NEW YORK — Disney says that the company is in negotiations with Charter Communications for a new agreement after Disney pulled ESPN, ABC and other cable channels off Charter-owned Spectrum’s cable service.
Spectrum TV subscribers no longer have access to Disney’s portfolio of live sporting events, news coverage and entertainment programming, the company said.
Disney cable networks on Spectrum’s cable service went dark on Thursday in the middle of the live coverage of the U.S. Open match on ESPN, leaving only a black screen.
Cable operator Charter Communications serves more than 32 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand, according to its website. Disney says that it “has successful deals in place with pay TV providers of all types and sizes across the country, and the rates and terms we are seeking in this renewal are driven by the marketplace.”
Charter released a statement saying, “We are disappointed with The Walt Disney Company’s decision to remove their networks from our lineup and deny our customers the opportunity to watch. The current video ecosystem is broken. With The Walt Disney Company, we have proposed a model that creates better alignment for the industry and better choices for our customers. We are hopeful we can find a path forward.”
In response, Disney released this statement Friday:
“Charter has refused to enter into a new agreement with us that reflects market-based terms. Contrary to their claims, we have offered Charter the most favorable terms on rates, distribution, packaging, advertising and more. We have proposed creative ways to make Disney’s direct-to-consumer services available to their Spectrum TV subscribers, including opportunities for new and flexible packages where those services become a focal point of what the consumer might choose. Although Charter claims to value our direct-to-consumer services, they are demanding these services for free as they have stated publicly. Charter is depriving consumers of that content because they are failing to ascribe any value in exchange for licensing those services. Our linear channels and direct-to-consumer services are not one and the same, per Charter’s assertions, but rather complementary products. We continue to invest in original content that premieres exclusively on our linear networks, including live sports, news and appointment viewing programming. “Likewise, on our direct-to-consumer services, we make multi-billion-dollar investments in exclusive content, which is incremental to our linear networks. “We offered Charter an extension in the negotiations to keep our networks up and they declined in the middle of programming that is important to their subscribers, including the US Open. Charter’s actions are a disservice to consumers ahead of the kickoff for the college football season on ABC and ESPN’s networks. We value our relationship with Charter and we are ready to get back to the negotiation table to restore access to our unrivaled content to their customers as quickly as possible.”
Disney also released a statement on Sunday on its website, on Facebook, and on X (formerly Twitter):
There’s no word on when or if a deal will be reached. If you are impacted by the outage, please contact Spectrum directly at (855) 366-7132 or go to keepmynetworks.com.
Disney is the parent company of WABC-TV.