Get ready, New York tri-state area: September 30 is the day when Disney’s contract with Altice USA, the owner of the Cablevision systems, expires. Altice bought Cablevision last year and will rebrand it under its corporate name next year. But in the present, Altice and Disney are under the usual midnight-hour talks as the September 30 drop dead date approaches.
According to NBC’s Claire Atkinson, Disney and Altice are disputing over money (surprise!) and the subscriber fees for its networks including ABC and ESPN. And if the two sides can’t come to terms by the end of this month, the signals for ABC, Disney Channel, and, of course, the ESPN Family of Networks could be pulled.
Atkinson writes that, “Disney is asking for a “gigantic” pay rise for its package of channels, according to one source,” which doesn’t come as a surprise.
As we have seen with these disputes, the cable provider and the content provider will negotiate until the deadline, sometimes extend talks, and then finally pull the signals of the networks when the two sides can’t come to an agreement. Sometimes, subscribers lose their channels for a short period of time, but in some extreme cases, they can last a few weeks, or even a few months.
Altice is preparing for the worst, but as talks continue with Disney, both sides remain optimistic that a deal can be done before the September 30 deadline. However, Atkinson reports that Altice and Disney are still far apart on what they feel is a fair price.
Sticking with cable providers like Altice is Disney’s plans to launch its own streaming services for both ESPN and movies in direct competition with cable, which would be an attractive option for cord cutters, those looking to cut the cord, and those who have never subscribed to a pay TV provider.
So in the meantime, Altice and Disney are talking and many subscribers are hoping that they will come to an agreement before September 30.