Disney Networks, including ESPN, ABC go dark on Dish in promotion dispute

Disney’s suite of 20 TV channels has been removed from Dish Network’s satellite television and Sling TV services to customers in the United States after the two companies failed to strike a deal to renew the carriage on Friday.

Disney networks no longer featured on Dish TV and Sling TV include ESPN, FX, Disney Channel, Freeform and National Geographic, as well as local ABC channels in eight markets. The two companies’ previous contract of carriage expired at midnight PT on September 30. Dish is notorious in the pay-TV business for aggressive negotiation tactics with content companies — and isn’t afraid to endure extended power outages while deal talks continue.

According to Dish, the media conglomerate had asked for a $1 billion increase in fees (although it’s not clear what that means) and turned down the pay-TV operator’s offer for a contract extension. Dish accused Disney of initiating the channel blackout and holding “viewers hostage for bargaining chips.”

Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution said Dish rejected its “fair, market-based” terms for the networks’ continued distribution.

“After months of good faith negotiations, Dish has declined to enter into a fair, market-based agreement with us to continue selling our networks. As a result, their Dish and Sling TV subscribers have access to our unrivaled portfolio of live sports and news, children’s, family and general entertainment programming from ABC-owned television, ESPN networks, Disney-branded channels, Freeform , the FX Networks, the National Geographic channels and BabyTV.”

According to Disney, “The rates and terms we are targeting reflect the market and have been the basis for numerous successful deals with pay-TV operators of all types and sizes across the country. We aim to find a fair resolution and we urge Dish to work with us to minimize the disruption to their customers.”

Brian Neylon, Dish TV’s EVP and Group President, commented, “Disney has leveraged its market position to increase fees without regard to the public viewing experience. Obviously, Disney insists on prioritizing greed over American viewers, particularly sports fans and families with kids watching their content.”

The full list of Disney owned networks affected by the blackout are: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Disney Channel, Disney Jr., Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, ACC Network, SEC Network, Longhorn Network and Baby TV.

ABC natives who brushed off Dish and Sling TV are: Chicago (WLS), Fresno, California (KFSN), Houston (KTRK), Los Angeles (KABC), New York (WABC), Philadelphia (WPVI), Raleigh , NC (WTVD) and San Francisco (KGO).

As of June 30, Dish had 7.79 million satellite TV subscribers (down 9% YoY) and 2.20 million Sling TV subscribers (down 10% YoY).

https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/dish-blackout-disney-espn-abc-carriage-dispute-1235390175/ Disney Networks, including ESPN, ABC go dark on Dish in promotion dispute

Charles Jones

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