Recently, Spectrum cable TV started a mass fight with Disney over Disney’s plans to launch more cord cutting friendly streaming services. This fight will likely shape how TV is offered in the United States for years to come. Spectrum has accused Disney of using money from Spectrum to build its streaming services. Now DIRECTV joins in the fight, saying Disney and others are taking money from them and investing it in services that grow cord cutting.
DIRECTV’s Chief Content Officer Rob Thun told the Wall Street Journal that Disney and others are “taking our money and weaponizing it against us is a problem.” Thun went on to say that distributors have leverage during negotiations with programmers. “We all collectively represent a big chunk of these companies’ earnings.”
So now the question is are we about to see more blackouts as DIRECTV joins the fight? Recently DIRECTV drew the line with Nexstar letting a large number of locals go dark instead of raising the price of DIRECTV. Now DIRECTV says its looking at companies like Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, and NBCUniversal who have all been building streaming services that compete with them.
From the view of DIRECTV they are paying a lot of money to companies like Disney who are using that money to support unprofitable streaming services like Disney+. In the case of Disney, they are also building a streaming service to offer ESPN without the need for cable TV.
2023 is an important moment for cord cutting. Spectrum has made it clear that they are willing to walk away from TV if Disney won’t agree to changes. Spectrum even went to far as to say cable TV is no longer working, and change is needed. Now it seems that DIRECTV, the 3rd largest provider of live TV in the United States agrees that Disney and others are using their money to build their streaming services.
Spectrum is asking Disney to help them bundle streaming services with cable channels. Spectrum also wants flexibility to offer cheaper TV packages. Now the question is what will DIRECTV ask from companies like Disney?
No matter what happens, it seems that in 2023 cable TV companies have reached a breaking point and have started to push back.