Disney recently announced it is dropping the prices of its Hulu Live TV offering from $69.99 for three months to $49.99.
This comes at a time when the relationships between cable providers and streaming services have devolved from an uneasy alliance to a full-on cold war.
Disney, owners of ABC, Hulu, and ESPN, recently dropped all of its channels from homes using Charter Spectrum in a dispute over the fees that the cable company pays Disney for its content.
Charter Spectrum is the second largest cable provider in the US behind Comcast and serves over 14 million homes.
Disney timed its negotiation for higher fees deliberately since many of Spectrum’s viewers were ready to sit down to enjoy football or tennis on ESPN.
By also announcing the price drop for Hulu Live, which bundles both Hulu with the Disney Plus and ESPN+ streaming services, Disney is flexing its muscles with the cable company.
It isn’t hard to imagine that the boardrooms of large content platforms like Disney are filled with speculation about why cable companies are even necessary any longer.
They are simply middlemen for the content, and the streaming services Disney and others have started giving the content providers direct access to viewers as long as they subscribe.
Charter Spectrum pays Disney upwards of $2.2 billion annually for access to its content and neither side is budging on a new deal.
But this leaves many of the millions of subscribers to these cable networks out in the cold when all they want to do is watch some football.