YouTube TV Warns It May Lose All Disney-Owned Channels Amid Contract Dispute

YouTube TV yesterday warned that it could lose all Disney-owned channels after Friday because of a contract dispute and said it will temporarily reduce its price by $15 a month if that happens. Ars Technica reports: "We're now in negotiations with Disney to continue distributing their content on YouTube TV so you can continue watching everything from your favorite teams on ESPN to The Bachelor to Good Morning America. Our deal expires on Friday, December 17, and we haven't been able to reach an equitable agreement yet, so we wanted to give you an early heads up so that you can understand your choices," the Google-owned YouTube wrote in a blog post. "[I]f we are unable to reach a deal by Friday, the Disney-owned channels will no longer be available on YouTube TV and we will decrease our monthly price by $15, from $64.99 to $49.99 (while this content remains off our platform)," the blog post said. YouTube noted that users can pause or cancel their YouTube TV subscriptions at any time and subscribe to the Disney Bundle for $13.99 a month. YouTube's statement that it wants "equitable" terms indicates that it is seeking a most-favored-nation (MFN) clause from Disney. "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. If Disney offers us equitable terms, we'll renew our agreement with them," YouTube wrote. When contacted by Ars, Disney said that the contract is scheduled to expire on Friday at 11:59 pm ET and covers "the ABC Owned Television Stations, the ESPN networks, the Disney channels, Freeform, the FX networks, and the National Geographic channels." In an email to Ars, Disney expressed confidence that the companies can get a deal done: "Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution has a highly successful track record of negotiating such agreements with providers of all types and sizes across the country and is committed to working with Google to reach a fair, market-based agreement. We are optimistic that we can reach a deal and continue to provide their YouTube TV customers with our live sporting events and news coverage, plus kids, family, and general entertainment programming."

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