Disney, Charter Reach Deal Just in Time for Football Fans

Cable company's customers will be able to watch ESPN's 'Monday Night Football'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2023 1:17 PM CDT
Disney-Charter Dispute Resolved in Time for Monday Night Football
Hours before the fall's first “Monday Night Football” game, Disney and Charter Communications have settled a business dispute that had left some 15 million cable TV customers without ESPN and other Disney channels.   (AP Photo/David Kohl, File)

America's second-largest cable company has reached a deal with Disney just in time for subscribers to be able to watch the season's first Monday Night Football on ESPN. An impasse that began Aug. 31 left Charter Communications' 14.7 million customers without access to Disney channels including ESPN, along with eight ABC stations, Deadline reports. Under the carriage agreement announced Monday, Charter will pay more for Disney's channels in return for being able to offer the ad-supported tiers of the Disney+ and ESPN+ streaming services to subscribers, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Under the deal, Charter's Spectrum systems will no longer carry some Disney-affiliated networks, including many popular with children and teenagers, NBC News reports. They include Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild, and Nat Geo Mundo. Seven of the eight affected ABC stations will return to Spectrum, including WABC in New York, per Deadline, but WPVI in Philadelphia wasn't included in the deal. The companies said that under the deal, Charter will "maintain flexibility to offer a range of video packages at varying price points based upon different customer viewing preferences."

The dispute centered on how streaming services had changed the industry, with Charter saying the old pay-TV model was "broken." In a joint statement Monday, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter CEO Chris Winfrey 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." The deal restores ESPN access to Charter customers in time for the much-anticipated game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, the first with Aaron Rodgers as a Jets quarterback, the AP reports. (More Disney stories.)

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