Disney and Charter Communications have reached a deal, ending a 10-day deadlock that left subscribers to the No. 2 cable operator in the US without ESPN and other channels. With 14.7 million members, Spectrum is second in the US only behind Comcast, so the outage affected a huge amount of people.
The deal restores ESPN to Spectrum users just hours before Monday Night Football, but eight Disney-owned channels are going dark on Spectrum as part of the agreement between the two companies.
Networks no longer carried by Spectrum going forward include Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild, and Nat Geo Mundo (via Deadline).
Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter CEO Chris Winfrey said 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.”
The impasse began on August 31, when 19 Disney-owned cable networks and eight ABC stations were dropped from Spectrum. For sports fans, it was a tough blow, as Spectrum members were unable to watch major events like tennis’ US Open and a range of college football games.
Another key detail of the deal is that the ad-supported version of Disney+ will be provided to Spectrum TV Select members at no additional cost. ESPN+, meanwhile, will be added to the Spectrum TV Select Plus package. ESPN is planning a bigger direct-to-consumer service in the next few years, and it will be available to Spectrum TV Select subscribers, Disney and Charter said.
Disney and Charter also said in their announcement that the two companies will work together to stop people from sharing passwords. “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,” the companies said.
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