Disney’s stock heads for longest losing streak in nearly a year as Spectrum dispute wears on

Shares are down 60% from their pandemic-era peak

Disney CEO Bob Iger faces a host of challenges, including a spat with Charter.

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Walt Disney Co. shares were falling toward their longest losing streak in almost a year as the company’s feud with Charter Communications Inc. continues.

Disney DIS, -0.51% stations have gone dark on Charter’s CHTR, -0.71% Spectrum cable service, with the companies at an impasse over the future of their distribution deal. Charter said that cable providers and media companies need a fundamentally new arrangement in the streaming era, while Disney said Charter “claims to value our direct-to-consumer services” yet wants access to them for free.

The dispute marks yet another challenge for Disney, which has seen its stock slide 60.1% from its pandemic-era high of $201.91 sustained in March 2021.

Shares, down 0.5% Thursday, were heading for their sixth session in a row of declines. That would mark their longest losing streak in nearly a year, when they also fell for six sessions in a row.

The stock was on track to close at its lowest level since May 16, 2014, when it finished at $80.39.

While cable and media companies periodically get into carriage disputes, Wall Street isn’t so convinced that the Charter-Disney spat will resolve, with a Citi analyst recently writing that there’s perhaps a 45% chance that the parties don’t reach an agreement.

Read: U.S. Open players are getting ESPN for free in their hotel rooms after the Disney-Spectrum dispute blocked them

“We’ve always thought about the video business as being an asset to our broadband connectivity business, and I think it’s on the verge of flipping and where it’s becoming a liability,” Charter Chief Executive Chris Winfrey said at a Goldman Sachs conference Thursday.

Disney put out its own statement Thursday, saying that Charter’s moves weren’t in the consumer’s best interest.

“While they have stated their ‘indifference’ to the needs of millions of paying customers, we will not lose sight of what is most important – investing in the highest-quality stories, news and sports for our audience,” Disney said.

Charter vs. Disney: Is this the end of the bundle as we know it?

Needham’s Laura Martin wrote in a Thursday report that she thought Disney should cave to Charter’s wishes.

“We think DIS must redesign a new media future with CHTR that maximizes its U.S. [revenues] and creates a moat to protect it against user-generated content, video games, etc.,” she said, while keeping a hold rating on the media stock.