By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I am happy that Spectrum TV has ESPN back but it looks like some channels aren’t there anymore. Can you explain what changes we should expect from this deal now that it’s done? — Marcia, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Marcia, Disney and Charter’s Spectrum TV ended their 11-day carriage dispute yesterday, returning ESPN and other Disney-owned channels back to the Spectrum TV lineup. However, not all Disney channels have returned, and you might notice some other changes to your Spectrum service now and in the years to come. So it’s time for, ‘You have questions, we have answers!’
* Which channels are back?
Spectrum TV is again carrying the full suite of ESPN networks, ABC-owned network affiliates in seven markets, the Disney Channel, FX and the Nat Geo Channel. The return of ESPN is the big news here. During the blackout, Spectrum viewers lost the network’s coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament and several college football games, among other programming. Fortunately, the deal was sealed yesterday hours before the Monday Night Football game between the Jets and Bills.
* Which channels are not returning?
As part of the new deal, which included certain concessions from both sides, Spectrum will no longer carry Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo. This is a blow for the kids but it allows Charter to reduce the overall cost of the carriage fees it will pay Disney in the new contract. (And we know those carriage fees increased to get ESPN back.)
* Will Spectrum TV offer any new Disney services?
Yes. In the coming months, the Disney+ Basic ad-supported offering will be provided to customers who purchase the Spectrum TV Select package. The plan normally costs $7.99 a month. Yesterday’s press release says Charter will be able to offer this as “part of a wholesale arrangement” between the companies.
In addition, ESPN+ will be provided to Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers. It’s unclear when the standalone sports service, which normally costs $9.99 a month, will be available as part of Select Plus.
Will Spectrum get any other benefits from the deal?
Yes. ESPN plans to launch a standalone streaming version of its main channel in the next few years. This will be included in the Spectrum TV Select plan when it launches.
Will there be anything else different?
The companies say Charter will have more flexibility in providing programming packages that could appeal to cord cutters. Details are scant but it could permit the company to exclude ESPN from certain low-cost plans.
Marcia, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann