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.”
Now, the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, is asking Spectrum to refund its customers for the missing channels. “It’s simple: if you pay your cable bill, you deserve to get the services you pay for,” Governor Hochul said. “An ongoing corporate dispute is forcing customers to miss some of the highest profile televised events of the year – the least these companies can do is provide a refund. Disney and Charter must continue negotiating in good faith to ensure affordability and consumer choice. I also urge Disney to continue providing its programming under the terms of the prior agreement while negotiations continue. My Administration is committed to consumer protections for all New Yorkers.”
Department of Public Service CEO and Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said, “Governor Hochul is giving voice to millions of New Yorkers who are frustrated that they cannot view all of their cable channels, and who have a right to be refunded for services that they are unable to access. The Department of Public Service will work diligently to ensure Charter provides customers appropriate bill credits in a timely manner.”
For now, both sides seem very far apart. Spectrum says Disney’s streaming services have sped up the decline of cable TV. With the launch of Disney+, 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.
As we first reported last Sunday, Spectrum customers can get a $15 credit, but you need to ask for it, and the only way to get it is by calling Spectrum and asking for the discount.
To help deal with this flood of calls, Spectrum has told its customer service agents they can get unlimited overtime for the next few weeks. This is a move to help Spectrum deal with the flood of calls it is expecting by dropping ESPN and other networks.
This $15 credit is a one-time and will only be available to Spectrum customers who call or message asking for the discount. At this time that is the only refund Spectrum is offering.