Disney and Charter ‘patch it up’

September 12, 2023

Walt Disney and Charter Communications have agreed to end a dispute over fees and terms after a 10-day ‘go dark’ stand-off.

Disney will now allow Charter to offer some of its ad-supported streaming channels — including Disney+ and ESPN+ — to its customers as part of a ‘wholesale’ arrangement. Full programming has been restored to about 14 million viewers. The deal came hours before the first Monday Night Football (pictured) broadcast of the 2023 season, a cornerstone of Disney’s ESPN line-up. The companies called the agreement “transformative”.

Charter’s chief executive, Chris Winfrey, had said the cable TV business model was “broken” by streaming and openly suggested to investors the possibility of abandoning the business to concentrate on its larger broadband market.

The deal includes a smaller, “more curated” line-up of Disney networks, including the full suite of ESPN sports channels, FX, and Nat Geo, among others. Charter subscribers will lose access to some Disney networks, including Disney Junior, Freeform, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo.

Financial terms were not disclosed.