flagship direct-to-consumer service will be made available to Spectrum TV Select subscribers when it launches.
* Charter will maintain flexibility to offer a range of video packages at varying price points based upon different customer viewing preferences.
Charter will also use its significant distribution capabilities to offer Disney’s direct-to-consumer services to all its customers – in particular its large broadband-only customer base – for purchase at retail rates. These include Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, as well as The Disney Bundle. Effective immediately, Spectrum TV will provide its customers widespread access to a more curated lineup of 19 networks from The Walt Disney Company. Spectrum will continue to carry the ABC Owned Television Stations, Disney Channel, FX and the Nat Geo Channel, in addition to the full suite of ESPN networks. Networks that will no longer be included in Spectrum TV video packages are Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo.
To preserve all these valuable business models, the parties have also renewed their commitment to lead the industry in mitigating the effects of unauthorized password sharing.
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— Phillip Swann