Disney urges Charter customers to switch to Hulu amid cable TV blackout

09:25 07.09.2023

In a surprising move, Disney has slashed the price of its streaming service, Disney+, to under $2 as it continues to battle with cable provider Charter Communications. The promotion, which runs through September 20th, reduces the price of the advertising-based tier from $7.99 to $1.99 per month for three months before returning to the previous rate. This price drop comes at a time when Disney is preparing to release a wave of new movies, including Pixar's Elemental and the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of "The Little Mermaid". It is also an effort to add new customers to the streaming service, which currently has 146.1 million subscribers.

Disney's decision to lower the price may be a response to the recent decline in subscriber growth, with the service losing 11.7 million subscribers in the most recent quarter. It could also be related to the ongoing dispute with Charter and potential advertising shortfalls. However, the exact reasons behind the price drop are unclear at this time.

The battle between Disney and Charter has resulted in the blackout of popular Disney channels, including ESPN, in nearly 15 million homes. Charter, the second largest cable TV company, blocked Disney's cable channels from being shown on its Spectrum network in major markets such as New York and Los Angeles after failing to secure a distribution agreement. This has left millions of viewers without access to the US Open tennis tournament and other sporting events.

Charter has stated that it had been paying approximately $2.2 billion in annual programming costs to Disney, excluding advertising revenue. The cable company claims to have offered Disney a fair deal but accuses the company of demanding an excessive increase and seeking to limit customer choice in programming packages.

In response to the blackout, Disney has urged angry customers to subscribe to its own Hulu + Live TV or other streaming TV services, stating that consumers have many other choices to enjoy Disney's programming. The company emphasized that there are no contracts, cable boxes, or wait times required to subscribe to its streaming services.

Both Disney and Charter have stated that they are still in ongoing discussions but have yet to reach a new agreement. Disney has successful deals in place with other pay-TV providers across the country, and the rates and terms it is seeking in this renewal are driven by the marketplace, according to the company.

As the dispute continues, Disney is encouraging Charter Communications customers to cut the cord and switch to its Hulu + Live TV service. The company sent a similar message across its social media channels, urging viewers to choose its service over Charter's Spectrum TV. Charter currently has around 14.7 million subscribers in major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Dallas.

The blackout of Disney channels on Charter's Spectrum TV has impacted customers and disrupted access to popular programming. Charter has expressed disappointment with Disney's position and its negative impact on customers. The two companies remain at odds, leaving viewers in limbo while negotiations continue.

/ Thursday, September 7, 2023, 9:25 AM /

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