Live streaming service YouTube TV has removed Disney channels including ESPN, FX, National Geographic and local ABC stations after parent company Google and The Walt Disney Co. failed to reach a new deal.
The two companies were negotiating a new contract during the week and Disney had told USA TODAY it was “optimistic” a deal could be reached. This rift comes as the college football bowl season heats up with many games scheduled to be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN 2.
YouTube TV posted a note on Twitter early Saturday and on its website alerting subscribers that Disney’s channels were no longer available.
“We’ve held good faith negotiations with Disney for several months. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we’ve been unable to reach an equitable agreement before our existing one expired,” the statement said.
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In a statement sent to USA TODAY, Disney said, “We’ve been in ongoing negotiations with Google’s YouTube TV and unfortunately, they have declined to reach a fair deal with us based on market terms and conditions. … We stand ready to reach an equitable agreement with Google as quickly as possible in order to minimize the inconvenience to YouTube TV viewers by restoring our networks.”
YouTube TV said it would “continue conversations with Disney” on a new carriage agreement.
In the meantime, the service is lowering its monthly price by $15, from $64.99 to $49.99, while the Disney channels are off.
Subscribers looking to stream Disney channels can opt into the Disney+ bundle (starting at $13.99), which includes the ESPN networks, Disney+ and Hulu.
However, Disney might also gain some subscribers from YouTube TV defectors moving to its Hulu + Live TV streaming service, which has more than 75 channels including ABC, ESPN and FX and is majority-owned by Disney. Subscribers can get Hulu + Live TV with ESPN+ and Disney+ for $72.99 – not much more than the lowered cost of YouTube TV without the Disney channels and the cost of the Disney bundle with Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu on demand.
The complete list of channels removed from YouTube includes Disney Channel, National Geographic, and the SEC Network.
Subscribers responded to the move with a varying level of humor. Twitter user Adam Brassel, an obvious sports fan, noted that he was “officially in the TV provider transfer portal” and in subsequent tweets said, “Blessed to say I’ve received an offer” from Hulu and from fuboTV., a streaming competitor with more than 200 channels including ABC, the ESPN networks, Disney Channel, National Geographic and more.
Joe Pompliano, who publishes a business and sports newsletter, tweeted that the dispute is a game of “chess, not checkers” between streaming competitors.
With the loss of Disney channels, one subscriber on Twitter noted that he had lost DVR recordings, too. “I just had a dozen shows (including the final season of POSE, which I hadn’t yet watched) vanish,” he said.
Another user, deployed a Disney-owned Marvel meme to sum up his situation with a clip of villain Thanos snapping his fingers. “This is what YouTube TV and Disney just did to me regarding ESPN..”
The post Streaming dispute: Disney channels and ABC, ESPN dropped from YouTube TV as college bowls kick in first appeared on Online TV Channel.