ESPN, Other Disney Networks Could Stop Using Cable Spectrum in Fee Battle – Deadline

ESPN and 18 other Disney networks have been shut down as well as ABC stations via Spectrum, the No. 2 cable TV service in the United States.

Charter Communications, which operates the Spectrum, and Disney were locked in a long-running distribution dispute before the US Open started this week. In the coming days, the NFL will kick off, which could put two huge sports properties on the list of programs not available to Spectrum customers.

Besides the ESPN family of networks, the carriage battle also includes FX and a number of non-sports networks, as well as ABC stations. (See the full list below.)

Spectrum ran spots during ESPN’s coverage of the US Open Thursday, warning its customers of a looming power outage and urging them to call a toll-free number to express concern about losing ABC and Disney.

Disney’s cable networks shut down at 5 p.m. PT, in the middle of live coverage of the Carlos Alcaraz-Lloyd Harris US Open match on ESPN, leaving only a black screen. Minutes later, a message appeared informing viewers that The Walt Disney Company had “removed” its programming.

ABC’s local Los Angeles station, KABC-TV, stayed on for about 10 to 15 minutes after 5 p.m. before it also went dark, displaying the same message from Spectrum.

“We have been in ongoing negotiations with Charter Communications for some time and have yet to agree on a new market-based agreement,” Disney Entertainment said in a statement provided to Deadline. As a result, Spectrum TV subscribers can no longer access our unparalleled collection of live sports and news coverage as well as children, family and general entertainment programming from ABC-owned television stations, ESPN networks, Disney-branded channels and Freeform. “. and FX Networks and National Geographic Channels. Disney Entertainment has successful deals with pay-TV providers of all types and sizes across the country, and the prices and terms we’re pursuing in this renewal are market-driven. We are committed to reaching a mutually agreed solution to the charter and urge them to work with us to minimize inconvenience to their customers.”

As the pay-TV package shrinks, the economic pressure increases significantly on both operators and programmers to come to acceptable financial terms. With millions of subscribers cutting the service each year, programmers are looking to secure price increases. With the war raging with Disney and Charters, another dispute is in its third month, with Nexstar Media Group, parent of The CW and owner of the largest local station group in the US, still at odds with DirecTV. Transportation disputes have paralyzed viewership for decades, but the current battles have intensified as they become existential battles played out in the shadows of Big Tech.

“We are disappointed with The Walt Disney Company’s decision to remove its networks from our collection and deny our customers the opportunity to watch,” Charter said in its statement. “We will agree to a big increase in interest rates for Walt Disney Company despite its ratings drop. “But they try to force our customers to pay for their expensive shows, even those customers who don’t want it or worse, can’t afford it.”

In a stark conclusion, the statement continued, “The current video ecosystem is broken. With The Walt Disney Company, we have proposed a model that creates better industry alignment and better options for our customers. We hope we can find a way forward.”

The following is the full list of affected networks and stations, according to Spectrum:

ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN News, SEC Network, ACC Network, Longhorn Network, FX, FX Movie Channel, FXX, Freeform, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD BabyTV ABC On Demand programming and the following local ABC stations: ABC7 Chicago, ABC7 Los Angeles, ABC7 New York, ABC7 San Francisco, ABC11 Raleigh-Durham, ABC13 Houston, ABC30 Fresno.

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