YouTubeTV, Disney reach agreement

Restores ESPN and ABC programming

After off for more than a day, Disney programming has returned to Google’s YouTube TV.

The deal was announced Sunday and comes in time for Monday Night Football between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, a game that carries playoff implications (for at least one team.)

Returning to YouTube TV are ABC, ESPN and their family of networks, Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Nat Geo, among others. 

Disney abruptly removed the channels from YouTube TV Friday night a little before 11 p.m. Central, interrupting programming in progress including Jimmy Kimmel Live and a Lakers-Timberwolves game in the 4th quarter. 

Not only ABC’s owned-and-operated stations were affected (including ABC 7 here), but all 200+ ABC affiliates nationwide, meaning if you were a regular viewer of WTVO Rockford; WISN Milwaukee; or WICS Springfield, Ill., and a YouTubeTV subscriber, you also lost the channels. A likely explanation is the ABC affiliate board agreed to cede their retransmission rights negotiations to the network and not their respective owners, but this explanation alone can be confusing given station groups can also negotiate their own deals.  

As a result, YouTube TV’s base price returns to $64.99 per month but those who signed up for $49.99 per month get to keep that price – for one month. Existing customers will also get a credit in their bill. 

Here’s a statement from YouTubeTV’s website:

“We’re happy to share that we’ve reached an agreement with Disney to return their content to YouTube TV while preserving a $64.99/mo. price for our members. We have 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 the local ABC stations over the course of the day.”

 

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