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YouTube TV Subscribers Could Lose Disney, ESPN & ABC This Week

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YouTube TV has warned that a number of channels owned by Disney, including ESPN and local ABC stations, could be dropped as early as this week if the two companies are unable to strike a new deal. Once again, this latest announcement highlights the delicate nature of the live TV streaming market and how easily and quickly a service’s channel lineup can be affected.

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Like other live TV streaming services, YouTube TV is not exempt from carriage issues and has encountered more than one situation this year where there was a real possibility of subscribers being impacted by the lack of an agreement. For example, throughout most of this year YouTube TV was locked in a dispute with Roku over platform support for both the main YouTube TV and the YouTube TV app. However, an agreement was eventually reached between Google and Roku avoiding any further impact on subscribers.

Now, YouTube TV has confirmed that it is in the process of trying to renegotiate a deal to continue providing Disney-owned channels to subscribers, including ESPN and local ABC stations. The announcement goes on to explain that if a new deal is not reached by December 17, 2021, the channels will be dropped. For reference, the announcement does also state that “Disney is an important partner” and that the expectation is a deal will be agreed.

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The full list of channels that could be removed from YouTube TV (or a subscriber loses TV Everywhere support for) include:

  • Local ABC
  • ABC News Live
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • Freeform
  • FX
  • FXX
  • FXM
  • National Geographic
  • National Geographic Wild
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3 (via ESPN app authentication)
  • ESPNU
  • ESPNEWS
  • SEC Network
  • ACC Network

In the event an agreement cannot be reached between the two parties and the channels are removed on Dec. 17, YouTube TV says it will reduce the cost of its base subscription by $15 each month for as long as the channels remain unavailable. Considering YouTube TV currently costs $64.99 per month, this would potentially reduce the monthly cost down to $49.99. Of course, this would be the minimum amount each month, depending on any other add-ons a subscriber may have already bundled with their base plan.

This is pretty much the same offer YouTube TV made back in September 2020 when YouTube TV was struggling to strike a new deal with NBCUniversal. As is the case now with Disney, the announcement not only warned of the possibility of NBC channels being dropped, but that YouTube would decrease the cost of a subscription by $15 if a deal wasn’t done. On that occasion, a deal was agreed in early October, meaning neither the channels nor the price were impacted. While it remains to be seen whether YouTube TV’s current situation with Disney will result in the same outcome, it is a possibility.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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