Disney-Owned Channels, Including ABC and ESPN, Go Dark for Charter Spectrum Subscribers
In a major blow to sports and entertainment fans, Disney Entertainment-owned channels, including ABC and ESPN, went dark on Thursday night for Charter Spectrum subscribers. The blackout was the result of a failed agreement between Charter and Disney on the terms for Charter to carry Disney's programming. The dispute came at a critical time, as ESPN was airing both the U.S. Open tennis tournament and a highly anticipated college football game between the University of Utah and the University of Florida.
Charter Spectrum, the nation's second-largest cable TV provider, has 14.7 million subscribers who were left without access to popular Disney-owned channels such as the Disney Channel, ESPN, Freeform, National Geographic, and numerous local ABC stations. The blackout affected major cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Houston.
Spectrum responded to the blackout by expressing their disappointment and frustration. In a statement on their website, Spectrum created a platform called disneyespnfairdeal.com, stating, "The Walt Disney Company has removed their programming from Spectrum which creates hardship for our customers. We offered Disney a fair deal, yet they are demanding an excessive increase." Spectrum accused Disney of wanting to limit the choice of programming packages for viewers, forcing them to pay for channels they may not want.
Additionally, Spectrum claimed that the rising cost of programming is the primary factor behind higher cable TV prices, and they are determined to resist the rates imposed by companies like Disney. However, Disney defended its pricing strategy, stating that the rates and terms they are seeking in this renewal are driven by the marketplace. Disney emphasized that they have successful deals in place with various pay TV providers across the country.
The blackout occurred during crucial sporting events, leaving fans outraged and disappointed. ESPN was broadcasting a college football game between Florida and the University of Utah, as well as the U.S. Open tennis tournament. The move drew criticism from the U.S. Tennis Association, with spokesman Chris Widmaier expressing disappointment and hoping for a swift resolution to the dispute.
Charter Spectrum's blackout also affected other Disney-owned channels, including ABC-owned stations, Disney-branded channels, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic. The impact extended beyond major cities like New York and Los Angeles, as Charter Spectrum is the major cable carrier in other significant markets such as Dallas/Fort Worth, Orlando, Tampa, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Las Vegas.
Both Charter Spectrum and the Walt Disney Company assured subscribers that negotiations are ongoing, and they are committed to reaching a resolution that would restore Disney-owned programming to Spectrum subscribers. Disney urged Charter Spectrum to work with them to minimize the disruption to their customers. The hope remains that sports and entertainment fans will soon regain access to their beloved channels and programming.
themes: Los Angeles Chicago Houston Illinois California Florida Texas New York (state) Missouri Wisconsin Utah Las Vegas Kansas