Disney said that it wanted to keep negotiations going with Spectrum, but the cable provider walked away, forcing ESPN, FX, several large local ABC stations and a number of other channels to disappear from its lineup.
“We offered Charter an extension in the negotiations to keep our networks up and they declined in the middle of programming that is important to their subscribers, including the US Open,” Disney said in a statement sent to Cord Cutters News.
Spectrum, however, denied that it was walked.
“Disney knows this is not the case,” a company spokesman told Cord Cutters News in an email. “But we’ll leave it at that so we can go back to more productive conversations for the benefit of our mutual customers.”
Charter said earlier it had offered a shorter extension to the current contract, but Disney declined.
The response comes after the two walked away from negotiations on Thursday night, leaving Spectrum customers without key channels like ESPN ahead of the college football season (see how you can watch it without Spectrum here). It’s the latest of what’s become increasingly common: a breakdown in talks between media companies and pay-TV providers that leads to consumers missing out on their favorite channels.
Disney had been relatively quiet since the blackout began, issuing a short statement on Thursday night. Today’s remarks represent a defense after Spectrum posted its side on the DisneyESPNFairDeal site and held a conference call with investors Friday morning. The cable company said it was trying to offer a new model for distribution to Disney, but was willing to walk away from the media giant.
Disney said it had offered Charter “the most favorable terms on rates, distribution, packaging, advertising and more.”
Disney also disputed Spectrum’s claim that the media company was trying to remove flexibility in consumer choice, noting that Disney offered opportunities to make Disney+ and ESPN+ available to its customers, “including opportunities for new and flexible packages where those services become a focal point of what the consumer might choose.”
Disney confirmed that Spectrum sought to provide free access to Disney streaming services for its subscribers, but argued the cable company failed to “ascribe any value in exchange for licensing those services.”
Disney said it is ready to get back to the negotiating table.