Disney Reaches Distribution Deal With Google’s YouTube TV
(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co. reached an agreement to keep its programming on the YouTube TV platform, restoring access to content from ESPN and other networks after an earlier pact expired.
The previous agreement between Disney and Google’s video service expired at 11:59 p.m. Friday New York time, creating what Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution called a “brief disruption.”
“We appreciate Google’s collaboration to reach fair terms that are consistent with the market,” Disney said in its statement Sunday. “We’re thrilled that our robust lineup of live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming is in the process of being restored to YouTube TV subscribers across the country.”
The showdown reflected the current state of flux in the TV industry as consumers cancel pricey cable-TV packages in favor of on-demand viewing from streaming services. TV channel owners, like Disney, still depend on fees from distributors for a large share of their revenue and profit. YouTube TV and other online operators have positioned themselves as lower-cost alternatives and chafe at the high fees they must pay for a broad assortment of channels.
YouTube had a plan to wait out a settlement as talks continued, offering to reduce its subscription price on the cable-like service by $15 to $45.99 a month while the affected channels are off its service. The statement by Disney didn’t address whether it agreed to YouTube’s demand for a clause in the new contract that would lower its rates if another distributor wins better terms in the future.
In addition to ESPN, the channels being negotiated with YouTube included networks such as ABC, FX and the Disney Channel.
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