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Who Blinks First

For those of you that live outside the coverage area for Charter/Spectrum cable you may not be aware of the major stalemate currently going on between them and the Disney family of channels over a new contract agreement.

Charter/Spectrum has about a 20% market share of the cable industry, or roughly 15 million subscribers, including most of the Southern California market which means I am included in their coverage. As an additional layer of problems a chunk of my monthly HOA fee goes to our cable package which includes our internet connection also.

The Disney family of broadcast networks is a behemoth in the content producing world of television and they have been holding a gun to the head of cable and satellite companies for years when asking for crazy money for their content, and getting it. Until now.

Over the Labor Day weekend Disney pulled the plug on all of their cable programming to Charter/Spectrum leaving all of us watchers not being able to see any of the US Open tennis, college football on ESPN, or anything on the other channels. This has not effected the ABC television network, yet.

The standoff, according to CNN and other reporting news sources comes down to this. Charter/Spectrum is paying Disney $2.2 billion dollars in fees for the 2023 year. They want a sizeable increase for 2024. The problem is that Disney has created a bunch of plus (+) programming that they are selling direct to consumers as streaming options. Basically they are putting their premium programs direct to consumers and bypassing cable, yet they are asking for premium payments from cable for basic programming.

We've all seen the ads for Disney+ or ESPN+, etc. that we have to pay an additional fee to see if we are using cable. Other cable and satellite companies are reluctant to stand up to Disney because they are also programming providers and want the Disney channels like FX or National Geographic to buy their programs. (Think Comcast and Direct TV)

Charter/Spectrum is not in the program producing business so they could care less about hurting Disney feelings. In fact they would love to get out of the cable business and focus more of their efforts into their huge internet business where they love offering options like Netflix and Fubo.

Charter/Spectrum wants Disney to open up more of their top tier programming to their customers by providing greater bundling packages to them that includes the + programming. Disney wants cable customers to stream these shows and avoid cable altogether. I can tell you that usually these deals get done in a few days but this feels like it is going to last for quite a while unless Disney caves and gives Charter/Spectrum what it is asking for.

In the meantime I can't get any ESPN channels, The SEC Network, or The ACC network, for sports coverage and have already missed out on seeing my beloved NIU beat Boston College Saturday in overtime because the ACC Network was not playing on my cable. This weekend we will miss another round of college football along with the Monday Night football game.

Charter/Spectrum is working on a way to bring us those channels thru FUBO streaming but I have no idea how to even set that up so I will not be seeing anything until this is resolved. More importantly it is not like I can just cancel my cable because it is part of my HOA fees so whether or not I cancel it I will still be paying for it and I'm not going to double pay for streaming on top of that even if I knew how to do it which I don't and have no interest in learning how.

Disney is the bad guy in this stand-off and until they realize that their shit is not worth nearly as much as they think it is I will be missing some of my favorite shows until they figure things out. They better get it done before Northwestern plays Duke on the 16th which is going to be shown exclusively on the ACC Network which I can't get right now.

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