YouTube And Disney Reach Deal For ESPN And Other Channels To Return To YouTube TV

YouTube and Disney have agreed to terms, restoring ESPN, FX, and other channels to the streaming service.

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[UPDATE] On Sunday afternoon, YouTube TV announced it had reached a deal with Disney to restore ESPN, FX, and its other channels to the streaming service. The channels should start appearing now for subscribers. You can see YouTube TV's full statement below.

The Disney channels were removed from YouTube TV Friday night at midnight, so they were gone for less than 48 hours before YouTube/Google and Disney reached this new deal.

"We're happy to share that we’ve reached a deal with Disney to return their content to YouTube TV while preserving a $64.99/mo. price for our members. We’ve already started to restore access to Disney networks like ESPN and FX, including their live and on-demand content, as well as any recordings that were previously in your Library. We will also be turning on your local ABC stations over the course of the day. Don’t worry, your personal preferences and recommendations will be just as you left them.

‌"As we promised a $15 discount while the Disney content remained off platform, we will still honor a one-time credit for all impacted Base Plan members.

‌"For active members who have not yet received that $15 discount on their monthly bill, you will automatically receive this one-time credit on your next bill with no action needed. Note that your bill in Settings will not reflect this credit until you have been charged. Members who are in a paused state will receive this credit one month after their first charge. Verizon-billed users will automatically receive this as a one-time discount of $15 on their next bill. After that, the monthly price will revert back to $64.99 for new and existing members.

‌"For any of you who were impacted and have initiated the cancellation process, we will still honor the one-time $15 credit on your bill if you resume your membership before you lose access. Visit tv.youtube.com/membership and click ‘Add’ to return the Base Plan to your membership. Note, you will still see a $64.99 price upon re-activating your membership, but a one-time discount will be reflected in your next bill.

‌We apologize for the disruption and appreciate your patience as we continued to negotiate on your behalf. We also appreciate Disney's partnership and willingness to work towards an agreement."

The original story is below.

In a big shake-up, YouTube TV is losing ESPN and other Disney-owned channels due to failed contract negotiations with Disney. In total, 18 of these Disney-owned channels--which also include National Geographic and Disney Channel--have now been removed. The price of YouTube TV is going down.

YouTube TV made the announcement overnight Eastern Time, saying in a statement to subscribers, "We have held good faith negotiations with Disney for several months. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an equitable agreement before our existing one expired."

All Disney-owned channels on YouTube TV--including ESPN and local ABC stations--have been removed. That's a big deal because live sports is one of the most sought-after aspects of YouTube TV, and ESPN and its many networks carry a significant amount of sports programming.

‌"Members will not be able to watch live or local content from Disney and will also lose access to any previous Library recordings from these channels, including 4K content that is available as part of the 4K Plus add-on," YouTube TV said.

Due to the change, the price of YouTube TV is falling by $15--from $65 to $50 per month for the base plan. "No action is needed on your part. A credit of $15 per month will automatically be issued. Once content is unavailable, this credit will be applied to your next bill after December 17 and will only be visible to family managers in Settings > Billing after the charge has taken place," YouTube TV said. "Please note that if you have a promotional price with YouTube TV, you can still expect a $15 credit. Members who are in a paused state will receive this credit one month after their first charge."

"We know this is frustrating news, and it is not the outcome we wanted. We will continue conversations with Disney to advocate on your behalf in hopes of restoring their content on YouTube TV."

Disney released its own statement (via THR), saying that YouTube owner Google "declined to reach a fair deal based on market terms and conditions." Like YouTube, Disney remains hopeful that the two sides can reach a deal to restore the channels.

"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," Disney said. "We hope Google will join us in that effort."

‌If YouTube TV and Disney can reach an agreement in the future, the price will change again and subscribers will be notified ahead of time by email.

Below is the full list of programming that YouTube TV is losing:

Disney-owned channels no longer available on YouTube TV:

  • Your local ABC channel
  • ABC News Live
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • Freeform
  • FX
  • FXX
  • FXM
  • National Geographic
  • National Geographic Wild
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3 (by authentication to the ESPN app)
  • ESPNU
  • ESPNEWS
  • SEC Network
  • ACC Network

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