Last week, Spectrum subscribers lost Disney-owned networks, including ESPN, FX, Disney Channel, and even Disney-owned ABC stations. Spectrum made it very clear that this will be a different kind of fight, and they want Disney to change how the cable TV model works.
At the core of this fight seems to be Disney’s plans to launch a direct-to-consumer streaming service for ESPN. Now Spectrum is asking Disney to agree to let Spectrum sell bundles of its streaming services at discounted prices. According to Spectrum, this new model “creates the pathway for Disney to stabilize its linear losses and grow its DTC business, ultimately preserving cash flows.”
Spectrum says Disney’s streaming services have sped up the decline of cable TV. With the launch of Disne+, Spectrum says viewership on the Disney Channel dropped. Now Spectrum says with ESPN’s own direct-to-consumer service launching soon its time to make changes in how cable TV works. Now if Disney won’t agree to these new terms, Spectrum is willing to wait it out and even walk away from this fight.
So, how long will this Spectrum and Disney fight last?
One hint we have is that Spectrum has told its TV customers they can get 30% off of Fubo so they can watch Disney-owned networks like ESPN for two months. The fact that they are willing to give this discount for two mounts suggests that this likely will be a long fight.
Spectrum has also repeatedly said that they are willing to walk away from Disney and never offer Disney-owned channels again.
During a call with media and investors, Spectrum made it clear that if Disney is not willing to a new distribution model they will be willing to walk away from Disney. Spectrum said this includes being willing to focus on offering bundles of streaming services to its internet customers. Spectrum also talked about working with free providers like Xumo to offer TV options to its customers.
Spectrum said they are even willing to watch many TV customers cancel their service, leaving them only with subscribers ho do not care about sports.
So, how long will this fight last? It is very possible that this fight could go on for months. With that said, at any moment, one side or the other could change their mind, but for now, both sides seem to be digging in their feet to outlast the other. In statements from both Spectrum and Disney both sides made it clear they are willing to fight for what they want.
With the start of ESPN, you may want to start thinking about backup plans. The good news is most streaming services come without contracts allowing you to cancel at any time. If you are a Spectrum customer looking for ways to watch ESPN, HERE is a great list of your options.