Disney Networks return to Spectrum in groundbreaking deal with Charter Communications

Sep 11, 2023 in "ESPN"

Posted: Monday September 11, 2023 11:52am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications have revealed a groundbreaking multiyear distribution deal aimed at delivering value to customers and bolstering the traditional TV model amid industry shifts. Thanks to the agreement, a significant portion of Disney's networks will be reinstated for Spectrum's video clientele.

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."

Among the 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.

Disney's TV channels, including ABC, ESPN, FX and Freeform, had been unavailable on Charter Spectrum, the country's second-largest cable TV provider, with 14.7 million subscribers, since September 1, 2023.

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Disney IrishSep 13, 2023

Outside of maybe Freeform and maybe FXX, I would say of Disney's varying channels those are probably the least watched of all of them, so its probably not a great loss if they do get shutdown.

TsWade2Sep 13, 2023

I hate to admitted, but maybe you’re sadly right.😢

Slpy3270Sep 13, 2023

People saying Disney winding down Freeform, Disney XD, Nat Geo Wild and FXX despite their wide availability and high sub fees clearly did not pay attention to the fate of NBCSN, which had 80 million homes when Comcast decided to take it off the air. Comcast more or less opened the floodgates for all the other media conglomerates to start closing down their other networks if they felt like it. Say goodbye to Discovery Family, Logo TV, Boomerang and Universal Kids soon.

TsWade2Sep 12, 2023

What are you guys talking about? We got ABC and Disney Channel back! What’s the problem now?☹️

Disney IrishSep 11, 2023

Most the streamers are selling ads now in their lower cost tiers. Also there was never a guarantee to how many people would be watching a particular cable channel say at 11am, it was all guesstimates. At least with streaming you know exactly how many viewers are watching x show at any given moment, allowing for more targets ads, ie the holy grail for advertisers. So if I want to watch Season 5 of Stranger Things I can only see that on Netflix and no where else. Put ads on that and bam you got a captive audience for that show. Put ads on all Netflix shows and BAM, you got a captive audience of all Netflix subscribers, all 238M of them, while they are subscribed. Churn, pump and dump, or whatever doesn't matter. As they switch to another streamer, say this time D+, and you got ads watching Ahsoka if you're on a ad supported tier. Switch to Max to watch House of Dragons, and you got ads. Switch to Paramount+ to watch Yellowstone, and you got ads. Want to watch Youtube to watch a cooking show, you got ads. Want to watch your favorite gamer on Twitch, you got ads. Point is its a captive audience while they are subscribed to any streamer that has ads, and they are all pretty much moving that way if they haven't already. The idea that just because you can easily and quickly cancel is irreverent, you're a captive to the ads if you want to stream shows. Also as we know there will always be a certain numbers of subs that will just remain for each services, that is what advertisers are after, its why streamers are making their no-ad tiers more expensive to entice them to renew at the ad-supported tiers. Also this isn't Disney suits talk, this is just logical sense on how streaming is and will be profitable. Older, we've had this discussion only about 100x before.

SirwalterraleighSep 11, 2023

It was going well…till this. You do understand what a captive audience is, correct? It was cable…bundled and very difficult to discontinue with no other competition. Trapped to a clock to see things. Now stream… All on demand. No guarantee when and how many people will work watch IF they watch… Nothing stopping anyone from cancelling at any time. Takes seconds. Also…cause Hollywood…limits on the draw over the calendar year. The problem with D+ is people aren’t paying for Bambi…they’re paying for 8 episodes of one or two shows. Pump and dump will become more prevalent as prices rise…not less. Which affects their ability to sell ads at higher and higher fees. And you have to really increase content to get the traffic to sell the ads. You gotta think before the “lecture babble”…the Disney suits are telling you stuff and you’re “adopting it” from their mental orphanage. This is the question neither you or the other mice will answer: If the same cable model - trapped to sell ads - works for stream…then why haven’t any of these guys done it already? “Patience” is a Wall Street/Hollywood thing These days? It doesn’t scan. The only one making much headway is Netflix…and they have tried a different approach to the others…so far. My age? Do you think I’m older or younger?

Disney IrishSep 11, 2023

This is where you're not understanding the whole streaming market, its all captive. You have a viewer watching a Youtube video of their favorite gamer, that is a captive audience. You have viewers watching the latest streaming show, whether its a weekly drop or a binge show. That is who advertisers are going after. This is where your age is showing, no offense. The younger viewers are actively on their devices while watching streaming shows. They are playing games, doing web searches, looking at social media, etc, all while watching their streaming programs. Its why advertisers are trying to make sure ads are all over everything that same viewer is doing. They want to make sure that the viewer is seeing an ad whether its in their favorite mobile game, in that Youtube video, that web search, their streaming program, etc.

SirwalterraleighSep 11, 2023

I agree…but selling ads based on a captive tv audience has been usurped. But they will try. Completely disagree with that. If you’re on a phone or computer…you’re actively searching for info. Watching tv is different…you don’t want to think about anything else. They always were a nuisance. But nobody had a choice. That’s over. But you know what opinions are like…and we all got one.

Disney IrishSep 11, 2023

Well if its not this plan, it'll be another plan where they put ads in-front of our eyeballs. Its too lucrative not to. The day that companies give up on trying to push ads on us is the day consumerism and the free market dies. An ad is an ad is an ad, doesn't matter the type of ad mechanism being used. Its all about giving every opportunity to put the ad in-front of eyeballs. Its why they started putting non-traditional ad breaks in the middle of programming on streaming.

SirwalterraleighSep 11, 2023

I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about that prediction I just don’t think it will work. It assumes more stupidity than even the public can be given proper credit for…just my opinion. I think the interface is different. Clicking while someone is active is way different than hoping they skip their potty/fridge break… But let’s see if they can put the toothpaste back in the tube? 😎

Disney IrishSep 11, 2023

And this is what I've been talking about was the plan for a couple years now. But I got ridiculed and scoffed at that it was never going to happen, and yet here we are. Consumers will end up becoming accustom to ads again on streaming services, or will pay more for services without ads like Youtube Premium. As for whether Madison Avenue, or now any region since its all digital, will pay, I think the answer is yes. I think I read somewhere that the average is $50M per year by major corps to have their ads at the top of Google search results. So yeah ads are still going to be sold and bought, even in a streaming world, and we consumers just have to accept its part of our life.

SirwalterraleighSep 11, 2023

I don’t disagree That’s “the plan” I just think the primary advantage of on demand programming is that it dumped ads…and no one realized till they didn’t have them how tedious and unnecessary they are Remember the primary ad engine now - search engines - are tailored by the matrix now as well Madison Avenue used to pay to saturate…will they pay now? Fascinating…nonetheless

Disney IrishSep 11, 2023

Notice the type of D+ subs from Charter are the ad supported subs. So Disney gets ad revenue even though Charter is giving the subs away for free, just like every other Disney owned channel on Spectrum. This in my opinion will end up being the future of "cable", companies like Charter or Comcast, or whomever, that will offer the ad supported streamers for a single fee in-place of traditional cable. This is basically what Charter was threatening to do if they had to pull out of traditional cable. We got a peek behind the curtains at their future plans, its the old model new again. So yeah streaming is going to end up working out, maybe not in terms of $1 for $1 like cable revenue, but because it'll end up being similar to cable in the long run with ad support in a bundled way.

SirwalterraleighSep 11, 2023

Correct…and Disney wants “free money” from cable…as opposed to “theoretical money” for its streams where the math isn’t working and they are hoping consumers and advertisers bail them out of it… A lot of bluster. Don’t think those kick in D+ subs from charter Are gonna pay Bob $29.99 a month