Back in September, Spectrum and Disney agreed to a deal that saw Spectrum drop eight TV channels and get free access to ESPN+ and Disney+ for its TV customers. Now, DIRECTV wants to follow Spectrum’s example by dropping channels and bundling streaming services.
Last week at the LA Sports Innovation Conference, DIRECTV Chief Content Officer Rob Thun opened up on his thoughts about the landmark deal between Spectrum and Disney.
“We were out there three or four years ago fighting for the principle that our customers shouldn’t have to pay twice,” Thun said, according to a report from Sports Business Journal. “They already have pay-TV subscriptions. They should get free access to all of the DTC platforms.”
That changed with the deal between Spectrum and Disney. The agreement resulted in Freeform, FXM, FXX, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Baby TV, Nat Geo Wild, and Net Geo Mundo all being dropped by Spectrum as part of the cable company’s programming deal with Disney.
“What’s going to happen in deals going forward, we’re going to have a better integration of different apps into our linear experience … and provide more value to customers that frankly we thought was part of the underlying licensing of channels to begin with,” Thun said.
The DIRECTV executive went on to say that he did not expect networks to push back on their plans to cut back on the number of channels they will offer. They also expected networks to work with them to bundle streaming services into their service.
In what may be a sign of many cable TV channel’s future, Thun said he didn’t want to waste resources on secondary channels and tertiary channels. Instead, he would rather put his money into Disney+.
The question now is which major provider is up first for DIRECTV. The other question is will Warner Bros. Discover and NBCUniversal be willing to drop channels in the same way Disney was.
Clearly, Cable TV is at a crossroads and now pay-TV providers are saying enough is enough with all of these small TV channels.