Disney and Charter have resolved the carriage dispute that blocked millions of viewers from watching ESPN, ABC, FX, and other Disney-owned networks. The two companies reached a deal on Monday, which includes bundling the upcoming ESPN streaming channel with Spectrum’s TV Select Plan.
As part of the deal, Disney Plus’ ad-supported plan will also come included with the Spectrum TV Select package, while ESPN Plus will be given to Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers. There still isn’t a timeline for when Disney could launch ESPN’s standalone streaming service, but it’s been something Disney has been considering for quite some time now.
The Charter Spectrum blackout lasted nearly two weeks, affecting 14.7 million customers in major markets like New York and Los Angeles. The dispute stemmed from a disagreement surrounding the availability of Disney’s streaming apps, which include Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and Hulu.
While Disney said Charter wanted to give its customers access to its streaming apps for “free” within the cable company’s traditional pay TV packages, Charter argued that the entertainment giant wanted to make customers “pay twice” to get the streaming apps and the “linear video they already pay for.”
“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,” Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter Communications CEO Chris Winfrey said in a joint statement.