If You Have This TV Provider, Prepare to Lose 17 Channels Friday
A contract dispute could result in a blackout by the end of the week.
Whether you're getting comfortable on the couch after a long day or looking to catch your favorite team's game, there's nothing quite like being able to unwind in front of the TV. And thanks to new streaming services and technology, it's never been easier to get precisely what you want out of every viewing experience. But if you're a subscriber of one major TV provider, you could be about to lose more than a dozen channels by the end of the week. Read on to see if your must-see shows are affected.
YouTube TV could lose 17 channels by Friday due to an ongoing dispute with Disney.
In a Dec. 13 blog post, YouTube TV parent company Google announced that it was still in negotiations with Disney over a renewal of its carrier agreement. In a statement to Variety, Disney confirmed that the current contract was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17—meaning that 17 of the live channels owned by the media conglomerate could be dropped from the popular live streaming TV platform by the end of the week, plus eight local ABC stations.
"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," YouTube said wrote in the blog post.
The channel blackout would affect a wide range of popular stations owned by the media conglomerate.
Because of Disney's broad ownership of a diverse array of networks, many channels stand to be impacted by the potential blackout. Failed negotiations would see ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, and ACC Network go dark on the service.
YouTube TV would also lose eight other local ABC stations if the two parties can't reach an agreement. The list includes WABC-TV (ABC New York), KABC-TV (ABC Los Angeles), WLS-TV (ABC Chicago), WPVI-TV (ABC Philadelphia), KGO-TV (ABC San Francisco), TRK-TV (ABC Houston), WTVD-TV (ABC Raleigh-Durham), and KFSN-TV (ABC Fresno), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
For more consumer news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
YouTube TV is offering a discounted rate in the event the channels disappear this Friday.
In an attempt to avoid an exodus of subscribers, YouTube says it will be offering a discount if a contract isn't signed. The company says it will decrease its monthly price by $15 for as long as the channels are unavailable, dropping the cost from $64.99 to $49.99.
The company also offered other alternatives for customers who couldn't bear to part with their favorite stations. "We would love every member to stay with our service, but we give you the flexibility to pause or cancel your membership anytime," YouTube wrote in their blog post. "If you want to continue watching some of Disney's content, you can consider signing up for their own service, The Disney Bundle, which they offer for $13.99 [per] month."
Both companies appear optimistic they can resolve their dispute before too long.
The most recent dispute is the latest in a string of negotiation breakdowns Google has had with vendors over carriership rights. Oct. 2, Google announced it had resigned a contract to keep NBC Universal channels on YouTube TV after the original agreement expired on Sept. 30. And on Dec. 9, Google announced that it had resolved a months-long dispute with digital boxtop Roku over rights to carry and stream the app on its devices.
Still, both parties hinted that they were willing to continue negotiating. "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," Disney said in a statement on Dec. 13. "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."
Google also appeared optimistic, cordially writing in their blog post: "We appreciate Disney's partnership and will share any further updates as we have them."