Walt Disney Co. and Charter Communications have agreed to end a four-week blackout of Disney-owned channels by the cable provider. The blackout of ESPN, ABC and Disney Channel was replaced with a deal to restore Disney content to Charter in time for Monday Night Football.
The dispute dates back to June, when Disney refused to extend an old distribution agreement with Charter that had been in place since 2008. Negotiations between the two companies stretched on for weeks until a deal was finally announced on Sunday night.
Under the new agreement, Charter will retain the same number of Disney channels, including ABC, ESPN, Freeform, and Disney Channel. However, the contract includes a “most favored nation” clause that will give Charter priority when it comes to pricing and access to future Walt Disney Company content. Disney also reportedly gained more flexibility when it comes to bundling smaller digital networks, such as ESPN+ and Hulu, alongside its bigger cable offerings.
The blackout was a major inconvenience for millions of Charter customers across the United States. The cable provider was not alone in its struggle to reach an agreement with Disney. Several other cable companies, including Comcast, Dish Network, and AT&T, have had similar disputes with the media conglomerate.
The resolution of the Charter-Disney dispute provides welcome news for football fans who rely on ABC and ESPN to watch Monday Night Football. The four-week blackout threatened to derail the Monday Night Football season, which is set to kick off on September 10th.