YouTube TV and Disney agreed to a new deal that will restore access to a number of the entertainment giant’s networks including ESPN, ABC and FX. News of the updated carriage deal comes Sunday afternoon, just days after negotiations between Disney and Google failed to reach fruition, leading to the Disney networks going dark on YouTube TV.
Disney shared in a statement: “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.”
Earlier this week Disney had previously indicated earlier it was “optimistic” about the prospect of resolving the carriage dispute. But the parties said the discussions had not resulted in an agreement and the networks disappeared from the internet-delivered bundle at midnight ET.
YouTube TV surpassed 3 million subscribers as of fall 2020, according to Google parent Alphabet. Some Wall Street analysts believe it now has more than 4 million, making it the largest internet TV bundle. It ranks among the top 10 pay-TV distributors of any kind.
Before the new deal, networks including ESPN, FX, Freeform and National Geographic as well as several large-market ABC-owned stations were hanging in the balance. If the impasse were to drag on on, one pressure point from the programming end will be ESPN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast of the College Football Playoff semifinal games. A year ago, the games each drew more than 19 million viewers in what was ESPN’s third-biggest viewing day of all time.
“You know how frustrating to lose channels like ESPN and your local ABC station and will continue conversations with Disney in hopes of restoring their content for you,” YouTube TV shared on Twitter on Sunday.
YouTube TV also confirmed that it will drop its monthly price to $64.99 and impacted members will receive a one-time $15 discountj.
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