YouTube TV Makes Deal with Disney, Restores Channels to Service

by Chris Haney

Following the recent blackout of all Disney-owned channels on YouTube TV, the companies have come to an agreement to restore the networks to the streaming service.

Google-owned YouTube TV had been under contract talks with Disney over the inclusion of networks ESPN, ABC, and other channels. The two sides couldn’t come to terms on a new contract. Therefore the streaming service abruptly removed the networks for viewing.

The contract dispute left YouTube TV customers in dismay but granted users a $15 credit after the networks went dark. Customers went without the Disney-based networks for only 48 hours, but negotiations continued, and the companies reached an agreement earlier today. The details of the new deal have not been revealed, but Google did share that the price of YouTube TV will still cost $64.99 per month. However, the company is honoring the promised $15 credit for now.

“We have already started to restore access to Disney networks like ESPN and FX,” YouTube said Sunday, according to Variety. “[That includes] their live and on-demand content, as well as any recordings that were previously in your Library. We will also be turning on the local ABC stations over the course of the day.”

The outlet also shared a statement from Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution about the new deal.

“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. 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.”

YouTube TV and Disney Both Share Statements On the Contractual Dispute

On Dec. 17 at midnight ET, YouTube TV and Disney’s previous deal came to an end. The two sides couldn’t come to a mutual agreement in time, which led to the temporary blackout. The companies seemed to be at odds over carriage fees.

YouTube TV users lost more than a dozen Disney-owned channels and all ABC-owned local stations. Additionally, customers did not have access to their DVR recordings of Disney programs during the outage. Following the renewal dispute, each company shared statements blaming the other for the blackout.

A Disney spokesperson said Google “declined to reach a fair deal with us based on market terms and conditions.” They ensured customers they’re still working closely with YouTube TV on a deal. The statement also shared that Disney wanted to “minimize the inconvenience to YouTube TV viewers.”

Likewise, YouTube TV released their own statement on the matter on social media.

“Members, we worked hard to avoid this but were unable to reach a fair deal with Disney. 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,” the company wrote on Twitter.

The streaming service acknowledged “how frustrating it is to lose channels” in a second tweet. The account added that they will “continue conversations with Disney in hopes of restoring their content for you.”

After a couple more days of negotiations, the companies struck a deal that returned service for the foreseeable future.