YouTube TV subscribers lost access to channels like ESPN and FX after YouTube’s agreement to broadcast programs from Walt Disney Co. expired on Saturday.
The stalemate puts Google’s YouTube TV, which streams a package of channels to consumers, against Disney, the mother of the ABC broadcaster, and cable channels like Disney Channel and Freeform. Google is a unit of Alphabet Inc.
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YouTube TV subscribers lost access to an ongoing basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. When the game suddenly stopped, some fans took to Twitter to complain about it.
“We are in ongoing negotiations with Google’s YouTube TV and unfortunately they have declined to reach a fair deal with us based on market conditions. As a result, their subscribers have lost access to our unrivaled portfolio of networks, ”a Disney spokeswoman said. “We stand ready to reach a fair settlement with Google as soon as possible to minimize the inconvenience to YouTube TV viewers of restoring our networks. We hope that Google will join us in this effort.”
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The companies are fighting over distribution fees for the Disney channels. A sticking point is YouTube TV’s request for a clause guaranteeing that it pays the same price as distributors of similar size, according to people familiar with the matter.
“We have been negotiating in good faith with Disney for several months. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach a fair settlement before our existing agreement expired and their channels are no longer available on YouTube TV.” This was announced by a YouTube spokeswoman. “We know this is frustrating news for our customers and not what we wanted. We will continue to speak to Disney to stand up on your behalf in hopes of restoring their content on YouTube TV. “
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Although YouTube TV does not disclose the number of subscribers, a person close to the company said it was more than four million. According to MoffettNathanson, the number of subscribers is higher than the traditional pay-TV providers Altice USA Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
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YouTube TV offers more than a dozen Disney channels as well as local broadcast channels. The loss removes a significant portion of what YouTube TV has to offer. YouTube TV announced that it will cut its monthly subscription price from $ 64.99 to $ 49.99 while the channels are unavailable.
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The dead end between the programmer and the distributor became public earlier this week when YouTube began informing subscribers that they might soon lose access to Disney’s programs. YouTube TV also took the unusual step of encouraging subscribers to subscribe to Disney’s streaming services like Disney + and ESPN + in order to regain access to some of the content they would lose.
Write to Lillian Rizzo at [email protected] and Patience Haggin at [email protected]