ABC, ESPN, Other Disney Channels Back on YouTube TV

The 2 companies have reached a deal
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2021 2:55 PM CST
Updated Dec 20, 2021 1:40 AM CST
Disney's Channels Are Off YouTube TV After Talks Fail
ESPN's Monday Night Countdown crew members, from left, Suzy Kolber, Steve Young, Randy Moss, Booger McFarland, and Adam Schefter appear before an NFL game last month in Tampa.   (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Update: Disney content is back on YouTube TV after the video streaming company reached a deal with Disney on Sunday to restore access to its channels, USA Today reports. The price of Disney content now reverts to $64.99 a month, but impacted members will get a single $15 discount. Our original story from Saturday follows:

More than a dozen Disney-owned channels, including ABC and ESPN, went dark on YouTube TV—in the middle of an NBA game—after negotiations broke down between the streaming service and Google. In response, YouTube TV slashed its monthly subscription fee $15 to $50, as it said it would, the Verge reports. "We worked hard to avoid this but were unable to reach a fair deal with Disney," YouTube TV tweeted Saturday. The existing agreement on carriage fees expired at the end of Friday, per CNN, after months of failed negotiations.

The channels removed also include Freeform, the FX networks, and the National Geographic channels, in addition to the Disney channels. YouTube TV had complained that Disney wanted fees higher than "services of a similar size pay," per the Washington Post. Disney said Google "declined to reach a fair deal with us based on market terms and conditions." The screen went to black late Friday for subscribers watching the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves on YouTube TV.

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Live sports could be a battleground for the two companies, with college football bowl games starting. YouTube TV has beefed up its live sports programming, which now includes the NFL's Monday Night Football and ESPN's NBA, NHL, and NCAA games. It competes directly with Hulu + Live TV, which is majority owned by Disney. Google, whose parent company is Alphabet, and Disney said they'll keep talking. Carriage disputes are not uncommon. As recently as October, YouTube TV headed off a similar loss of content with NBCUniversal, per the Verge. (More streaming content stories.)

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