As Disney continues to press ahead with their streaming initiatives, all is not well on the linear cable front, Deadline reports. In their efforts to bolster viewership and accommodate the growing popularity of streaming services, Charter Spectrum Cable and Walt Disney Co. have come to an agreement after a nearly two-week blackout that affected more than two dozen channels that fell under the Disney umbrella.
As of this writing, the following networks will no longer be included in Spectrum TV video packages: Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXX, Nat Geo Wild, and Nat Geo Mundo.
Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXX, Nat Geo Wild, and Nat Geo Mundo are no longer included in Spectrum TV video packages
The blackout came just a day after Archer’s season 14 premiere. Though the carriage dispute has been resolved, 14.7 million subscribers had difficulty watching Archer, as well as some of their other favorite shows over a 10-day period. Fortunately for Spectrum customers, some concessions have been made after an agreement has been reached between Charter and Disney.
Spectrum customers on the select plan will be able to access their favorite Disney-owned shows through the ad-supported tier of Disney+, but this doesn’t necessarily solve the problem for FX-owned properties that are almost exclusively streamed on Hulu.
Though FXX has been dropped from Spectrum, FX (the flagship network for FX-branded programming) is still available. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Spectrum customers can continue to finish the final season of Archer through FX, or through video on demand.
Fortunately for fans of FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has been renewed through season 18, will have a year to figure out how and where to view the series. In other words, everything should fall into its rightful place by the time the gang kicks off another season full of misadventures. As of this writing, the only way to continue watching FXX programming is through Hulu, not Disney+.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has done some damage control in regard to this rift between Disney and Charter, and has directed the Department of Public Service to issue refunds to customers who were left without programming during the carriage dispute.
She did not mince her words when she said, “If you pay your cable bill, you deserve to get the services you paid for.” It’s one thing to miss out on your favorite sitcom or cartoon, but let’s not forget about the customers who lost access to ESPN and other Disney-owned channels, who wanted to watch their sports programming in real-time.
“If you pay your cable bill, you deserve to get the services you paid for.” – New York Governor Kathy Hochul
As a result of this changing of availability to paying customers, Charter will also be offering Disney’s direct-to-customer services to all its customers for purchase at retail rates, which will include services like Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN, as well as a Disney bundle.
By now, we’re very much used to the shell and ball game that both cable and streaming services have been playing as they continue to restructure in a way that’s profitable.
This recent conflict between Disney and Charter is just another example of the kind of fallout viewers will experience as networks change hands, and move programming around to properly accommodate their viewing audience that has largely gravitated toward streaming over traditional linear cable offerings.