Update 3:10 pm EST 12/19/2021: The Disney blackout on YouTube TV lasted less than two days. “We are pleased to announce that after a brief disruption, we have reached a new distribution agreement with Google’s YouTube TV for continued carriage of our portfolio of networks,” Disney said on Sunday afternoon. “We appreciate Google’s collaboration to reach fair terms that are consistent with the market, and we’re thrilled that our robust lineup of live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming is in the process of being restored to YouTube TV subscribers across the country.”
“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,” YouTube said. “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.” YouTube said it is still providing a $15 credit to users.
Original story 11:49 am EST 12/18/2021: YouTube TV customers have lost access to all Disney-owned channels including ESPN and ABC, as the companies failed to agree on a new contract before the previous one expired last night. YouTube TV customers will automatically get a $15-per-month discount for as long as the Disney channels remain blacked out, reducing the base plan cost from $65 to $50.
“Members, we worked hard to avoid this but were unable to reach a fair deal with Disney,” YouTube TV said. “We regret to share that as of December 17, all Disney-owned channels are unavailable on YouTube TV. While Disney content remains off our platform, we’ll decrease our price by $15/month. We know how frustrating it is to lose channels like ESPN and your local ABC station, and will continue conversations with Disney in hopes of restoring their content for you.”
The list of channels no longer on YouTube TV includes all local ABC channels, ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, and ACC Network. YouTube TV posted details on how credits will be issued on this webpage.
“If you want to continue watching some of Disney’s content, consider signing up for their own service, The Disney Bundle, which they offer for $13.99/month and which is subject to its own terms and restrictions,” YouTube TV said.
YouTube TV sought price guarantee
As we reported a few days ago, the Google-owned YouTube TV was seeking a most-favored-nation (MFN) clause from Disney. “Our ask to Disney, as with all our partners, is to treat YouTube TV like any other TV provider—by offering us the same rates that services of a similar size pay, across Disney’s channels for as long as we carry them,” YouTube TV said at the time.
YouTube TV nearly lost NBCUniversal channels in another recent dispute. But in that case, YouTube and NBC agreed to a short extension to avoid a blackout when the original contract expired, then struck a new multiyear deal.
There was no extension to prevent a blackout in the ongoing YouTube TV/Disney dispute, but both companies said they still hope to reach a new agreement.
“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,” Disney said in a statement sent to news outlets. “As a result, their subscribers have lost access to our unrivaled portfolio of networks including live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming from ABC, the ESPN networks, the Disney channels, Freeform, the FX networks and the National Geographic channels. 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. We hope Google will join us in that effort.”