Thanks to a last minute agreement between Disney and Altice, millions of pay TV customers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut will not lose their ability to watch ABC, ESPN, and other channels under the Disney programming umbrella. A tentative deal was reached on Sunday that will allow Disney and the nation’s fourth-largest cable provider to continue their business relationship.
The agreement was reached at the tail end of negotiations between the two companies. The dispute began when Altice found Disney’s pricing extremely high and unfair to the cable operator, calling it “outrageous”; Altice hosts Disney programming on its Optimum cable service. Disney saw their pricing as reasonable and Altice as greedy, saying the cable provider gets an average of $160 per month from their customers and that “the bulk of that money goes into their pocket.”
Had a deal not been managed, Optimum’s 3.1 million customers were looking at a loss of their Disney programming, including ESPN one day before “Monday Night Football” and two days before a playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins.
A joint statement by Disney and Altice said,
“We have reached an agreement in principle and have extended the deadline accordingly to try and finalize the terms.”
Anonymous sources referenced by Reuters said that Disney was able to arrange increases for “ESPN, local affiliate WABC and other major networks”, but the actual amounts have not been disclosed.