YouTube TV subscribers could lose access to ABC, ESPN and other Disney-owned channels. Google informed YouTube TV subscribers Monday that it may be forced to remove Disney’s channels from the pay TV service by the end of Friday if it can’t come to a new carriage agreement with the media giant in time.
“Disney is an important partner for us and we’re in active conversations with them and working hard to keep their content on YouTube TV,” Google said in a blog post Monday. “Our ask to Disney, as with all our partners, is to treat YouTube TV like any other TV provider – by offering us the same rates that services of a similar size pay, across Disney's channels for as long as we carry them.”
Google told YouTube TV subscribers Monday that it may temporarily reduce the price of its pay TV bundle by $15 if it has to remove Disney's channels.
YouTube’s dispute with Disney comes just days after it resolved a contractual disagreement with Roku that was threatening the carriage of YouTube’s apps on Roku devices. However, while those two companies were fighting over the use of a modern video codec and other issues specific to the world of streaming video, the dispute with Disney is very much a continuation of the squabbles networks and TV providers have been having for decades.
Every time a carriage agreement is up for renewal, networks push for higher carriage fees. TV providers regularly put up a fight, at times leading to channel blackouts. In the end, networks tend to have the upper hand in these disputes. Disney’s position is particularly strong, as ESPN is very much a must-have channel for sports fans.
A Disney spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.