As they had previously threatened, YouTube TV announced on Friday night that they were removing all Disney-owned networks from their streaming service due to a carriage dispute between the two sides. That means that all the ESPN channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, and SEC Network, as well as all ABC affiliates, would no longer be available to YouTube TV subscribers for the foreseeable future.
The move was met with plenty of anger from subscribers, especially those who were looking forward to watching all the bowl games broadcast on ESPN networks this weekend. YouTube TV also announced that it was going to adjust its monthly price until the dispute was settled, implying that it could be the kind of thing that they were in for the long haul on. The Base Plan price would be adjusted from $64.99 to $49.99.
YouTubeTV subscribers have entered the transfer portal
— Transfer Portal (@NCAAPortal) December 18, 2021
In the end, the removal lasted less than 48 hours as YouTube TV announced on Sunday afternoon that the two sides had reached a deal and they were already in the process of adding all Disney-owned networks back to their service.
Your price will revert to $64.99, but all impacted members will still receive a one-time $15 discount. As always, we thank you for your membership and keep a lookout for an email with more details from us.
— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) December 19, 2021
“We’re happy to announce that we’ve reached a deal with Disney and have already started to restore access to channels like ESPN and FX, and Disney recordings that were previously in your Library,” read their tweet. “Your local ABC station will also be turning on throughout the day.
Your price will revert to $64.99, but all impacted members will still receive a one-time $15 discount. As always, we thank you for your membership and keep a lookout for an email with more details from us.”
They also added an extended explanation of what was happening on their website, adding an apology for the disruption to service and some kudos to Disney for working towards an agreement with them.
“We apologize for the disruption and appreciate your patience as we continued to negotiate on your behalf,” read the statement. “We also appreciate Disney’s partnership and willingness to work towards an agreement.”
The question now for YouTube TV is how many subscribers did they lose over the dispute? There were certainly plenty of complaints on Friday but you never quite know how many people followed through on their threats until we see the numbers.
It also remains to be seen if the streaming service actually got what it wanted or if they came to realize that Disney was happy to wait them out. Given how much sway they have, and all of the competitive options out there for YouTube TV alternatives, it’s hard to imagine that the entertainment giant felt too much of a need to adjust their demands.