Disney and Spectrum have gone to war. Each side says it is in the right and has painted the other to be the villain. Spectrum says Disney wanted too much money. Disney says they offered a fair deal. It’s a PR nightmare on both sides.
Spectrum viewers recently found themselves in the dark–literally– as Disney-owned channels, including ABC, ESPN, Disney Junior, and FX were pulled from their service. Even more frustratingly, it happened right in the middle of a highly anticipated Utah/FSU football game.
It boils down to a contract dispute. Disney wants more money from Charter (the parent company of Spectrum) to continue providing their channels to customers. Spectrum doesn’t want to pay more money. Negotiations stalled, and Disney pulled their channels from the cable provider.
Today, in an effort to do damage control, Disney released a statement detailing what viewers need to know about the dispute. In the statement, they claim that Spectrum declined a negotiation extension that would’ve allowed Disney-owned channels to remain on the air.
The statement aims to “cut through the noise” and provide consumers with the facts of the matter. The problem is that there are two sides to every story, and Disney’s statement only tells their side. Regardless, it does do an excellent job of explaining their position concisely.
According to Disney’s statement, “Even though Charter also claims to value Disney’s direct-to-consumer services, the cable company is demanding these different services for free — as they have stated publicly — which does not make economic sense.”
The statement acknowledges that this is a stressful situation and encourages viewers to switch providers in order to access Disney’s programming. This drastic measure would essentially cripple the cable provider, assuming everyone followed Disney’s suggestion and jumped ship.
The announcement places the blame squarely at the feet of Charter, saying, “Although Charter claims that they value their customers, they declined Disney’s offer to extend negotiations which would have kept Disney-owned networks up for consumers in the middle of perennial programming events like the US Open and college football.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger is said to be a master negotiator. A deal will undoubtedly be reached because neither company can afford to lose the other. However, Disney’s statement hints at the blackout being long-term as the two companies strive to find a mutually agreeable solution. To view Disney’s entire statement click here.