Charter contemplates distribution of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+

Charter's updated logo
Disney and Charter have also agreed to work together on piracy mitigation. (Charter Communications)

Charter and Disney today renewed their content distribution agreement, averting a possible channel blackout. The routine carriage deal announcement included some interesting information.

In addition to hammering out an agreement for Spectrum’s continued carriage of Disney channels including ABC and ESPN, the companies said the new deal also “contemplates” Charter’s future distribution of Disney’s streaming services, including Hulu, ESPN+ and the upcoming Disney+.

It’s not surprising that Disney+, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, would seek integration deals with pay TV providers to expand its reach; it’s likely discussing similar deals with Comcast and others. And it’s not surprising that Charter would want to offer integrated access to Disney+ to its subscribers. But a possible integration deal with ESPN+ or Hulu would be less common. Neither ESPN+ nor Hulu currently list any pay TV set-top boxes among their supported devices.

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Disney last week did reveal plans for a reduced-price streaming service bundle that would offer Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu with ads for $12.99 per month (approximately a $5 discount of the combined price). That could be the reason why all three services are mentioned in the announcement.

Charter did not immediately respond to a request for more details regarding future distribution of Disney’s streaming services.

That wasn’t the only surprising detail in the news release.

Disney and Charter have also agreed to work together on piracy mitigation. The two companies will collaborate to “implement business rules and techniques to address such issues as unauthorized access and password sharing.”

“This agreement will allow Spectrum to continue delivering to its customers popular Disney content, makes possible future distribution by Spectrum of Disney streaming services, and will begin an important collaborative effort to address the significant issue of piracy mitigation,” said Tom Montemagno, executive vice president of programming acquisition for Charter, in a statement.

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