Disney and Spectrum have a deal, just in time for Monday Night Football.
The cable TV giant Charter Communications, which operates the Spectrum cable service, has cut a new carriage deal with The Walt Disney Co., meaning that ESPN, the local ABC stations, FX, Disney Channel and Freeform will one again be available to its pay-TV subscribers, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Disney’s channels had been blacked out for nearly 15 million Spectrum subscribers since the evening of Aug. 31, when the channels were pulled in the middle of a U.S. Open tennis match and college football game.
Charter subsequently hosted a conference call with Wall Street analysts, where it ratcheted up the pressure, telling them it was prepared to abandon its pay TV business and seek alternative video offerings.
“We’re on the edge of a precipice. We’re either moving forward with a new collaborative video model, or we’re moving on,” Charter CEO Chris Winfrey said on the call.
A sticking point for Charter was the desire to offer Disney’s streaming services in its pay TV service, and having more flexibility and what channels it offered in different packages.
Analysts, meanwhile, largely noted the negative impact to Disney, while acknowledging Charter’s claim that it was “economically indifferent” to the video business.
Charter Spectrum, which is the dominant cable operator in both New York City and Los Angeles, is a key player in the pay-TV ecosystem.
More to come.