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Disney blames Charter for the ESPN blackout

Disney blames Charter for the ESPN blackout


As Disney figures out the future of ESPN, streaming, and cable, its channels are blacked out on Spectrum in a carriage dispute.

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The Disney script logo inside a larger, cropped Disney “D” on a red background. The letters are white.
The Verge

Last week, Disney blocked Charter’s Spectrum cable from accessing channels like ABC and ESPN over a disagreement between the two companies over new financial terms. Today, Disney says in a blog post that although Charter “claims to value Disney’s direct-to-consumer services,” it is “demanding these different services for free.”

With cable gradually losing customers and Disney openly musing about selling ESPN on its own as a streaming channel, Charter wanted to include Disney’s streaming apps with its subscriptions. The blackout comes during a weekend when high-profile sports events like the US Open and big college football games are happening (not to mention the first NFL games start next weekend).

An image of a chart from Charter saying what’s wrong with the current video ecosystem.
Charter says Disney only has itself to blame for a video ecosystem that doesn’t work, driving up the prices for streaming and pulling content from cable.
Screenshot: Wes Davis / The Verge

In a document Charter published alongside its Friday investor call, it writes that it proposed “bundling ad-supported DTC apps with packaged linear products.” The company says that streaming is unsustainable, leading to pricier ad-free packages and new ad-supported ones — That’s just the thing streaming was supposed to save us from, but instead seems to be what we’re destined for.

Other cable companies have taken a different path in dealing with cable’s decline. Frontier and WOW!, for instance, both said to heck with it this year and essentially became YouTube TV vendors.