Disney To Lose $1.4 Billion Over Major Cable Fight

in Disney

Donald Duck covering his eyes

Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company has picked yet another expensive fight, this time with Charter Spectrum, one of the most powerful cable companies in the world. According to reports, this particular battle may cost the House of Mouse over $1.4 billion.

Donald Duck grimacing
Credit: Disney

Last Thursday, millions of loyal television viewers suddenly lost access to all their Disney-owned channels; that means channels like ABC, the Disney Channel, and, arguably most importantly, ESPN. While it must have come as a shock to people just trying to watch the cable services they paid for, it was not a surprise to either Disney or Charter Spectrum.

Related: As Movies and TV Fail, Disney+ Has The Last Laugh

It turns out that the two companies have been in tense contract negotiations for months, and things went poorly. Disney released a statement, saying, “We’ve been in ongoing negotiations with Charter Communications for some time and have not yet agreed to a new market-based agreement. As a result, their Spectrum TV subscribers no longer have access to our unrivaled portfolio of live sporting events and news coverage plus kids, family and general entertainment programming.”

That must have been cold comfort to viewers who expect to get the channels listed in their Charter Communications project.

Disney, Spectrum, and Cable Packages

It appears that the biggest sticking point between Disney and Spectrum Charter is the cable giant insisting that it be given more leeway in the selection of cable packages, i.e., give consumers more choice if they want channels like ESPN.

Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu logos
Credit: Disney

According to Charter Chief Executive Christopher Winfrey, the company demands that customers who do not watch sports are not forced to pay for packages that include it (per LA Times). It seems that Disney is not budging on this.

However, Spectrum Charter is a massive cable company, with 15 million subscribers across the United States. Five million of those paying customers are in California alone, the home of the Walt Disney Company. According to numerous reports, Disney gets approximately $9 from every subscriber signed up for ESPN.

People have started doing that math.

Potential Disney Losses

A report from U.S. News claims that Spectrum Charter pays Disney as much as $2.2 billion every year in programming costs. By some estimates, the House of Mouse will lose somewhere in the region of $4 million dollars every day that it does not come to an agreement with the cable company.

Apple TV versus Disney+ as Disney cuts content
Credit: Apple | Disney

According to Cord Cutters News, if the detente between Disney and Charter Communications continues, it could cost the iconic media company $1.4 just for blacking out on ESPN.

Related: Disney to Downsize: CEO Bob Iger Prepping to Sell Disney Entertainment

The Future of Disney

Needless to say, this is not the kind of thing that Disney needs to be dealing with right now. The company is in two different lawsuits with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, box office grosses have been dropping across the board, and CEO Bob Iger seemingly cannot stop saying things like writers striking for equal pay are “unrealistic” while he is paid double-digits millions every year.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Credit: Ron DeSantis

It seems that Disney’s first approach to deal with Charter Spectrum is to tell consumers to just sign up for a streaming service, so it might be a while before this gets resolved.

Will this be the issue that finally sinks the Walt Disney Company? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

in Disney

Comments Off on Disney To Lose $1.4 Billion Over Major Cable Fight