Disney has cut the price of its Disney+ streaming service to under $2 amidst an ongoing dispute with cable provider Charter Communications. The ad-supported tier of Disney+ is now available at $1.99 per month, down from the previous price of $7.99 per month. This promotional price will be in effect until September 20 and will then return to the standard rate.
This price drop comes at a time when Disney+ is set to release several new movies, including Pixar’s “Elemental” and a live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Disney is likely aiming to attract new customers to its service, which currently has 146.1 million subscribers.
The dispute with Charter Communications has led to Disney’s popular channels, including ESPN, going dark in nearly 15 million homes. The exact reasons for this dispute remain unclear, but it coincides with Disney+ experiencing an 11.7 million subscriber loss in the most recent quarter.
Disney has been focused on growing the profitability of its streaming division, which includes Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, due to the acceleration of cord-cutting from cable. Last week, Charter blocked Disney’s cable channels from its Spectrum network in major markets after the two companies failed to secure a distribution agreement.
Amidst this dispute, Disney has encouraged frustrated customers to subscribe to its own Hulu + Live TV or other streaming TV services, emphasizing the lack of contracts and cable boxes required for such services.
The blackout has occurred during a busy sports season, including the start of the college football season and the US Open tennis tournament. Spectrum blacked out ESPN, which broadcasts the US Open, last Friday, along with ABC-owned stations and its affiliates, as well as channels like Freeform, FX, and National Geographic.
Charter has claimed that Disney is demanding an excessive increase in fees, which would also limit Charter’s ability to offer customers more choice in programming packages.
Disney has confirmed ongoing discussions with Charter but has yet to reach a new agreement. The company did not disclose the specific terms it’s seeking from Charter.
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