YouTube TV warned yesterday that due to contract disputes, it may lose all Disney-owned channels after Friday, and said that if this happens, it will temporarily reduce prices by $15 a month.
“We are now in talks with Disney to continue distributing their content on YouTube TV so you can continue to watch all of your favorite teams, bachelors, and Good Morning America on ESPN. Our deal will be It expires on Friday, December 17, and we have not yet been able to reach a fair agreement, so we want to remind you in advance so that you can understand your choices,” Google-owned YouTube wrote in a blog post.
“[I]If we can’t reach an agreement by Friday, Disney-owned channels will no longer be broadcast on YouTube TV, and we will reduce the price by $15 per month from $64.99 to $49.99 (and this content is still not on our platform ),” said the blog post. YouTube pointed out that users can suspend or cancel their YouTube TV subscription at any time and subscribe to the Disney Bundle for $13.99 a month.
YouTube’s statement that it wants “fair” terms indicates that it is seeking Disney’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) terms. “Like all our partners, our requirement for Disney is to treat YouTube TV like any other TV provider — by offering us the same rates as services of similar scale, as long as we provide Disney channels, as long as we Provide these channels. If Disney provides us with fair terms, we will renew the agreement with them,” YouTube wrote.
When Ars contacted Disney, Disney stated that the contract was set to expire at 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Friday, and covered “ABC-owned TV stations, ESPN networks, Disney Channel, Freeform, FX Network, and National Geographic Channel.” Disney Express the belief that these companies can avoid power outages:
Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution has a very successful record of negotiating such agreements with suppliers of all types and sizes across the country, and is committed to working with Google to reach fair, market-based agreements. We are optimistic that we can reach an agreement and continue to provide their YouTube TV customers with our live sports events and news reports, as well as children, family and general entertainment programs.
YouTube resolves disputes with NBC and Roku
YouTube’s requirements for the most-favored-nation treatment clause are also one of the crux of its recent dispute with Comcast’s NBCUniversal. In this case, the two companies had to agree to a short-term extension to avoid a power outage when the original contract expires. A day later, they announced a multi-year agreement to keep NBC on YouTube TV.
The YouTube/NBC negotiations were controversial, partly because NBCUniversal required YouTube TV to bundle Peacock, and the NBC streaming service apparently failed to attract many paying users. A Disney spokesperson told Ars that Disney did not require YouTube TV to bundle Disney+.
A recent dispute between Roku and Google led to the removal of the YouTube TV app from the Roku channel store. Last week, Google and Roku reached an agreement to end this deadlock, a day before the regular YouTube app was removed from the Roku store.
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