As of late, Disney has been involved in a situation involving a major cable provider. The House of Mouse found itself engaged in a carrier dispute with Charter Communications – the operator the Spectrum TV. Said dispute led to about 15 million customers being left without ESPN, Disney Channel and other networks owned by the entertainment conglomerate. Amid the situation Disney also shared a blistering take on the disagreement. Now, the business squabble has been resolved and, in the aftermath, Bob Iger released a statement that was far less harsh.
News of the updated deal between the companies was reported on Monday, and both sides are apparently satisfied with the manner in which the proceedings shook out. At least, that’s the feeling one gets by what was said by the heads of the companies. Disney CEO Bob Iger released a joint statement with Charter’s head honcho, Chris Winfrey. The two execs discussed their shared desire to have an “innovative” approach to their business dealings moving forward. They also touched on what this agreement represents in their eyes:
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.
This statement, which was shared with The Hollywood Reporter, is vastly different in tone from what’s been said by both companies as of late. Spectrum accused Disney of ignoring its proposals for new deals while simultaneously only seeking to raise costs for carrying its content. As mentioned by the trade, one of the most significant points of contention revolving around Charter Communications wanting more flexibility when it comes to the channels it offers customers. Additionally, it also wanted permission to offer the entertainment titan’s streaming services.
Charter may now find itself in a prime position to attract prospective (or even existing) Disney+ subscribers. A “wholesale agreement” now allows select Spectrum TV customers to have access to the ad-based tier of the flagship streaming platform. Those who partake in the carrier’s Select TV Plus service can also gain access to ESPN+. So Monday Night Football fans should be pleased, for the most part.
Before both sides signed on the dotted line though, the two corporations shared some blunt thoughts on the state of affairs. Disney, in particular, didn’t hold back. The corporate entity expressed interest in resuming talks with Spectrum amid the dispute. But simultaneously, it told consumers that “they have many options today and can choose from competing pay TV providers that offer Disney’s entire portfolio of networks and programming.” It also accused Charter of making this past Labor Day weekend “stressful” for viewers due to the standstill. In a subsequent message, the House of Mouse further recommended that those wishing to have their content direct themselves to Hulu + Live TV, per Fox Business. All in all, it goes without saying that this message is a lot softer than those previous ones.
This is just one of the business matters Bob Iger has had to contend with since he returned to The Walt Disney Company in November 2022 and began making big changes. He’s also overseen the brand’s lawsuit against Florida governor Ron DeSantis and had to contend with a string of box office disappointments. All of that aside though, Iger and his colleagues can at least, breathe a sigh of relief over the fact that the company’s relationship with Charter and Spectrum has been smoothed over.