YouTubeTV, Disney Reach A New Agreement


As the clock struck midnight on Friday, December 17 in New York, all Disney-owned channels, including ESPN and local ABC stations, became unavailable on YouTube TV. A monthly price reduction from $64.99 to $49.99 for its customers went into effect, a sign that a long-term retransmission consent impasse between the Alphabet Inc.-owned vMVPD and The Walt Disney Co. had come to fruition.

By Sunday evening, it was all over, with all Disney-related live channels and on-demand content back on YouTube TV.

“We’re happy to announce that we’ve reached a deal with Disney and have already started to restore access to channels like ESPN and FX, and Disney recordings that were previously in your library,” YouTube TV’s Twitter minders posted in the 3pm Eastern hour on Sunday. “Your local ABC station will also be turning on throughout the day.”

For “Members,” the monthly subscription will revert to $64.99. However, “all impacted members will still receive a one-time $15 discount,” YouTube TV said.

And just like that, a potentially bruising battle between two multimedia giants came to an end.

At 2am Eastern Saturday, that was hardly a prediction one could have safely made. In an e-mail communique to its Members, YouTube TV said, “We have held good faith negotiations with Disney for several months. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an equitable agreement before our existing one expired.”

As such, anyone relying on YouTubeTV to watch such stations as KTRK-13 in Houston or “ABC7” in San Francisco, Chicago, New York or Los Angeles were out of luck. Furthermore, a “blackout,” by law in lieu of a retransmission consent agreement, prevented YouTube TV Members from accessing any previous library recordings from the impacted channels, including 4K content that is available as part of the 4K Plus add-on.

“We know this is frustrating news, and it is not the outcome we wanted,” the Google sibling said early Saturday. “We will continue conversations with Disney to advocate on your behalf in hopes of restoring their content on YouTube TV.”

It turns out that a swift resolution could be had after all.

The impacted channels off of YouTube TV for approximately 18 hours are:

Disney-owned channels no longer available on YouTube TV:

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


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