YouTube TV, Disney Reach Deal; ESPN, Other Channels Restored

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YouTube TV, Disney Reach Deal; ESPN, Other Channels Restored

A little more than a day after YouTube TV lost access to ESPN, ABC, FX, and other Disney-owned channels, the two companies have reached a deal in their carriage agreements.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but YouTube TV customers will get a $15 credit on their next bill for the brief outage.

YouTube TV sent an email to customers on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re happy to share that we’ve reached a deal with Disney to return their content to YouTube TV while preserving a $64.99/mo. price for our members,” the email began. “We’ve already started to restore access to Disney networks like ESPN and FX, including their live and on-demand content, as well as any recordings that were previously in your Library. We will also be turning on your local ABC stations over the course of the day. Don’t worry, your personal preferences and recommendations will be just as you left them.”

YouTube TV and Disney dispute.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

The previous deal expired on December 17, with YouTube TV losing the Disney-owned channels late in the evening.

The list of channels lost for about a day and a half included:

  • ABC News Live
  • ACC Network
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3 (by authentication to the ESPN app)
  • FX
  • FXM
  • FXX
  • Freeform
  • National Geographic
  • National Geographic Wild
  • SEC Network
  • Your local ABC channel

The dispute was highly problematic for YouTube TV, coinciding with the start of the college football postseason. In all, more than three dozen games are to be broadcast on ESPN or ABC — including the two national championship semifinal games and the national title game on January 10. That’s in addition to college basketball games, and Monday Night Football games.

While customers only actually lost channels for less than 48 hours, YouTube TV said “As we promised a $15 discount while the Disney content remained off platform, we will still honor a one-time credit for all impacted members. For active members who have not yet received that $15 discount on their monthly bill, you will automatically receive a one-time credit on your next bill with no action needed.”

Those who started the cancellation process and resume service also will get the one-time $15 credit.

“We apologize for the disruption and appreciate your patience as we continued to negotiate on your behalf,” YouTube TV wrote. “We also value Disney’s partnership and willingness to work towards an agreement.”

YouTube TV returns to its $65-a-month plan for nearly 100 channels. What remains to be seen is how many subscribers it may have lost due to the dispute. The company in October 2020 said it had “more than 3 million subscribers,” but it hasn’t updated things since then. Hulu With Live TV last reported 4 million paid subscribers, and Sling TV reported 2.56 million subscribers.

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