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The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications Reach Multiyear Distribution Agreement

Disney Pulls Its Networks from Spectrum Cable Over Carriage Dispute with Charter Communications

The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications have announced a transformative, multiyear distribution agreement, that will see the majority of Disney’s networks and stations immediately restored to Spectrum’s video customers, and more.

The Details

Effective immediately, 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.

Among the other 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.

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.”

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The History

This all started when a carriage dispute between the two conglomerates caused Disney to pull its stations and network’s from Charter’s Spectrum cable service on August 31, 2023.

Since then, Spectrum customers have been unable to watch Disney-owned stations/networks, such as ESPN, ABC, FX, and Disney Channel.

While this new agreement restores service to most of the affected stations, some stations, as noted above, will no longer be available to Spectrum customers.

So not a complete win for the customers caught in the middle of this dispute, but better than not getting any of the channels.