Disney and Charter Communications announced a “transformative” agreement on Monday, putting an end to a closely watched dispute over the future of cable TV with significant implications for the so-called streaming wars amid a historic double strike in Hollywood.
Charter had taken the unprecedented step of blacking out all Disney-owned channels for its cable customers, a previously unthinkable step considering it has one of the traditional big three broadcasting channels in ABC and the cable sports giant ESPN.
In the agreement, Charter received its main request: free access to Disney’s streaming services for its customers. All Charter cable customers will now have access to the ad supported versions of Disney+ and ESPN+, according to the announcement.
Charter customers will also get free access to an upcoming direct-to-consumer version of ESPN, when it is released, one of the first indications that the much-speculated DTC version of ESPN is indeed in the works. No timeline was provided for the release of this new ESPN service.
Disney CEO called the agreement “an innovative model for the future.”
[This is breaking news update and will be updated.]