The dispute between Disney and Charter Communications regarding blackouts has come to an end.
Prior to “Monday Night Football,” which is broadcast on Disney’s ESPN, the companies reached a deal that would enable millions of Charter cable customers to watch the game.
The agreement will allow some of Charter’s pay TV customers to access Disney+ and ESPN+ ad-supported streaming apps, while also rewarding Disney with an increase in subscriber fees from Charter.
According to David Faber of CNBC, the two companies were close to finalizing a deal that would provide 5% discount on pricing for Charter subscribers using Disney’s streaming services.
The agreement’s announcement stated that it incorporates:
Customers who purchase the Spectrum TV Select package will receive the Disney+ basic ad-supported offering.
ESPN+ will be made available to Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers.
Spectrum TV Select subscribers can now access the highly anticipated ESPN streaming service upon its launch.
The shares of Charter and Disney, along with media partners like Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global, experienced significant increases in value on Monday afternoon.
Earlier this summer, Charter declared that it would introduce a sports-lite package to its customers, with primarily negating regional sports networks and offering an even more affordable option for consumers who do not watch the networks.
ESPN+ subscriptions will be included in the Spectrum TV Select Plus plan, which includes access to the local sports channels.
The plans are expected to be released in the third quarter.
Customers who opt for the Spectrum TV Select package will receive Disney+’s ad-supported option. When ESPN introduces its direct-to-consumer streaming option, these customers can also access it.
The inclusion of Disney’s ad-supported streaming apps for Charter customers was deemed stalled and resulted in nagging. Although this deal doesn’t provide all Charter pay TV subscribers with access to Disney app content, it does mean that pay television distributors are moving towards using the service due to increased cord cutting.
The disagreement between Charter and Disney had been ongoing since late August, when carriage renewal talks fell through. This left millions of customers without access to Disney TV channels such as ESPN, FX, and even Disney Channel.
The blackout affected Charter, which had approximately 14.7 million customers in 41 states, including New York, one of its major television markets. Despite this, the disagreement continued beyond the NFL season’s start on Thursday and ended just in time for the “Monday Night Football” matchup between the New york Jets and Buffalo Bills.
Some Spectrum pay TV customers opted for internet TV options such as Hulu + Live TV or Google’s YouTube TV. Following the blackout, Disney reported that HULU +Live TV sign-ups were over 60% higher than expected.
Antenna recorded a surge in internet TV signups during the NFL and college football season, with Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV seeing higher growth.
Network owners, including Disney, have relied heavily on the NFL as a major negotiation tool. Over $100 billion was paid by media companies to air NFL games over an 11-year period.
Disney’s ownership of ABC includes some “Monday Night Football” games, and ESPN+ has an exclusive “MN” game this season. CNBC reported that Disney will pay approximately $2.7 billion per year for these rights.