Disney Networks Including ESPN Go Dark On YouTube TV

After negotiations failed to reach fruition, Disney networks including ESPN have gone dark on YouTube TV.

Disney had indicated earlier this week it was “optimistic” about the prospect of resolving the carriage dispute. But the parties said the discussions had not resulted in an agreement. 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-delivered TV bundle.

At issue in the dispute are Disney networks including ESPN, FX, Freeform and National Geographic as well as several major ABC-owned stations.

“We’ve held good faith negotiations with Disney for several months,” YouTube said in a blog post. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we’ve been unable to reach an equitable agreement before our existing one expired, and their channels are no longer available on YouTube TV.”

YouTube TV said it would drop its monthly price by $15, to $64.99, as long as the impasse remains.

“We know this is frustrating news for our customers, and not what we wanted,” YouTube TV said. “We will continue conversations with Disney to advocate on your behalf in hopes of restoring their content on YouTube TV.”

Disney responded: “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. … 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.”

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