In the wake of a massive debate over contract details between Disney and Spectrum Cable, the entertainment giant has turned its focus from Spectrum to its customers, advising them about what they should do to regain access to Disney-owned content.
Disney has found itself in yet another battle initiated by the company itself, though not with the intention of waging war. Disney and cable provider Spectrum have been in contract negotiations related to a carrier agreement between the two parties for a while now. Thursday evening, however, after failed attempts by both parties to solidify a new contract, more than 14 million Spectrum Cable subscribers tuned in to watch ESPN, National Geographic Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, and more but found that they had no access to the channels.
The screens on every Disney-owned channel across Spectrum’s cable line-up were dark, except for a message from Spectrum stating that Disney was responsible for the loss of channel access, creating a “hardship” for Spectrum customers. In the message, Spectrum encouraged subscribers to follow a link to DisneyESPNFairDeal.com. There, subscribers can click a link that will allow them to share their frustrations about the loss of access to Disney’s content directly with executives at the House of Mouse.
Disney-owned channels remained dark over the holiday weekend, and on Saturday, Disney issued a statement that offered to explain the debate between the two entertainment providers, acknowledging that “Labor Day weekend is traditionally one of the biggest sports weekends of the year. Viewers sit down to watch the anticipated return of college football and enjoy the tennis battles at the U.S. Open,” and conceding that “for millions of Spectrum cable viewers, this has not been the case this holiday weekend, since ESPN and other Disney-owned channels like ABC are blacked out due to a dispute between Spectrum’s parent company—Charter Communications—and Disney Entertainment.”
At the conclusion of the message, Disney reminded Spectrum subscribers that they have options when it comes to providers of Disney’s portfolio of content and encouraged them to visit a site dedicated to giving them details about their choices.
On Monday morning, however, The Walt Disney Company continued its battle with Spectrum, posting a blog on its official website, reminding subscribers to Spectrum Cable once again that they have options outside of Charter Communications, which owns Spectrum. But this time, Disney took full advantage of the scenario to tout one of its own.
“For starters,” the blog reads, “[Spectrum subscribers can choose] Hulu + Live TV.” The blog continues:
The service has more than 90 live channels that include sports, news, and entertainment. Hulu + Live TV starts at $69.99 a month, and you can cancel anytime. There’s no contract, no cable box, and no wait time to subscribe.
Hulu + Live TV also comes with Hulu’s deep library of exclusive TV shows and hit films, ad-supported Disney+ and ESPN+ all-in-one plan, and unlimited DVR, which allows you to record and store your favorite content for up to nine months.
It seems very possible that Spectrum’s plan to send angry subscribers Disney’s way by giving them a direct line to company exec’s email inboxes might just backfire, as Disney sounds only too happy to talk to Spectrum customers and introduce them, like Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, to a whole new world (of television content access).