After a 10 day service disruption resulting from the new multi-year distribution deal between Disney and Charter Communications, top Disney executives now have to quell anxieties about the networks that are no longer being distributed by Spectrum cable systems, according to Deadline. While Spectrum will still be carrying flagship stations like FX and Disney Channel, networks like Baby TV, Disney Junior, and Freeform will no longer be offered on linear service packages.
Eight networks – including Freeform and Disney Junior – will no longer be available on linear service packages from Spectrum.
The eight networks that are being taken off of the regular service will be losing nearly 20 percent of their distribution as Disney continues to shift from a linear strategy to one that has a stronger emphasis on streaming.
This sudden shift in distribution has caused fear of layoffs, which is familiar territory for Disney, who cut 7,000 jobs earlier this year to reduce costs by $5.5 billion.
In an internal memo written by Disney Entertainment co-chairs Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, and ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro, the executives have stated that their commitment to the affected networks, their programming, and the people who work for them, will remain unchanged. But those who regularly tune in to cable to watch FX affiliates like FXX or channels like Freeform will have to shift gears and start streaming some of their favorite programs.
In the memo, the three executives have made it clear that Charter will distribute Disney+ Basic to millions of their Spectrum Select customers so they can not only expand their reach and revenue, but also make sure that the content that customers used to be able to watch on cable will still be available to them through streaming.
Fortunately for cable viewers, they’ll still have access to FX programming through the regular linear distribution model.
This sudden shift in distribution has caused fear of layoffs, which is familiar territory for Disney, who cut 7,000 jobs earlier this year to reduce costs by $5.5 billion. But if Disney and Charter are correct in their assumption that shifting their focus to streaming is the right move to make, then hopefully more jobs won’t be on the line if their finances remain sound.
While Disney Junior shows will be available through Disney+, FX subsidiaries like FXX and FXM will have to be streamed moving forward.
Though nobody is happy about service disruptions, we can’t blame Disney and Charter for making this kind of shift toward streaming as they continue to give a majority of customers what they want. Fortunately for cable viewers, they’ll still have access to FX programming through the regular linear distribution model.
Considering that Disney just rolled out a bundle package that includes Hulu, which will include to select programs from the Freeform network, shows like Good Trouble and Grown-ish will be made available through streaming.
While viewers will still be able to watch FX originals like Fargo and American Horror Story on cable, FXX shows like Archer and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia will probably have to find a new home. As of this writing, upcoming episodes of Archer will be available on FX, and available for streaming on Hulu shortly after airing.
Running with this logic, it’s safe to assume that Always Sunny will be treated similarly, and we can expect Freeform programming to be available through streaming now that it’s not being offered through linear distribution.