YouTube TV, Disney reach a deal just days after blackout

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

Less than two days after going dark on YouTube TV, Disney owned channels are back on the streaming TV service.

The two companies reached a deal over the weekend of Dec. 18, 2021, after failing to come to an agreement by the end of their current agreement at 11:59 p.m. eastern Dec. 17, 2021.

Subsequently, all ABC local stations plus networks including ESPN, FX, National Geographic, Disney Channel and were yanked from the service. Many of these networks also had sister networks there were pulled as well.

Presumably because of the cloud based nature of the service’s unlimited DVR feature, customers also found themselves unable to access recordings of past shows on the affected networks.

Over the course of Dec. 19, 2021, YouTube TV told users to expect the networks to start reappearing, along with the local ABC stations, though it appeared to be a gradual restoration.

YouTube says that subscribers will still get a one time credit of $15 for the time the channels were off the platform, even though it wasn’t for anywhere close to a month. The company had said it would discount plans by $15 per month for as long as Disney networks were off the service.

YouTube TV, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, and Disney had been locked in a dispute over the fees YouTube pays Disney for carrying its stations and networks.

Disney owned ESPN is notoriously one of the most expensive channels for TV providers such as YouTube TV to offer their customers.

In addition, Disney has its own streaming service with similar features to YouTube TV called Hulu + Live TV, though it lacks some of the features, notably the unlimited DVR, that YouTube’s does. Much of the same content is also available with the Disney Bundle.

YouTube proactively announced the $15 per month price reduction, a move it’s done before, but hadn’t been common in these types of disputes.

While terms of the fees are typically confidential, the $15 discount does provide at least some interesting insight into how much Disney was getting per subscriber under the previous deal.

YouTube, however, may have also been facing pressure from customers because college bowl season is under way and much of that content is on networks that went dark.