Disney Strikes Deal Ending Frustrating Blackout

Last Monday, Charter Communications and Disney reached a new carriage deal to bring an end to a nearly two-week blackout of Disney-owned stations that went dark on Spectrum TV in seven US markets, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, The Hill reported.

As of last Monday, nearly 15 million Spectrum TV customers had their Disney-owned channels, including ABC, FX, ESPN, and Nat Geo Channel, restored.

In a joint statement, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter Communications CEO Chris Winfrey said the deal reached recognizes the “continued value of linear television” coupled with the “growing popularity of streaming services.”

As part of the deal, customers with the Spectrum TV Select package will be provided with the ad-supported Disney+ Basic as part of the package. Additionally, ESPN+ will be offered to Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers.

Charter Communications will maintain the flexibility to offer a range of packages at various prices based on the viewing preferences of customers. It will also offer Disney’s direct-to-consumer services to its customers, particularly its significant broadband-only customers, for retail rates. Those services include Hulu, ESPN+, Disney+, as well as the Disney Bundle.

Spectrum TV will also provide its customers with access to 19 Disney networks in addition to ABC-owned TV stations, the Disney Channel, the Nat Geo Channel, and FX.

The dispute between Charter and Disney began in late August after carriage renewal negotiations broke down, leaving 14.7 million Spectrum customers without Disney channels.

As a result of the blackout, which occurred during the US Open and the start of college football season, some Spectrum pay-TV customers opted for internet-based TV options like Google’s YouTube TV or Disney’s Hulu + Live TV. According to Disney, Hulu + Live TV signups jumped 60 percent higher than expected during the blackout, NBC News reported.