Why the Disney-Charter Carriage Dispute Is a ‘Watershed Event’ for All Pay TV

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Wall Street analysts say that the rift can result in a migration of subscribers and could even tip Hollywood’s power structure

Disney vs. Charter
Disney CEO Bob Iger is facing off against Charter CEO Chris Winfrey. (Getty, Christopher T. Smith/TheWrap)

While conflicts between cable networks and the pay-TV providers that carry them are common, the one waging between Disney and Charter Communications has far-reaching implications for the media and pay TV industries, according to Wall Street analysts.

As the carriage dispute between Disney and Charter Communications stretches into its sixth day, millions of Charter’s Spectrum customers looking to access channels including ABC, ESPN, National Geographic and FX remain in the dark.

“We’re on the edge of a precipice.”

Charter CEO Chris Winfrey

“The stark reality is the media and distribution landscape has been building up to this moment for many years,” MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a research note.