Disney urges Spectrum users to switch to Hulu live plan

September 4, 2023 11:18 PM EDT

FILE PHOTO: A screen shows the logo and a ticker symbol for The Walt Disney Company on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) -Walt Disney urged customers of Charter Communications' Spectrum cable service to consider switching to a live television option from Hulu as the media companies remain at odds over a new distribution deal.

In a blog post on Monday, Disney said it hoped it would be able to reach an agreement to restore access to ABC, ESPN and other Disney-owned channels that have been blacked out on Charter's service since Thursday.

With no deal in place, Disney suggested that Spectrum customers sign up for Hulu + Live TV, a streaming service that offers ESPN, ABC, Disney+ and dozens of other cable channels. Disney owns a majority stake in Hulu.

"Despite the ongoing dispute, consumers have many other choices—such as Hulu + Live TV—that allow them to enjoy the great programming for which Disney Entertainment is known," the company said in a statement.

“There’s no contract, no cable box, and no wait time to subscribe,” Disney said in the blog post.

It sent a similar message across the company's social media channels.

Disney pulled its channels off Charter's Spectrum cable service last week in the middle of U.S. Open tennis coverage and other live sporting events including college football.

Charter's dispute with Disney stems in part from the fees Disney is seeking for its programming at a time when cable TV viewership is on the decline and streaming on the rise.

On Friday, Charter Chief Executive Christopher Winfrey said the disagreement was "not the typical carriage dispute."

"We're either moving forward with a new collaborative video model or we're moving on," Winfrey said.

The cable operator said it had been paying about $2.2 billion in annual programming costs to Disney, excluding the impact of advertising revenue for both parties. Charter has about 14.7 million subscribers to its Spectrum TV service in markets including New York and Los Angeles.

(Reporting by Granth Vanaik and Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Stephen Coates)

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