Disney cranks up rhetoric in carriage fee dispute with Charter

charterDisney has upped the ante in an ongoing carriage dispute with cable operator Charter Communications in the US following the withdrawal of Disney content from the cableco.

“As the US Open reaches the men’s and women’s finals, and fans gear up for a weekend of college football and the opening of the NFL season, it’s unfortunate that Charter decided to abandon their consumers by denying them access to Disney Entertainment’s great programming,” Disney said in its latest statement on the dispute.

“While they have stated their ‘indifference’ to the needs of millions of paying customers, Disney will not lose sight of what is most important—investing in the highest-quality stories, news and sports for our audience. The question for Charter is clear: Do you care about your subscribers and what they’re telling you they want—or not? Disney stands ready to resolve this dispute and do what’s in the best interest of Charter’s customers.”

According to Disney, Charter rejected multiple offers from it to resolve the dispute ahead of the August 31 deadline for a resolution.

Disney has claimed to propose creative ways to make its streaming services available to Charter’s Spectrum TV subscribers—including opportunities for new and flexible packages where those services become a focal point of what the consumer might choose.

Disney said that although Charter claims to value Disney’s direct-to-consumer services, the cableco is demanding services for free, which Disney said does not make economic sense.

Charter had previously said that linear video subscription services have been in decline, fueled by the migration of valuable programming to DTC options coupled with a vicious cycle of programming cost increases and subscriber losses.

It said that over the past four years, The Walt Disney Company’s cable portfolio has seen significant viewership declines – across sports, general entertainment, and most dramatically in children’s programming, accelerated by the launch of Disney+.

The cableco said it made no sense in this environment to demand higher licensing fees and to force customers to pay for Disney content who do not want to use it.

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