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New deal will see Spectrum TV lose some Disney-owned channels

Freeform, FXX and Nat Geo Wild won't be available to Spectrum TV subscribers from Monday.

Freeform, FXX and Nat Geo Wild won't be available to Spectrum TV subscribers from Monday.

A landmark deal between Charter Communications and the Walt Disney Company will see Spectrum TV dropping some Disney-owned channels from its programming packages, officials confirmed on Monday.

The deal announced on Monday will see Charter provide access to core Disney-owned channels and networks to its Spectrum TV providers once again, including FX, National Geographic, ESPN and several ABC-owned local broadcast stations in major markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

But not every Disney-owned channel that was previously carried by Spectrum TV will be returning to the service, the companies announced on Monday. Specifically, eight channels will no longer be offered across Spectrum TV packages, including:

  • Baby TV
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • Freeform
  • FXM
  • FXX
  • Nat Geo Wild
  • Nat Geo Mundo

No reason was given for the decision to eliminate those channels from Spectrum TV packages, but Charter’s desire to drop them apparently comes with Disney’s blessing.

Some programs offered on FXX and Freeform, including “Archer,” “Family Guy,” “King of the Hill” and “Bob’s Burgers” are available on Disney’s general entertainment streaming service, Hulu. “The Simpsons,” which entered cable syndication on Disney-owned channels a few years ago, is available to stream on Disney Plus.

The agreement announced on Monday will see Disney providing some Spectrum TV customers with free access to the ad-supported tiers of its streaming services.

Spectrum TV subscribers with the “Select” package will get free access to the ad-supported version of Disney Plus, while “Select Plus” customers will get free access to ESPN Plus and a forthcoming streaming service that offers live access to the linear ESPN multiplex of channels.

Charter also affirmed it will work with Disney to “mitigate the effect of unauthorized password sharing” across streaming services, though specific information about this strategy wasn’t available. Executives at Disney have previously affirmed a renewed interest in curbing the trend of password sharing between subscribers and freeloaders as it works to add new subscribers to its three streaming services.

“Our collective goal has always been to build an innovative model for the future,” Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter CEO Chris Winfrey said in a joint statement on Monday. “This deal recognizes both the continued value of linear television and the growing popularity of streaming services, while addressing the evolving needs of our consumers. We also want to thank our mutual customers for their patience this past week, and are pleased that Spectrum viewers once again have access to Disney’s high-quality sports, news and entertainment programming, in time for Monday Night Football.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).