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Disney, charter misses the deadline, but keep talking about carriage agreement



Alternative Crop.) Duke Zion Williamson # 1 of the Duke Blue Devils dunks the ball against Syracuse Orange during their quarter-final round of the men's ACC Basketball Tournament at the Spectrum Center March 14, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (

Streeter Lecka | Getty Images

Disney and Charter are still discussing a new multi-year carriage agreement, blowing past Friday's 12:01 a.m. deadline as the two sides try to reach an agreement, according to people familiar with the matter.

The pages are making progress with an agreement and want to avoid a blackout of popular networks including ESPN, ABC and The Disney Channel, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

TV providers and content providers have become more complicated this year as major programmers, including Disney, AT & T's WarnerMedia and CBS, appear to divide the content between their linear networks and tailored streaming services.

Earlier this month , AT&T and CBS failed to reach a deal, which has caused millions of DirecTV subscribers to lose access to CBS & # 39; broadcast network. I send most of CBS & # 39; programming for $ 5.99 in the month since blackout.

The main sticking points between Charter and Disney have been questions related to ESPN, the most expensive network in the pay-TV package, the people said. One issue has been ESPN's proposed awards for ACC Network, a new cable channel that will broadcast collegiate sports for teams at the conference, including Clemson, Duke and the University of North Carolina. The ACC network is scheduled to broadcast Clemson's opening game against Georgia Tech on August 29. Clemson won last year's national football championship. About 40 percent of the charter's footprint overlaps with ACC schools.

Charter spokesmen and Disney declined to comment.

Another obstacle is how much flexibility Charter is willing to give ESPN +, Disney's $ 4.99 streaming product. The two sides are discussing potentially including ESPN + as a new network that Charter consumers can access on the set-top box, the people said.

Disney plans to pack ESPN + with Hulu and Disney + when it launches in November and wants to bolster the sports streaming service while not eroding the value of ESPN, which commands around $ 1

0 for each pay-TV subscriber. Disney will typically ask cable operators to distribute ESPN to at least 80 percent of the subscription's footprint, according to people familiar with the matter.

While pay-TV companies like Viacom have lost leverage in the transportation fee negotiations because much of its valuable programming from Nickelodeon and Comedy Central is available on streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Hulu. Disney is still asking for higher fees for ESPN and its affiliate networks because of the value of live sports, the people said. Disney has not made ESPN available as a standalone streaming option, and maintains its exclusive value in the pay-TV package.

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