YouTube TV Might Lose Disney’s Channels (Updated)

Posted on December 14, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Disney+ with 19 Comments

Paul's Tech Makeover: Embracing our Cord-Cutting Future

UPDATED: It’s happened. YouTube TV no longer has Disney channels and the price has dropped to $49.99 per month. —Paul

YouTube TV alerted its customers last night that they might lose access to Disney-owned channels. If so, it will reduce the price of the service.

“We are now in negotiations with Disney to continue distributing their content on YouTube TV,” an email I received from YouTube TV reads. “Our deal will expire on Friday, December 17, 2021. We have not yet been able to reach an equitable agreement, so we want to give you a heads-up so that you can understand your choices.”

Here are the choices.

If YouTube TV does lose access to Disney’s channels—which includes ABC, ESPN, the Disney Channel, and many others—Google will reduce the monthly price of its service by $15, $64.99 to $49.99. This change will remain in effect while Disney content remains off of YouTube TV.

In an interesting twist, Google recommends that those who can’t live without Disney’s channels could subscribe to The Disney Bundle, which Disney offers for $13.99 per month. This bundle includes Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+. This isn’t a direct replacement for all of Disney’s channels, but it would give YouTube TV subscribers access to at least some of that content.

“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 explains. “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. However, if we are unable to reach a deal by Friday, the Disney-owned channels will no longer be available on YouTube TV.”

Google found itself in a similar bind with Roku, which almost lost access to YouTube and YouTube TV this past week.

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Comments (19)

19 responses to “YouTube TV Might Lose Disney’s Channels (Updated)”

  1. jmeiii75

    Hey, is that a Google Inbox icon in the notification area? Pour one out for Inbox this holiday season. RIP

  2. daniel7878

    It's very difficult to justify to my elder relatives why they should "cut the cord". It is confusing AF trying to juggle the ever growing array of streaming services to sum up their viewing habits.

  3. jjonas51

    I understand that these disputes seem to be commonplace now, but Google seems to be mentioned an awful lot. I am not a YouTubeTV subscriber but I do use Roku and had to chuckle with the news that Google was removing the YouTube app from Roku. Usual stuff from Google about trying to reach an agreement saying they wanted to be treated just like all the other apps on Roku. Roku replied with an email from Google explicitly stating they expected preferential search treatment, ie placed at top of all results. Thankfully Roku said no as it is one of the features I'm starting to use more and more.

    Don't believe a word either of them say.

  4. bbennett40

    Google (YouTubeTV) Sure seems to have lots of these issues and they always seem to blame the other party in the negotiation.

    • pungkuss

      Every one of them has these issues, its just that you follow tech so you are only interested in the tech stories. When Disney bought Hulu, I knew this was going to be a problem for YouTube TV. They just need to drop live TV. Give that market up to Disney and focus on smaller packages for the people who don't want sports.

      • mike2thel73

        What everyone is forgetting when it comes to these disputes is that the advertisers are also in the middle and what we don't know is what kind of input they are having with the content providers & distributors. There might be certain deals leaning one way putting more pressure on a specific party. Corporations don't care about end customers anymore period.

    • lvthunder

      That's the way it goes. The provider wants a cheaper price. The producer wants a higher price. On the more traditional side Dish seems to push back harder in these negotiations like Google does for streaming. Plus you don't expect Google to blame themselves do you?

      • bbennett40

        How about a simple statement that they haven't been able to reach an agreement. Nah, it was Roku's fault. It was NBC's fault. Now it's ABC's fault.

  5. christianwilson

    Selfishly, I would be hoping an agreement wasn't made if I subscribed to YouTube TV. I'm not a big sports guy and given the choice, I'd rather have $15 a month in my pocket.

    I expect they will work out a deal but this goes to show how much of your cable bill goes directly to Disney.

    • MikeCerm

      SAME. Every time they have one of these disputes, I'm like, "great, take away those channels, and lower the damn price!" When I joined YouTube TV, it was only available in 5 cities and it only cost $35/mo. It was perfect, because it had like 25 channels that covered the 5 that I actually watch. Since then, they've added like 50 more channels that I don't care about, and the price has nearly doubled. It's "cable TV" all over again.

  6. nine54

    YouTube TV was just in this spot with NBC, but was able to work out a deal at the 11th hour. While the traditional TV providers are not immune to contract disputes, it feels like this is a more frequent occurrence with streaming services, which already suffer from missing channels and lineup discrepancies between each other and the traditional providers.

    If it wasn't for NFL Network (Red Zone), I would switch to DirecTV Stream, which is more expensive, but is the only streamer to offer regional Fox Sports channels.

    • mike2thel73

      Sinclair who owns the bally sports regional networks is in the process of creating a streaming service for it's RSN's because over the past 2 years a lot of cable/online services are refusing to succumb to Sinclair's unreasonable demands. It's well known they overpaid for the fox RSN's after our govt. refused to allow ESPN to own them when fox was unloading a lot of their unprofitable tv properties. The whole point of blocking that was to increase competition but it didn't matter because Sinclair is just like Disney and everyone else.

  7. yoshi

    I received the email last night as well. I totally spaced on the fact I will lose ABC and ESPN. I was only thinking of things such as the Disney Channel. This might be enough to push me to Hulu Live if the situation doesn't get sorted out.

    • pungkuss

      That's the point Disney owns Hulu and would much prefer it if you used that service. Google just needs to offer something without sports and invest in that. The data shows a dropoff in the consumption of sports amongst young people. They should just accept that sports is propping up the old system and the sooner it dies the quicker something else can come.

      • mike2thel73

        Sports is the only thing keeping live tv relevant period. Whether it's old school tv broadcasting stations, cable/tv networks, and / or online live tv services. Nothing will replace live sports.

    • jmeiii75

      As far as ABC goes, my understanding is it's only ABC stations owned by ABC. So, in my case (Boston), I would not be affected as the station is owned by Hearst. Full disclosure, not a YouTube TV user currently, but was before. Currently using FuboTV (for NESN, my local RSN, which was dropped by YouTubeTV last year.)

      • yoshi

        Ahh nice, thanks for that. I'm Boston area as well and forgot that Hearst owned them. I think they own WMUR as well.

        Btw, it killed me that YouTube dropped NESN. I used FuboTV during the season and switched back to YouTube after it ended.

  8. winner

    It's just a Daffy situation that we want a Minnie cost, but the other side wants a stratospheric cost like it was launched to Pluto.